Sunday, August 14, 2016

Greek Math: 1 really equals 2

If you only have a few days to spend in Greece that's okay because one day really equals two. Simply adhere to the Greek spirit of rest and you will be able to double your life span. . . or at least the span of your Greek holiday. . . well, not really. But it will feel like it. And sometimes illusion is better than reality. I'm talking about the Greek custom of the midday siesta.

Take this Facebook exchange as an example of how it works:

Wherever I am, I find it difficult to sleep later than the sunrise, which at this time of year in Margariti is around 7:00ish. So, for me, that is when daytime begins. By 2:00, however, all the businesses close, families gather to share a heavy meal, perhaps a bit of wine, maybe one or two ouzos afterwards and then a siesta snooze. Even the wildlife takes a break from the heat of the day. 

According to British Steve from the Facebook exchange above, "the stiff-upper-lip Brits are far too resilient to succumb to this mamby pamby siesta stuff." Well, even though I'm not British I share this sentiment. Siesta time is better spent reading or writing or seeing to some other lofty task. So each afternoon I set out to accomplish one such task and I have no intention of sleeping. Really. 

But oh, that afternoon breeze! It rolls off the mountains, warm and anesthetizing and every creature is so absolutely silent, except for the cicadas who add to the heavy-eyelid syndrome. 

Without understanding what has happened, I find myself waking a short time later, looking at the clock, ten minutes or two hours. . . the feeling is the same. It's a new day! With a cup of coffee a fresh start awaits. Well, not exactly--nothing is open until 6:00. But the beach is a popular destination at that late afternoon hour.

The sun sets around 8:30 and the light lingers until about 9:00 which signals the time for getting ready to go out. Dinner is anytime after 9:00. You can sit in a cafe or tavern with friends for as long as you want. It's insulting for the server to clear away your plates or rush you in any way. At something-o-clock, after midnight, the plaza is still full. Children are running around and playing. Streets are teeming with people and cars. So when I finally get home and into bed, I think "tomorrow morning, I'm sleeping late!"

But instead I wake up not long after sunrise, rested and ready for a new day. 

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