Aegina Home & Living - Living in Aegina

 

 

 


LIVING IN AEGINA

What is it REALLY like to live in Aegina?

 

                                                           LIVING
 

                                                                                        OCTOBER 2008

 

                                       GREEK FREEDOM

 

During a recent trip to London, I was late (as usual) for an appointment with a friend.

As the train heading to Victoria pulled into Sutton station, I hurriedly stepped up into the carriage, silently competing with my fellow travelers for a prime seat when to my horror, my sandal slipped off and fell beneath the train.

I disembarked, patiently waited for the train to leave and peeped over the platform to locate my sandal. It was lying quite close to the steep platform wall but quite far from the rail; too steep to stoop and retrieve it but not too steep for retrieval with a tool, such as an umbrella or one of those litter – pickers.

I picked my away across the platform, taking care to avoid old chewing gum and freshly expectorated sputum and approached a man who was wearing a fluorescent jacket. I asked him if he worked for the station. He admitted that he was indeed an employee but could not help me to retrieve my sandal because it was against health and safety rules.

I asked if I could borrow his litter –picker so that I could retrieve it myself. He refused to let me borrow it as it was against health and safety to lend litter-pickers. I explained that I live much of the time in Greece, where if I dropped my sandal under a train, I would immediately have it returned to me.

He reminded me that I wasn’t in Greece and pointed me in the direction of a woman wearing an orange fluorescent jacket who was currently in charge of the platform. She initially didn’t want to hear about my problem as she was busy with several others but I explained that my problem was particularly creative.

She couldn’t help me either as it was against health and safety rules but she did call the health and safety representative who was due to arrive in 10 minutes.

I threatened to lie down at the edge of the platform and lean down to get it myself but she insisted that I was being filmed and I could be arrested for breach of health and safety rules!

Eventually, the health and safety officer arrived, all puffed up with self-importance. He explained he would have to switch off all the signals and close down the southern network for 5 minutes. …So if you were in London’s southern suburbs late one morning in August and the train service was delayed because of ‘an object on the line’, I am sorry.

The process of adaptation to Greek life is entering my psyche unconsciously, via osmosis. This was apparent to me when I was in London.

The situation regarding my sandal both amused and infuriated me. I felt indignant about not having autonomy over my own problem solutions and felt a strong longing to be back in Greece.

 Meanwhile, back here in Greece, I am sorry to admit that I have become very adept at egoistic, illegal parking and I love the feeling of getting away with it.

 A couple of years ago, one of my friends actually decided to fill in the holes in her road with cement so that her son could play on his skate-board. Nobody from the council came round pleading breech of health and safety and now the road is in better condition, plus the children can play more safely.

The plot of land next to my house is privately owned by Athenians. During the summer, the grass grew excessively high and became home to rats and snakes. One of my neighbors took it on himself to borrow a friend’s donkey to deal with the problem in an organic way.

Now the field is bald and we have a wonderful donkey braying; our own zoological alarm-clock.

The landowners aren’t complaining, perhaps they don’t even know, but if they were to, I think they’d thank our neighbor for his bright idea. We didn’t have to ask for planning permission or any form of permission because on the whole, in Greece, if you want to do something ,you simply do it.

So if you are fed-up with your national civil service and bored of being nannied, come to Greece and experience a true, unhinged but deliciously risky life style!

 

Alison Lorentzos                                                               copyright 2008

 

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