Sunday, April 19, 2009
It's All Greek To Me
This past week, I was on a charter bus for several hours with 32 strangers for reasons that are not going to be addressed in this blog due to the sheer length that it would take to explain.
Across the aisle was a Greek gentleman in his late 50s. I won't use his real name because it is quite unique, but it was about as decidedly Greek as Apollo or Odysseus. Apollo, as I will call him, had only been in the States for the past few months and his English was broken. He was from Athens visiting his sons. It took a lot to establish these facts as his English vocabulary and my Greek vocabulary were very slight. Ok, so I really have little Greek vocabulary except for words like kalamata, feta, gyros, and Zeus, but the point is our communication took a lot of hand motions and the sounding out of words.
Shortly into our conversation and after Apollo told me his wife was in Athens, he pointedly asked me if I was "mah-reed". I held up my ring finger to make a big point of my ring and said that I was happily mah-reed. Oh, he said and added again that he had two sons and that they are doctors. He asked me my name and after saying it slowly a few times he exclaimed "Jee-nee, from Jee-nee-fur, Ah! Like Jee-nee-fur Ah-nee-ston.!" Oh yes, I said like Jennifer Aniston. "You know that Jee-nee-fur Ah-nee-ston's father was a Grrr-eek?!" Wait, am I in a scene from my Big Fat Greek Wedding? And true to form, throughout the conversation Apollo brought everything back to being a Greek. They weren't kidding with the movie.
He was Greek Orthodox and said that they had just finished having a huge celebration for Easter by roasting large amounts of meat. He said this while balling up his fist and rotating it, by which communicating to me that they do this on large rotisseries. Visions of large animals rotating over huge bonfires came to mind. Again he said, "You mah-reed? You know I have two sons..." And again, I gave him the finger, for clarification's sake, the Yes-I-Am-Married-Finger. He told me he had married his wife when he was 16 and she was 13. What? No wonder he's trying to marry his sons off! They were probably considered male versions of old maids at 20!
As our trip was wrapping up, Apollos asked me when I was coming to visit in Athens. I laughed and said I would absolutely love to go to Greece. He just smiled and said "Well, when you come?" He was serious. Ummm, I don't know, that's a big trip. At that point he wrote down his cell and house humbers and his name and said "When you want come to Greece, you call me." Oh ok, I'll have to talk it over with my hus-bannd. "Yes, you can meet my wife and my sons!" As we parted ways, I laughed just thinking about if Joey and I showed up on this man's doorstep in Greece. Would they really have welcomed us? I feel most certain they would. They would probably roast a few large chunks of meat on the the spitfire and we would all be dancing that Greek dance that they do while drinking ouzo and yelling "Opa!" Mulling this over, I decided to keep the number, just in case Joey and I are ever in the Grecian neighborhood...