November 8 2001
Back to Greece.
Well, shit howdy dang. what a turnup. Here I am onboard a shipbound for Athens out of Mitilini. I am in a cabin seemingly all on my tod with a laptop and plenty of time to kill.
One may smoke here, presumably not be disturbed, something vaguely resembling the writer’s dream situation I might have imagined for myself 20 or 30 years ago. I have reached the lofty age when there are events in my life that long ago. woo hoo. Lamentably, possibly not, no internet from here. there is a phone. perhaps we shall see if that too is possible. If so, nothing but download or send messages. nothing else. I want to call susi in the worst way but now my cellphone thinks it is in turkey.
Now, is it too soon to try and analyze what just went down with Athena and my son? Let us list some things as they stand now in my non compus mentis. Well, there is the kid. He is very much boy physically active and macho, rough and tumble, solid square little body proportioned like a man and not a midget. He is beautiful, he slays everyone he meets, charms all the ladies. He is bright, presumably he likes me. I think I touched base there. He is a handful, he is exhausting, he is forever into this and that, toddling off in search of some thing sharp or dangerous, he might fall, he might burn himself, he might do this, he might do that. He will also get down and throw a tantrum a la reininger pere over things like not being able to play with a knife. He appears to be musically interested, perhaps talented, surely able to imitate dada when he plays one of Ian’s little instruments. He had a little guitar with fishing line strings made of plastic with an accurate fingerboard and a very reasonable sound which I picked up and played. He has a xylophone with colored keys that strike the bars confined to the key of DO, which is plenty for lots and lots of chords and melodies and which daddy also did virtuouso turns upon. Impressive when he thoughtfully banged one or two keys, registering what I had just done. I played his little drum with plastic head, also quite adequate as an instrument with a mallet and a chopstick. I also used the thumb to tighten and relax the head, making wobbly arabic type beats. In fact I played a lot of araby sounding stuff for him. It seemed the thing to do. He wasn’t all that impressed with the fiddle, eggchewally, perhaps it is too much for him. Not plastic and brightly colored. Endaxi. I entertained him, also not to omit his little blue plastic tambourine upon which I felt obliged to accompany myself on “hava nagila”. It was gratifying to see him imitating old dad on all of the above instruments, down to using a chopstick on the drum as if storing this quick burst of knowledge for future reference. Likewise verbally, my never-ending monologue seemed to have an effect on him and by the time I left he was murmuring in some sort of pre-verbal glossololia. Not yelling, speaking in conversational tones as if likewise delivering a monologue. I taught him to say “ahhhhh” after drinking water and he repeated it. He says DaEEE and Glayne! He says NEE, of course MAMA is in there, mameee, maa ahhh, lots of things. He will be a mama’s boy. He behaved differently around her, more prone to flip when he wanted breast access. She is still breast feeding him a year and a half after fetushood. I suppose she knows best since she is in touch with women in La Leche League and so forth.I was mostly delighted with him. I took pretty much two whole rolls of film of him, one b&w one color. some good photos. photogenic little guy like da.
And so, on the way out of Mitilini, I realized that Athena could see the boats go by (if you spend the night beside her) on the way out of the harbor, leaving like a cardboard cutout against a painted backdrop in a cheap hollywood epic. I called her on the cellphone as I neared her general area, and installed myself where I would be visible, i.e. against the floodlit white background of the smokestack. I stood there talking to her, she turned the veranda light on and off, I saw her, she saw me, “How’s that for a cinematic good-bye” I said as my ship pulled out.
later that same night ,onboard
This room is just what I needed. The whole damn boat is very far away, I am blissfully alone on the open sea. This typically simian Greek porter or whatever the hell he was came to bring in the dreaded bunkie in this room which is supposed to be a double. I didn’t know we would stop at some other island, but we did and there was the poor guy waiting to come in. This porter was the same geek who led me to this room without offering to carry so much as one of my cigarettes to lighten my load, considerable as always. He came in here and started scolding me like a child and I just said “Enough of you!” I called reception and told them to call him off, give me the other bunk in this room, I would pay. This fool tries to take the phone away from me and talk directly to them and I wave him off. Greece always comes down to these confrontations, more than one such in a year is more than I can stomach, and these sort of things happen all the time.
After my necessary “assertive” tantrum, my “don’t fuck with me there, stavros” I have this room to my lonesome. Steven is right. This is the way to go. Ship. In a cabin, a floating hotel room, little traffic with the other passengers necessary. Now I should get some sleep. First I must retrieve coti’s new address from my email files. then away.