Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Inclusive Greeks

To dine in Greece without the company of cats, is impossible. They are everywhere and one must adjust quickly or not dine.

Dogs are almost as common as cats, and are most often big and terrifically lazy. They are respected and allowed to lay in the middle of restaurants, doorways, and foot traffic patterns. They appear to be happy dogs as I have yet to meet one that doesn't wag its tail while reverting into submission. Dogs seem to be so well taken care of by the populace, that when one sided up to our table, we assumed he was looking for a hand-out. With a large sigh, he splayed himself comfortably as if we had asked him to dine, yet when Tony cut a piece of chicken for the community pooch, he didn't have the ambition to stand up and take it.

Meh....he seemed to be thinking. I've already eaten. Why do tourists insist on feeding me; I just want to enjoy their company, enjoy the language. He couldn't be bothered with a piece of Greek olive oil-infused poultry.

This ever present dog and cat situation has only caused one conundrum-- that we are aware of. While dining alone under a bougainvillaea vine covered awning next to the sea, in bliss and privacy, we were invaded by a busload of Turks. There had to be 60-70 tourists (90% who were middle aged to elderly women), who descended upon the restaurant all at once, and apparently after too much bus time, they were hungry. The three waiters moved into fifth gear, driving as fast as Greek-waiter-humanly possible. As they rushed to take orders, the Turks were exhibiting signs of hangriness. When the food arrived at their tables, incomplete--they became impatient with a missing Greek salad here, an extra calimari there. In addition to trying to please the crowd, the waiters had to deal with a language barrier; when the women weren't understood, they spoke louder and repeated their demands.  The waiters stayed quiet, their richter scales of frustration mounting.

In the height of confusion, one of the dogs relieved itself in the pathway of the waiters. 

"Oh no," I pointed out the pending disaster to Tony. "Should we alert a waiter?" We waited for a chance, but they bustled so purposefully while trying to appease the Turks, that we couldn't catch their attnetion. I watched the waiter closely with hopes of making eye contact and pointing out the problem. No need, he noticed it. No mistake about it, he caught it out of the corner of his eye. Yet, as he hustled loaded trays, as he argued with the patrons, he couldn't keep his focus. One need overcame the other. 

It was comedy with a cynical twist. Hating to be guilty of schadenfreude or leedvermaak (suffer entertainment), I am embarrassed to admit, at this point, I was in tears from the pain of holding in my laughter.

Discomfort either brings tears or laughter as both are a relief to intense situations. I chose laughter, and then pity.

The inevitable collision occurred.

"Ooooh," Tony and I cringe. 

We're thankful we have finished eating.

A particularly aggressive cat in Molyvos

Yes, he did.

Expecting Tony's drink to wash it down.

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