Friday, November 23, 2007

THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO DIMITRIS SKOUFIS

Today, I said the last “goodbye” to my good friend and Mentor, Dimitris Skoufis.
This blog is dedicated to him, for he was the one who inspired me and encouraged me to “build” this blog.

No matter what, this man will keep on reminding me how to stay decent, patient and strong.

Thank you for everything, my friend.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

THE END

16.04.05

My dear fellow travellers. I come back with this text not only to leave your life, or even the bloggers’ community, for good. The time has finally come for me to stop talking so directly about myself.
My decision to desist from blogs does not need explanations and justifications. It’s simple. I decide to move on, intending to do equally important things that those of you who know me well already or those of you who met me recently through this almost daily contact might imagine. I would like to thank you all once again. Without understanding it, you helped me figure out a lot of things about myself, mainly as regards what I can succeed in and what heights I can reach.

It’s true that I can’t forget that this blog was created for specific reasons and this is why I couldn’t finish this personal work of mine but by being clear now about what I have been implying through my stories.

Deriving from my personal experience, I am proud to state that in this world where I’m living there is not or there should not be any person with a disability in the way that we tend to describe them or meet them, i.e. like shadows or figures or existing things inside our body or the body of the person next to us. Noone is born absolutely capable of doing everything. Noone has the same opportunities, abilities or capacities with the other. Despite that, everyone of us has the ability to choose the eyes with which he or she will look at oneself and at the other person both when we are awake and when we are dreaming.

Disability is nothing but a situation that we have invented all by ourselves (disabled or not), trying to explain the difference, the hardship, the things that are impossible to understand or the random facts. Most of the times, we decide to speak of ourselves starting with the word ‘not’. We say: ‘I cannot walk, I cannot see, I cannot hear’. This is the worst thing we can do. Without understanding it, we align our existence with a huge problem that is impossible to solve precisely because we insist on emphasizing on the problem and not on its solution. We should say: ‘I can become someone great’, persuading ourselves and the others that we have equal rights and obligations. That’s the only way we could really help you understand that there is indeed a reason to rate us highly as people who claim a place in the empire of able-bodied people. And I go on saying: ‘Despite being a person with a disability, I have the right to life and therefore I can, if I want to, go for a walk to the supermarket and then just look at the ceiling of my house. Nonetheless, the important thing is that with much effort and a little luck I can achieve thousands of things so as to have absolutely no reason to feel sorry for myself or for the people who are in my place or in an even worse state. When this happens, I stop being –or being considered- problematic and I can laugh at you who might still believe the opposite. (Somewhere deep inside I suspect that, if you look straight into my eyes you may even fall in love with me. Would you really take that?)’.

I take you by the hand before you ask me anything, before you wonder whether my words are political or not. You are ready to talk to me about the movement again. What movement? The one of the people with a disability. That’s where the wrongdoings begin; that is my answer to you. From the insiders. From the people who take advantage of their disability to make money. Not all people are the same, luckily. There are people who really fight, knowing how to claim things. I don’t belong to them either. I have done very few things to be considered a fighter. I was never a rebel with a weblog, as the ‘Postman’ wrote for me and the other bloggers. I’m just a worried passer-by and my decision to ‘quit’ this weblog proves the truth of my words. Of course, I couldn’t say goodbye but with a song, a Greek one this time. I was looking for something but I found something else. Never mind.

If you don’t find a place for yourself in a wrecked country
If wishful thinking is not enough for you
If you don’t find serenity in a magic dream-catcher
If an armful of prison’s cells are not enough for you

Then what a pity, what a pity, what a pity
You are excessive and you breathe your last
Then what a pity, what a pity, what a pity
You fit nowhere, you fit nowhere at last

If you don’t find yourself in a stupid joke
If a cruel prayer is not enough for you
If you don’t find room in an empty brothel
If a broken body is not enough for you

Then what a pity, what a pity, what a pity
You are excessive and you breathe your last
Then what a pity, what a pity, what a pity
You fit nowhere, you fit nowhere at last, nowhere at last

Thank you for being able to find room for yourselves in the pages of my weblog

A DISEBLAD’S GOODNIGHT NOTE

05.04.05


I am diseblad. Yes, there’s nothing wrong with your vision. That’s how a guard called me a few hours ago at the court of Badminton in Goudi. We are speaking about the place where this famous musical of mister Weber, entitled ‘Cats’, is performed. Although I am a cat-hunting devotee and I don’t really dig musicals, I decided to enjoy this superior performance myself, since it was attended by most Athenians anyway.
I still laugh at the silly guard who approached us from the beginning in the mood for inquiry.
‘You know, the gentleman uses a wheelchair and this is why we would like to park the car as close to the entrance as possible.’
He bends sown and looks thoroughly at the back seat. He asks:
‘And where is he?’
‘Who?’
‘The disabled guy.’
I get out of my seat. ‘I’m here, man. A quite big lout and you don’t see me? What do you expect to see? Snow White lying in a glass coffin?’
The guy loses it. He yells at someone else: ‘Open the door, man, the kid is diseblad.’
(What am I?)
He turns to my mother. ‘How did you say that?’
She can’t answer. She bursts out laughing just like I do.
‘Oh, yeah. Disabled.’!
[Tomorrow the rest – or the day after tomorrow. I am sleepy and I have to wake up early. I would write you from work too but they cut our connection to the internet and the bosses claim that they don’t have money to pay for the subscription.]
Yours sincerely,
The diseblad.

SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE OF SPRING

01.04.05


Vivi asked me to become tragic again. She wanted me to find this tone of my voice that is so direct and dramatic at the same time. She was moved by that tone of voice, she says. I believe that. I did what I could to play the part of a man who looks like me but is not like me. I was thinking of all the tortures of the world in order to feel deeply sad. Today I couldn’t do the same thing. She asked me if I could understand the difference between the last and today’s rehearsals. I understood it in the way that the dissonant person understands his/her wrong notes but doesn’t know how to fix them.

Right now that I’m writing to you my dog sighs in melancholy and I wonder if he has his reasons for being sad. We are listening to the arrangement of the song ‘Ta paidia tou Peiraia’ (= ‘The children of Peiraeus’) by the Pink Martini. For some undetectable reason, my mind goes to Paris. I swore not to write anything about trips on that post but I find it to be impossible. Those days I love Athens like never before and yet I can’t manage to cancel my imaginary trips. I wish the weather would be spring again. I would at least have a good excuse for being absent-minded and also in a hurry all the time, as always.

My father would prefer that I drove with less speed. He holds the roof handle all the time and shouts ‘slow down, slow down’. I hold the gear stick in my left hand. The more I pull it close to me, the faster I drive. When I push it to the front, I pull the brakes. I have the steering wheel in my right hand, which I turn with the help of the well-known attached handle of the lorry drivers . This way of driving can lift you high. Some times, you get the impression that you pilot an aircraft and not that you are driving a car.

My palms are full of corns. I finally stopped using the walker and go around the whole house with the sticks. I put enormous strength in my hands in order to stand up. Some times I stagger, I sweat and I am scared. The physical therapist said that my fear is stronger than my weakness. I repeat that sentence every time that I think of calling it quits. In the end, I insist on doing it.

ON BRACKETS

22.03.05


Two little hairs curled up at the end of my washbasin, forming brackets. I don’t know how many times this must have happened without me noticing it. I wound up philosophizing once again in the bathroom just like that, really out of the blue. To do that is really boring and a bit too hackneyed. Of course, I’m referring to the daily and repeated event of oversimplifying and also praising every sort of theories and things. It’s true that ideas come to your head at most improper times. If you ask me, I will answer that I don’t like that, I just accept it when it happens. Yesterday, for instance. I was shaved while listening to Sonic Youth. Everything seemed to be natural, until those small brackets were presented right in front of my eyes.

I had seen the importance of brackets very early (that’s why I use it very often in my texts). Brackets are there for something that must be said but can also be omitted, since their content are not equally important and interesting as the content of the rest of the text. Everything is all right until this point. But what happens in the case of a bigger, continuous, imaginary text, according to which our current and our future activities are constructed so as to make us able to say that we live exactly as the script says, a script that we are writing and in which we are starring without even understanding it?

We go a thousand steps further towards a direction unknown in theory, while we are trying to foresee and plan everything. And we do all that without paying attention to the brackets. At least this is how I personally understand the problem that deals with ranking desires and targets. That’s my problem. ‘I’m writing’ a multi-paged script of life and forget the brackets. Consequently, I have a hard time separating the important things from the less important things. They all look like ONE.

Most of the times, I have to lose or sacrifice something precious in order to understand what was the thing that I really needed or what was the thing or notion or idea thanks to which I could have gone even higher without material or other kind of loss. That’s when I figure out that I’m dominated by persistent ideas (like that about New York, for example), most of which are of symbolic nature. In fact, I should put myself in brackets, hoping to understand at some point what’s the meaning of the world that surrounds and forms my personality whether I like this world or not. I might then be more interested in ‘common’ things, politics, news etc etc.. Only then would my blog comprise objectively interesting texts and only then would it desist from dealing with a boring and repeated range of issues. I recognize that my last narrations are of very little interest to those who are not in my head or to those who don’t ‘experience’ me in the first place. The conclusion is that I must definitely put my (recent) self in brackets not because I want to exempt myself from life but because I want to see clearly all things that are useful and interesting and still exist around me and might have nothing to do with me in some strange way. When I achieve that, I would like you to acknowledge that for me.

Here’s what one learns during the weekend and half Monday

07.03.05


Here’s what one learns during the weekend and half Monday:
That there’s a great café somewhere in Melissia called ‘Petrogaz’

That you can meet people there who remember you, whereas you give them a silly look and try to guess when and where you met them.

That it’s not so simple to paint on Photoshop, no matter how inspired you are.

That, even if you and your friend agree to wake up early to take a walk around Athens, he will be sleeping like a log while you, like a silly man, will already be drinking your coffee and will be waiting for him, having woken up at 9:30 on a Sunday morning.

That you can’t be great if you don’t have money to support your dream. In other words, most great people were already a bit great before they became really great, since they stood out from the others, at least as regards their financial ability.

That, even when you win a scholarship, this will cover your expenses only partly and thus you have to have money anyway.

That, in all likelihood, you’ll never find so much money in one year, unless you write a best seller like ‘Judas was a great kisser’ (by Maira Papathanassopoulou).

That, despite all that, your life goes on fine and you must be happy to have alternatives and spare all the time in the world to do whatever you can (even to turn things upside down if needed).

That Athens is a beautiful city when you can see it like one.

That even in your own city there are many great unknown places with very interesting people who wait to meet you even accidentally.

That there’s a great performance entitled ‘Penalty’ at the ‘Epi Kolono’ theatre. The performers are young, pretty good (and not necessarily pretty faces) and have a very interesting view of what theatre is.

That there is a small concert in the same place after the performance; small Greek bands of no importance play there but they have fun because they gather all their friends as if they have come to Athens for an excursion in a bus.

That an able-bodied guy might be right next to you but he is so drunk that he is staggering much more than you.


That, despite staggering much more than you, he is harmless and you owe him congratulations, since he is entertaining you.

That the next day (Sunday) you will wake up early again, because you have an appointment with your professor.

That you would not have to wake up early in the end, because you agreed to meet in the coming week.

That it’s a great day but none of your friends want to go out for coffee. They’re all asleep.

That you and Dimitris will go visit the newborn kittens of Soly in the end without using the car. You will use your electric wheelchair so as to practice.

That you figure out it’s not too difficult to handle but you have to be careful when you climb pavements that are taken down. It’s highly possible to end up lying down.

That you would indeed end up lying down if Dimitris wasn’t behind you to catch you.

That you figure out there’s absolutely no way to make reconciliation with cats. They hate you and they are afraid of you because you smell like a dog from head to toe.

That, in case you can’t do anything else, you have to admit that the cat’s claws cut as sharply as Uma Thurman’s sword in Kill Bill.

That you would happily eat a cat baked in the oven or a cat soup after you take off her claws one by one without having killed or anaesthetized her.

That (luckily) you are not such a barbarian to do something like that. You will have to pay someone to do this for you or undergo always the unexpected and rude behaviour of cats.

That you can open the front door all by yourself as well by using the small key and that you should have tried to do that a long time ago.

That you will finally be able to walk with the sticks soon, since you can already walk with them in the living room.

That if you turn on Mad TV you might catch a tribute to Bowie and to Prince.

That even Gods like David Jones, known as David Bowie, wear dentures when they grow old.

That they remain Gods even like that.

That Prince has pigeon lofts in his living room.

That you and Kostas will go again to Cetropia, which is next to the Escoba. Without understanding it, you already have your hangout places.

That, even if you come home early, decided to do a bunch of things, you will end up doing less than half of what you plan and thus gape idly at everything for no reason but to waste your time.

That this is acceptable to a certain extent.

That, although it may sound strange, you will wake up with a cool mood for work and will even have time to drink coffee in your house’s kitchen.

That you are already at work. Time goes by and the new week has started for good.

That two official holidays are approaching!

That you have your birthday on the 21st of March and you will become 26 years old.

That you will be 30 in 4 years.

That this is cruel and unfair.

That nobody asked you if you like that and therefore you’ll have to decide that you can’t always be 20-something.

That, since you are growing up, you definitely have to leave your house, otherwise you will end up like the creeps you mock.

That, after having thought and understood the meaning of all aforementioned statements, you are heading off to a good pathway.

WITH REVERSE STEPS: FROM INDUSTRIAL JAZZ TO WALKING STICKS WITH FOUR LEGS

01.03.05


We hadn’t been driving for more than a few metres when we heard a terrible noise. It was like something was creeping behind the car, scratching the asphalt and deterring us from moving forward. At first, I thought we had dragged some garbage can, some fallen sign or something big anyway; in fact, so big that it could cause incredibly loud noise in the middle of the night. Dimitris came out to see what was happening and he it happened. He stepped slightly on the accelerator and started sliding on the street like a bruised figured out that the spare tyre had gone out of its metal position, which was almost loose and thus dragged on the street. He took his coat off, he rolled up his sleeves and started seeking in the dark under the car, until his hands were black because of the dirt. He needed just a some string in order to tie that metal thing.

I felt really bad – as I feel every time that I can’t help and just sit there like a woman in confinement in the seat next to the driver without doing absolutely anything. My friend (what a great thing to have friends!) reminded me that I could listen to the radio if I wanted to. I didn’t want to, how could I be singing while he was there struggling? The least I could do was sit quietly, not ask too many questions (like ‘What’s up there? Did you fix it? Are you close? Can I do something for you?’) and wait.

Later he came in. I suggested him to go to the central square and ask for some string from the kiosk seller (at midnight). That’s how it happened. He steped softly on the gas and started crawling on the road like a wounded and noisy snail. The noise was deafening. We were probably hard like the cleaning vehicles of the municipality. Some people welcomed us from their balconies. They wanted to know where the noise comes from. Dimitris was cool and his composure was surprising to me. He turned up the music (It was Jazz music on the ‘En Lefko’ –this means ‘In White’- Radio Station) and closed the windows.

‘I find you really cool.’
‘And what am I to do? Spend my time in misery like my mom?’
‘Do you know how I call the kind of Jazz that mixes with the noise of a metal which by the way throws out sparks while sliding?’
‘Industrial Jazz!’

The kiosk guy gave us the string. Dimitris rolled up his sleeves again, dirtied his hands again and everything was in place. We went for a drink somewhere north. Nothing ventured nothing gained. I was experiencing ultimate pleasure. The wine was tickling my throat and hit me slightly on the head. This was the perfect compensation for the temporary bad luck. I was excited anyway. Before Dimitris came at home, I had tried to stand up on my walking sticks with the four legs, the ones that I used before I was forced to buy the walking device, while I was still a kiddo and hadn’t been under any operation. I have forgotten how to use them and it’s difficult, because they require a much bigger capacity for keeping one’s balance. Despite that, I did it. I even made a few steps from the bed to the desk. This is a big achievement for me. I decided to stop –gradually- using the device. From next week onwards I will start physical therapy again. What the hell! If I am to live in New York, I must get in and out of the limos comfortably.

ON PLANET ‘HAPPY’

14.02.05


So we decided to fly up to planet Happy . How did it stick to my mind that the aforementioned planet was on number 256 (instead of 205)? After such persistence, it’s not strange that we found ourselves outside a taxi agency, somewhere on Liossion Street. Panayiota had a hard time. It’s not easy to slide on the slope with Nicholas: you have to avoid the buses, the dug and narrow pavements and you also have to have your mind on numbers, in case you find yourself completely elsewhere.

At some point, we finally reach this ostensibly known stellar sign of the city, which is overtaken by night, without suspecting that, although we arrive late, it’s still very early. Why didn’t anyone tell us that the Mikro would appear after eleven at night and not at 21:30 as was written on the ticket? No problem (in the beginning, at least). We were watching Gousgounis’ face on the video-screen announce the ‘good old’ Greek film festival. I saw it once. I saw it twice. I had a drink too. A small quantity. Not much stuff. How could I imagine that I would desperately need to pee? I could do nothing about that of course. I stood in the front line to hold the bar (a regular one, not the prison one). The toilets were upstairs at the back. So I decided to forget about it. I got up to dance, move, struggling for good, in order to forget struggling for bad. I sat down again only for five minutes. I was standing for almost two hours.

I wasn’t excited. I found that the new songs were far too mediocre; songs of the drawer, as I call them. They are included in the category of songs that you preserve in case of an emergency when your company presses you to make an album right on the spot. At first, the band was dispirited. Afterwards, something seemed to strike them and they started bouncing all over the place alone. I was bouncing too so as not to lose my spirits. Every now and then I smiled at Panayiota. I really believe that when your expectations are proved wrong and you wind up with boredom instead of having fun, surpassing the mediocrity of the moment and making it great or at least memorable is something that is in your hands no matter what. Well, I had done it: laughing at the whole thing, which was to laugh at anyway. When I was tired, I finally sat on my chair (for the five minutes to which I referred before) and observed everyone and everything. I thought that the concert would be over. I wanted to scream: ‘All right now. It’s time to go home. Don’t you think?’.

Nah. It was time for planet Happy again and again. Hello. And if we’re up to it, hello again. And see you. And see you again.’. Same old stuff.

‘Mercy guys! When am I going to reach the magic loo?’
The concert is over (at last). When the time for freedom comes, Diamantis comes out of the crowd. Yes, Diamantis! (Not the snake. It was someone else. Unknown.) He was in the mood for talking.
‘C’mon’, Diamantis, now that we found you, do you happen to know where exactly are the toilets?’
‘You can’t go there. They’re upstairs. Be patients. Take a cab and rush home.’
‘What are you talking about, Diamantis! The situation is serious here. We’ll go and go again. We won’t take a cab anyway. We have a car.’
‘And where do you live?’
I look at Panayiota. (‘What is that fellow asking now?’)
‘Do you need help?’
‘No; well, yes. Sit here and keep an eye on the coats and the wheelchair.’
We go upstairs. We reach the top of the stairs. A fat 45-year-old lady comes out of the toilet right on time.
‘Can you give me a hand?’
‘Yes, darling.’
‘Take care. There’s another step inside.’
‘Wow. How big!’
I’m about to ask: ‘Who are you? The mother of the members of Mikro?’
She catches me first. She doesn’t ask questions. She explains herself.
‘Don’t close the door. We’ve seen other birdies and we know about that stuff.’
‘You’ve never seen one like mine.’ (She provoked me. Didn’t she?)
‘What do you suggest me? That I sit there looking?’
‘Do what you want. I have to pee.’
At some point, the lady loses it and disappears.
After relaxing from our serious and urgent task, we go down the stairs with the help of some other volunteer this time. We wear our coats and get ready to go outside. No word on Diamantis. We forgot him completely; not intentionally but out of forgetfulness. Suddenly, I have a flash.
‘Want to go and talk to John-John?’
‘Let’s do it.’

We didn’t found John. We found Nikos. A great guy (he seems to be). Very friendly and smart, which is exactly what I was not since I uttered my stupid words without even realizing.‘You were very good after the middle of the concert.

LOVE ME TENDER

10.02.05


Ever since she was a child she was wondering how it is to kiss a frog on the lips. She had to wait for many years befores she could agree. It was indeed a disgusting thing to do that could shock her greatly.

Your body turns blue and there is a ringing in your ears before and after your transfer to the hospital. You are suddenly found looking at the ceiling, lying on a bed in a room with another 24 patients. You want to talk and you can’t. You want to tell your nurse that you saw him with your own eyes and that he is the one and only to blame that you still can’t sleep.

‘Elvis is sitting on the windowsill and bugs me. Please tell him to shut up.’
‘Elvis died, honey.’
‘Then who is that fat man out there? The one with the black sunglasses, the red cape and the sparkling white clothes singing Love Me Tender in broad daylight?’
‘What am I to tell you? I can’t hear anybody.’
‘You don’t have to. You can see his face stuck on the glass.’
‘Don’t misunderstand me but your frog put us in big trouble.’
‘What frog?’
‘The one you kissed a little before you came here.’
‘It was the only way to get the ring. I opened the little box and he burst out. He stood still and kept looking at me. He looked like a wise man. Jimmy said he was harmless, even though he looked scary. What I want to say is that he was green and spotted but I’m no beauty either. Right? It wouldn’t be polite to turn down one of God’s creatures without second thoughts.’
‘And the ring?’
‘It was stuck immediately on my left nostril while the green monster threw his tongue over me. Jimmy gave me a meaningful look, waiting for a yes or no from me.’
‘What did you answer?’
‘Nothing.’
‘And then?’
‘I opened my eyes and saw him.’
‘Jimmy?’
‘No, Elvis.’
‘How many times will I tell you that? Elvis died!’
‘Now why are you crying?’
‘Because he died. You just said that.’
‘You mean, you didn’t know?’
‘How could I imagine that? A few hours ago he got me to the ER. He wanted to save my life and then he died in the end.’
‘You started getting your memory back. That’s good.’
‘What do you mean, I started getting my memory back?’
‘I don’t know. You tell me. Tell me everything.’
‘I can’t find a reason to trust you. I don’t know you.’
‘And if I told you that I’m a relative of the frog?’
‘What frog?’
‘The one you kissed a little before you came here.’
‘No way. This frog is an orphan. We got him from the lake while he was scratching his guitar. (Jimmy was excited with his expertise and decided to adopt him). He was playing some very well known tune. I think it was Love Me Tender. It was sung by some guy called Elvis Presley. Have you ever heard of him, I wonder?’
‘It’s the first time I hear of him. He’s good.’
‘He was. Very good. Now he is dead. I’m sorry but can I ask you something?
’‘Whatever you want.’
‘What’s that green thing stuck on your shoe?’

FEVERISH THOUGHTS

03.02.05


I can finally stay in front of my computer and write some more crap. I am still feverish (38 degrees) but I feel all right, if you think that this was 39 and a half yesterday. If the indications of the quicksilver were translated into TV ratings, I would definitely make a big success on the small screen. I’m sick of my life here, from the couch to the bed and vice versa. I hadn’t caught a cold for more than two years. Now I’m completely stuck with it.

A little while ago I saw Pulp Fiction again. My father got it from a Sunday paper. He asked me to watch it together. I told him ‘Nah, don’t bother’. I don’t know why but I wanted to watch it again all by myself. Well, I couldn’t do a greater PhD on Tarantino. His films are the example of beyond-text-narration in cinematography. So I do that PhD. What will I be afterwards? A tarantinologist or some expert on cinema theory that everybody will hate?

I missed my job. I want to be with lots of people. I don’t like sitting at home like an old man. I have had a lot of time to think lately. I decided that my future profession must guarantee social exchange for me. All right, I’m not very patient with the others but that can be fixed. It’s enough to try. I need a creative and definitely not a lonely job. The writer in me can wait.

Do you know who put those ideas in my mind? Jonathan Coe is sure to blame. I am finally reading his book ‘What a Carve Up!’ and I confirm my opinion regarding the loneliness of the writer. Well, I am already strange enough and I don’t want to push it to the limit. Social exchange is a compass for a traveler like me. From that point of view, even that fact that part of my job is to pick up phonecalls gives me the right to believe that I’m on a good way. Many citizens might be swearing at me every time that the gardener is late in pruning their tree but they try to communicate with me at the same time. In the end we always say: ‘Thank you’ – ‘You are welcome’.

24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE

31.01.05


Weekends go fast, unfortunately. I will have a lot to remember from the weekend that just passed, fortunately. And of course I won’t forge that I set you all up and of course I won’t forget how often my phone was ringing when someone from you was asking ‘But where on earth are you?’. May my teddy bear be well, with his great face and unforgettable profile, entering the room and relaxing everyone: ‘Nicholas is coming’. And Nicholas was indeed coming with Dimitris.

There was a huge traffic on the road. This is no excuse. Moreover, it took us about half an hour to park (this is no excuse either) and a lot of cleverness to avoid the huge Rottweiler that we met loose on some corner of the street before it chopped us (it was the first time of my life that I was afraid of a dog) – and this can definitely not be any kind of excuse.

In the end, this meeting took place about an hour later (you know better than me how much time passed). To my great joy, I found you sitting altogether and I confess that while approaching you I was wondering whether or not I would get away with slaps and swearing. I don’t use to appear like a Diva in the middle of the stage and, although I don’t think of establishing that, I admit that I was impressed with your patience. Well, you are unbelievably polite. I congratulate you on that. I also congratulate you on your resilience regarding ‘heavy’ guitars, drums and bass or (let’s put it differently) your ability to appreciate good music. And yet the best music of the whole world would sound terrible without your presence.

Thanks to you, my dear –old and new- friends, I can experience the best thing that is happening to me right here right now. Not somewhere else, not some other time, but RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW! Somewhere among the tables with the various drinks, hiding behind smoke and colourful lights, I am standing up. I am holding you and you are holding me. We are dancing afterwards, as if this is the most natural thing in the world (not that it isn’t). Before I get tired, I let my legs fall on the floor. I move as I can. I sweat as I can and I am now sure that our sweat is what makes the ground so slippery (disgusting but plausible discovery).

When I finally decide to sit down, I’m done but I wish I can always be tired like that: being exhausted after a great party (those of you who left early will be wondering if I am exaggerating). Around 5 o’clock in the morning, having managed to arrive at home, I see that I have a treaded and dirty cigarette end stuck on my shoe. I pick it up fast before the dog finds and eats it. I take a quick look at my dirty shoes: they look as if half a centimeter from the soles is melted. I laugh at myself. I remember I used to tell my mom: ‘You know, I don’t mind that I can’t walk. What kills me is that I can’t dance.’.
Well, I’ll never say such crap for as long as I live.

Dreadlock holiday

27.01.05


We’ll put on a new piece based on improvisations. At first, I was happy to participate again in the municipal theatrical group. I was happy until they told us that we’ll have rehearsals twice a week. They’ll kill us again. And yet this professionalism and this responsibility do have some sense. The performances are organized for June. There’s not much time until then. I just wonder if I should sound the alarm, since I still haven’t handed out my dissertation; and I should be stressed but I’m not. But then again, why should I struggle to feel stressed anyway?

Something else makes me doubt: my work on things that I did at the age of 18 raises questions. Is it possible that I am becoming a kiddo again? Is it possible that I’m looking for new tricks among old ones? Is it possible that I’m still a teenager? Is it possible that my dog is way more mature than I am? My dog knows what he wants. He wants to play, sleep and eat. He has no inhibitions. He doesn’t go to concerts. He doesn’t think how cool it would be to have a band; neither does he write any lyrics. I did all that stuff years ago. I still go to concerts. Some times I look at the younger guys who go crazy and I say: ‘Wow! The world hasn’t changed at all in the end.’. I thought the same thing about those who work with me in the theatrical group when I saw them the day before yesterday. They’re all as I left them the last time. Is this good or bad, I wonder?

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe all of them have changed and I haven’t understood that. They’ve certainly changed. It’s not like I care about what happens to the others. I just try to see my signs of progress by observing the changes in those who surround me. No matter how strange it may seem, my fellow humans comprise elements of my external surroundings when they are perceived as subjects for observation. In other times, people are bridges for me and they unite my present with my past of my future. I remember them the way I remember a characteristic summer tune in deep winter.

Suddenly, I am singing 10cc and Dreadlock Holiday. I turn back time a little bit but I am advancing:

I was walkin’ down the street
Concentratin’ on truckin’ night
I heard a dark voice beside of me
And I looked round in a state of fright
I saw four faces one mad
A brother from the gutter
They looked me up and down a bit
And turned to each other

I say, I don’t like cricket oh no, I love it
I don’t like cricket no no, I love it

Don’t you walk thru’ my words
You got to show some respect
Don’t you walk thru’ my words
‘Cause you ain’t heard me out yet

Well he looked down at my silver chain
He said he’ll give you one dollar
I said you’ve got to be jokin’ man
It was a present from me Mother
He said I like it I want it
I’ll take it off your hands
And you’ll be sorry you crossed me
You’d better understand that you’re alone
A long way from home

And I say, I don’t like reggae no no, I love it
I don’t like reggae, I love it

Don’t you cramp me style
Don’t you queer me pitch
Don’t you walk thru’ my words
‘Cause you ain’t heard me out yet

I hurried back to the swimming pool
Sinkin’ Pena Calarda
I heard a dark voice beside me say
Would you like something harder
She said I’ve got it you want it
My harvest is the best
And if you try it you’ll like it
And whollow in a Dreadlock Holiday

And I say, Don’t like Jamaica oh no, I love her
Don’t like Jamaica oh no, I love her oh yeah
Don’t you walk thru’ her words
You got to show some respect
Don’t you walk thru’ her words
‘Cause you ain’t heard her out yet

I don’t like cricket, I love it
Dreadlock holiday, I don’t like reggae, I love it
Dreadlock holiday, Don’t like Jamaica, I love her
Dreadlock holiday.

A LITTLE MORE SMOKE

24.01.05

There are times when I have to prove myself that I’m not a nerd. There are times when I quit the books and learn to live without them. I am looking for something to lift my spirits, to make me get high, even just for a moment. Well, I hadn’t smoked narghile until recently (Jenny had brought us once a rather big one from Constantinople. It’s still somewhere in the living room).

On Saturday afternoon I was already sitting on a couch. My feet were put on carpets that were a little bit worse than those that mrs. Miraraki used to advertise on her show. I was a bit crushed for some reason (there was so much space, why didn’t you guys sit a little bit further?). The notes of the East were heavy to my ears. A bit of Volanis and a bit of Rouvas translated in Arabic. Other than that, everything was all right. The atmosphere was warm and the female presence stood out. Of course I would drink coffee. And of course I would taste the very delicious smoke of the narghile scented with apple.

What was missing? Nothing was missing. The bunch of friends was big in the end. I only wished I could have a feline lying in front of my feet. A tiger or something like that. Mr. Pi is to blame for this fantasy of mine, no doubt (I’m still reading the respective novel of Yann Martel – this has nothing to do with "P" by Aronofky, I assure you). Anyway, with or without a beast in front of my feet, I enjoyed it. Do you know where I can find smoke for narghile? It helps me relax (not more than needed) and I get the impression that it will help me do better with my study.

THE LAST DAY

02.01.05



I am still awake, although I have no obligation to fulfil and no work to see done, although I am tired to death from last night’s late feast, and I write this prologue, although I know it’s stupid to start always with a declaration such as ‘I am like this and I feel like that’ etc.. I stop it right now.

Yesterday:

Party with Vassilis somewhere near here. Invitation. 30 Euros. Free consumption of drinks. Lift only for commodities. From the side door. We cross the fridges. We see the girls. They are already down (to work). They serve drinks; with or without ice.
The space. Big. Huge. With lights and pipes on the ceiling. For decorations. The music almost horrible. A big crowd. I love that! Countless girls; with or without boyfriends. More people come. Right now they are about 700 in total! On the side. I see my ‘gang’. They greet me. We talk. More people come. Unknown. They pass before me. They walk on me. My glass is empty. My glass is filled again. It is empty again. It is filled again. 9 Ursus in total. Movement in front of the DJ. Dance. Jolt. Dizziness and need to pee. The tile is wet. Slippery. Another ten people wait outside. I bite my tie (purple, in glam rock style) so as not to pee on that too. My hands on the wall. I’m holding on. I think I’ll fall. Relief. A little more dance. People looking back. Wishes being exchanged. Friends saying goodbye. Coats that find their place around the body. 6:30 in the morning. The dark sky. We’re looking for a car. Where did we leave it? Wasted. We’re all wasted. The car is coming. The sky changes its colour. The mobile informs me of the time most definitely: 7 o’clock in the morning. 1/1/05. A simple addition (+365 days). A celebration. I want to think of a beloved face, not of family or friends. There’s noone. I am tortured. For a while. For seconds. I come around. I make a wish. A wish with a cause. Without a pretext. Vassilis is smiling. He ‘reads’ me: I return that. With a smile. The day becomes whiter. The lights go high. Higher. Higher.

Monday, September 18, 2006

DANCING TO THE BEAT OF ROCKABILLY

31.12.04

I just watched a DVD dedicated to the legend Jerry Lee. I thought that there hours are neither for ‘heavy’ guitars nor for whispered outbursts. I was dominated by a bizarre mood all day: happy, relieved, and yet a bit sad. But what do I have to lose? Another year passing by. Well, let the year go. May the next year that is to come be a whole lot better. It will be; it will be better for me, at least. I feel it. That’s what I told my friends and they were surprised by my good mood. They ran to put an end to my optimism. I clarified: ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen to our country or to the whole planet but I will have a good year ahead of me. I am referring to my personal history and not to the history of the world. I know that the next decades are going to be hard for everyone in general. I let things go with the flow and I am dancing to the beat of rockabilly.’. Someone whispered a secret in my ear a few years ago: ‘If you want the whole world to be happy, you have no reason to pray for the common good. You should take care of yourself. Try to be alright and tell your friends to do the same thing. If we all take care of ourselves, we might achieve a better world, because we (those who are seen and those who are not) are the world. And those who are unhappy without being to blame, may they be strong enough to have hopes. That’s how they’ll make their step to happiness.’. I still remember those words, although they weren’t said in that row or in that way.

I repeat: I will try to have a better year ahead of me for as long as I can. Everything will be alright. I’m sure. I wish the same thing for you too.

TOTAL (RE)CALL

16.12.04



I am happy and tired; happy because I finally don’t have to be sorry for not being able to use the buses for my transport and tired because I keep reading and writing non-stop and having a minimum of sleep. As for the blog, I have almost forgotten about it, because I can’t do anything else right now. Even yesterday’s news arrived in fragments: ‘3-6 hostages were released’ and so on. I was hearing about people’s troubles and remained indifferent. It’s Hollywood that has made me so indifferent to everything. I sit in front of my television and just watch the news, reacting as every spectator who has had enough, who is not moved by violence any more or by the horror of an unexpected situation and who is being constantly surprised without reacting to that. The more I think about it, the more I figure out that studying is to blame for it probably. I have become comfortably numb. There’s no other explanation to this.

At nights (if I manage to lie down before 4 o’clock) I turn the television on and I am looking for Samantha from the ‘Sex and the City’ series. Lively, mature, funny, smart and decisive. The best woman to give you exactly what you need and nothing more. When you are fed up with her, she is fed up with you as well and wishes you good night in a wicked way. You can enjoy her or dream of her but not love her. If you are to love somebody, love yourself, since yourself is the one who needs you more than anybody else. In the meantime, if you want to give explanations to anybody who believes that you have become a narcissist, you can listen to the whole last album of Morrissey and whisper song number 5:

I’M NOT SORRY

On returning
I can’t believe this world is still turning
The pressure’s on
Because the pleasure hasn’t gone
And I’m not sorry for
For the things I’ve done
And I’m not looking for
Just anyone

On competing
When will this tired heard stop beating?
It’s all a game
Existence is only a game
And I’m not sorry for
For the things I’ve done
And I’m not looking for
Just anyone

I’m slipping below the water line
I’m slipping below the water line
Reach for my hand and
The race is won
Reject my hand and
The damage is done

I’m slipping below the water line
I’m slipping below the water line

The woman of my dreams / she
Never came along
The woman of my dreams / well
There never was one
And I’m not sorry for
For the things I’ve said
There’s a wild man
In my head
There’s a wild man
In my head

Friday, September 15, 2006

I STARTED WRITING ONE THING AND I ENDED UP WITH ANOTHER

10.12.04


I was looking at Rembrandt’s engravings and I thought I was looking at sketches designed with a pen nib. I was checking out the engraved metal flagstones afterwards and was aghast. I had seen those sketches before or other similar to them in coloured pictures and I admit that I wasn’t moved at all. On the contrary, the pictures I admired yesterday were really astonishing. You don’t have to be an art critic to understand the importance of those works. You just have to have a little imagination to bring to life a scene presented right in front of your eyes and to travel in older eras, at times when there were no cameras to depict reality as it actually is, at times when the great painter was the one who could really depict the looks, the smiles, as well as the shadows of lights, exposing like that his/her own experience regarding pain, joy, expectation or relief. And this is the importance that, when attached to things that have been said a million times, makes them sound new and pioneering.

At the museum store, I met my friend Panayiota, who told me that some fascists had started a march close to the Syntagma Square. She advised us not to get there, since it was highly possible for them to beat the hell out of us. I had never thought that someone could hit me out of the blue. I was initially scared, since I wasn’t exactly looking for trouble. Later, though, I was carried away by the desire to provoke my own luck and dare to walk among the beasts. My friend Nikos said that this was not a good idea. I was finally persuaded with his words and decided just to visit the museum toilets. It was a toilet for disabled people, or probably not, since there was no easy access to those who would decide to use it despite the indication there. It was big and had room for three persons like me but there was no bar next to the bowl which I could hold and be able to stand up (I just wanted to pee). There was a bar next to the washbasin instead, as if someone would put his/her towels there.

I had no other choice. I reached the washbasin and stood up using the bar. I touched the tiles with my hands, I stuck on the wall and started moving on the sides towards the bowl. I was whispering, swearing and praying inside. The tiles were slippery and I was scared. I didn’t exactly wish to find myself lying down. I finally managed to reach the bowl and grabbed the cistern. When I sat on my wheelchair again, I already felt lighter. A little while ago I had let water run not to wash out my excrement but to get rid of all those bad thoughts that ruin my day every time that my life becomes harder due to some people’s indifference. [Since you make the bathroom anyway (and you are subsidized for that), make it right, damn you.] I didn’t lose my mood anyway. But would it have been better if I gather five or six colleagues and march with them in order to beat some guys black and blue?
Sorry, Rembrandt, I outshine your greatness.

ON THE SEABED

06.12.04

Thanks for your namesake wishes. It’s beautiful to go to work in the morning and read wishes on your screen. I apologize for not writing so often now but I really sleep and wake up lying on the books. I’ve become unbelievably boring both to the others and to myself. I will make up for it. Other than that, I have no other way to ‘walk around’ online. Some programme destroyed the Explorer and I decided to take advantage of the situation, since I am handing out my dissertation in the end of February.

I visited the ocean closest to me to figure out how cold the water of the sea is during the winter. I found a deserted submarine somewhere there. It was made of metal and its colour was electric blue. I got it and was buried under tons of water. I stepped on the accelerator, hoping to overcome myself. I was on the seabed. I lifted my head, as I used to when I looked at the sky, and I saw people from the backward reflection of the water. I saw people passing by, sliding skillfully on the waves. They were on the surface and I was lost down there. I have a lot of work to do. The sharks are watching me. In the end, they will either reward me for my hard work or simply give me my life. When this happens, I will be brought out again.
Best wishes both to me and to Nick Cave, whom we saw yesterday and he was great.

THE PINKY DRINKS LIFT MY SPIRITS

27.11.04


I’ve had some drinks with a pinky colour that are sweet and drive you crazy. I’m really stoned and I like it a lot. I came back home with a taxi and the driver was listening to radio ‘Cosmos’. I’m talking about a crazy drive, I’m telling you. Full of sax and husky voices. Afterwards, we listened to Lou Reed on ‘Take a walk on the wild slide’ and I wanted nothing more. Honestly. We had our drinks, we said a lot and this was enough to make us happy.

You should be there to look at me gaping idly at the colourful lights and the wooden table. I confess that some times I fall in love with objects. I let my eyes stick on them for hours, especially on details that would be considered stupid by some people. That’s why it takes me an hour to go from one room to the other, because while going there I look and think. I admire my dog, for he seems to be the sweetest dog on the planet for me, I look at Melina’s portrait and try to understand the shape of her smile. I’m in my world. Imagine me drinking. What nonsense am I talking and what stupid things am I doing!

Throughout this funny delusion I remembered to call two friends and asked them to record on video for me the interview of Soti (Triandafyllou) on NET. I love her very much and I wish she logged on my blog to read it too. Later (later means now) I understood it was time to lie down on my great bed, in order to wake up quite early tomorrow morning and work on my great dissertation. But I’ll first take a walk on the wild slide, as mister Lou Reed orders:

Holly came from Miami, F.L. A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the USA
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She says, Hey babe
Take a walk on the wild slide
She said, Hey honey
Take a walk on the wild slide

Candy came from out on the Island
In the backroom she was everybody’s darlin’
But she never lost her head
Even when she was giving head
She says, Hey babe
Take a walk on the wild slide
Said, Hey babe
Take a walk on the wild slide
And the coloured girls go
Doo do doo do doo do do doo

Little Joe never once gave it away
Everybody had to pay and pay
A hustle here and a hustle there
New York City’s the place where they said, Hey babe
Take a walk on the wild slide
I said, Hey Joe
Take a walk on the wild slide

Sugar Plum Fairy came and hit the streets
Lookin’ for soul food and a place to eat
Went to the Apollo
You should’ve seen ’em go go go
They said, Hey sugar
Take a walk on the wild slide
I said, Hey babe
Take a walk on the wild slide
All right, huh

Jackie is just speeding away
Thought she was James Dean for a day
Then I guess she had to crash
Valium would have helped that bash
Said, Hey babe,
Take a walk on the wild slide
I said, Hey honey
Take a walk on the wild side
And the coloured girls say,
Doo do doo do doo do do doo
Please don’t freak out with dirty words!

STORIES

26.11.04

A great walk around New Orleans on dirty streets while worried passengers stare at me, either inside or outside a circus. People who look strange, bored performers on a show that is repeated in order to entertain, to empty the pockets of citizens, to make profit; for the rich to be richer and the poor to be poorer, for the gangster to get away with it all and the creep to rot in prison or the creep to get away with it all and the gangster to rot in prison. And all this takes place in a space blurred by the fumes of the cigarettes of those who smoke in the basements, listening to piano being played from the hands of black musicians. The dark colour, the dark looks and the bright imagination that describe what happened and what didn’t happen. Whatever I saw and did not see yesterday on my small screen.

This is what I like. This is what pleases me, along with voodoo and angry cocks ready to kill one another, because when the cock is well prepared, he takes that out and thus his ‘colleague’ spurs like mad. The others just place their bets on the name of entertainment. Watching a crash is always attractive to the viewers. That’s how it always goes. That’s what happens here too, except for the fact that there’s no winner here but, even if there was one, he wouldn’t earn money. He would only take what would be left from a story with ambiguous end. This end might be different not only for its quality but also for its outcome.

I remember my father telling me stories while on trips. I was little and had to sleep. My father slept first before he even finished with his story. I was then left with the complaint and told myself: ‘When I grow up, I will make my own stories all by myself with my own beginning and my own end.’. That’s what I said and did and it seems that I will be doing this for a long time.

AND I SUFFER (For my own good)

25.11.04


I got out of bed wishing to be sick and not go to work. Last night I was printing your answers to the questionnaire for hours (each one in different print). I was doing the whole thing mechanically until I started seeing birds and stars and all that stuff in front of me. I have gathered about 70 answers, most of them encouraging. What I have to do now is to produce the percentages for the most crucial answers and maybe present them in some sort of diagram. I still have a lot of work to do but it’s enough that everything goes well for me. Moreover, I’m fed up with reading and I think that being dead tired will finally have very positive consequences to my future scores. When I started my graduate course, I knew very well that I would be tired; and I really wanted to struggle with them. It might sound insane but I believe that this kind of education ‘nurtures’ me and prepares me for even bigger things. On the other hand, I can’t wait to stop reading and do some sports. My body is stooped from sitting on chairs all the time and I can’t take it any more. It’s because I’m sick of picking up phones at work. My patience and my resilience are tested on a daily basis. Yesterday they made me a remark because I am very polite with citizens and therefore I keep the lines constantly busy for longer than I should. The conclusions are up to you.

FOR ‘MY’ PEOPLE

24.11.04


I was waiting too for the Teddy Bear to swear at me (as he had promised in his blog that he would do). I opened my window and then started reading. Was that all the swearing? How great it would be for everyone to swear at me like that. Without understanding it, it seems I’ve started something greater than what I think. I read the messages posted by Thodoris, Michalis and Katerina and said: ‘All right, there are some people who make my life more difficult but there are some others who try to walk in my shoes and understand me. It’s for them, then, that I will be writing and exposing myself whenever I need to tell the truth for as long as I can.’

What I want to describe today is how happy I was yesterday. I went to see my older brother (not that I have a younger one; I’m just giving hints regarding his age!). I’m very happy each time that all of us meet, even if we are bored. There is an explanation for that. I haven’t lived with my brother as much as I would like to. I need something more; one more picture and one more word to hold and remember. I am ashamed of saying so but when people ask me if I have any siblings, I say: ‘I have a sister’; and a few seconds later, I add: ‘and a brother’. There is an explanation for that as well but I don’t disclose that.

What I do want to disclose is a conclusion to which I came a few years ago: Nobody loves you as much as your family does. No doubt that this can be uncertain; but I can’t understand brothers and sisters who argue to death and parents who don’t care about their children. I might be mad at parents’ behaviour but I recognize their effort to be right beside us. The same thing happens with brothers and sisters. They might beat you black and blue, take your favourite things or not always have time for you but they care about you like nobody else. I don’t know if I sound traditional or if I just had the luck to grow up in a happy family. No matter what, I feel great every time I know that wherever I am going there are always somewhere some people to whom I can always turn and return.They are not just ‘my’ people. They are points of reference in my personal history.

Goffman, Ziggy and Me

23.11.04


My father was looking at the newspaper today. He said ‘The Teddy Bear and Evi are there’. Then he shows me the paper. I track a reference to the ‘stories’ (the blog). I’m happy for them and laugh indifferently at my case. I was never part of a community (although I know I am). In general, I don’t like belonging to something. All right, I have made you freak out and I definitely have the inferiority complex. Let’s put it that way. If I don’t admit it, I won’t stop being like that. If I do, I might manage to change something/some day.I had said that I wouldn’t write anything! It’s impossible. I’m addicted (I repeat that) to the blog and I’m being dead serious! In the future I might wind up in a detox clinic in order to get rid of constant blogging.

Yesterday I was reading an article from a book written by Erving Goffman: ‘The Presentation of self in everyday life’. I understood a lot about what I did both to you and to myself. I have confused you, speaking about the defence of difference on the one hand and presenting myself as a guy just like the rest on the other. I see what I mean (and I’m not worried for as long as this happens) but it’s something that I can’t explain. Nonetheless, the wisdom of things is somewhere in the middle (as usual). Anyway, that’s not the question. The question is, how can I be so tired from this procedure and yet find it extremely difficult to take my hands from the keyboard? Someone yells at me: ‘Go back to your normal life, you dumbo’. And I answer: ‘This has become a part of my normal life’.

I remember David Bowie (he is probably my favourite artist) when he was living as Ziggy Stardust and almost got sick with schizophrenia, because he believed so much in the personality he had created for himself that he forgot who he really was. I hope that this won’t happen to me, because, let’s face it, no matter how real myself is here, I really get into my new role. As for publicity, what am I to say? When you aren’t after her, she finds you. When you are after her, she doesn’t come to you at all. Unless you are Ziggy Stardust.

About being a punk

17.11.04


It all started many many years ago when I first saw real Punks walking around Leicester Square in London. I was in a red bus looking at the street from the window, when I suddenly caught a colourful picture. A bunch of freaks were standing at the end of the street, breathing in fumes. If someone asked me to describe them, I would say that they look like colourful birds. They didn’t look at all like the people I knew until then. They were different. They were impressive. They were mysterious, aloof and silent; they were even scary. They had dyed their long hair –their ‘standing’ hair- that covered their heads in many colours and looked like colourful crowns. They had studs on their necks and on their wrists too. Tons of trinkets were hanging from their ears and their faces were dyed with colourful powders. They were standing there in the middle of nowhere, looking indifferent, as if their own life was just a word in brackets, comparing it to the lives of the others. The truth is that I was scared of them but I admired them as well. I told my mother: ‘When I grow up, I want to be like them’.

Years passed and I grew up. Countless are the times that I came back to London (I still go whenever I can) and I was sad to have figured out that the freaks had disappeared. True Punks don’t exist any more (according to Papazoglou- Manolis Rassoulis, the train must have run over them) The world is full of imitating people, of people who pretend to be anti-conventional, of people who try to look different. They pierce their tongues and ears, they dye their hair; and all this in a desperate effort to cry out loud and thus declare their presence without suspecting that they end up looking so much with one another, precisely because they end up using the same methods and techniques in order to stand out. I see them all dancing at the rhythm of noises, amidst smokes and under colourful lights. I’m there with them too. They are so passionate that they can’t see anything beyond the end of their noses. They fall on my wheelchair and apologize because they didn’t see me. I am invisible and yet so visible at the same time. I am different without even having planned to be. From one point of view, I am lucky. Maybe I should pierce my ear for a second time? Not to stand out but to look like them?

All Along The Watchtower

11.11.04

Ever since I’ve started this blog, I’ve ended up to a specific conclusion. Your participation is inversely proportional to my mood. Whenever I am angry or sad, all of you run to make some comment on my bad mood either to console me or to advise me of something or just to tell me that you have been in my shoes. On the contrary, I get the impression that my joy makes you feel awkward. It could be said that positive feelings are proved to be more personal than negative ones.

I imagine that many of you might say that I’m happy for no reason, as if it’s not important to be photographed next to public faces of to receive a letter from them, even when it comes from the other end of the world. This is why you decide not to take part in a dialogue that is none of your business, according to you. Your absence causes mixed feelings to me. On the one hand I’m sorry to understand that I might sound boring and on the other I’m unbelievably happy when I can take advantage of this absence of yours in order to take a breath, refraining from daily writing which, let’s face it, wears me out.

Forgive me for being descriptive again but I picture myself walking (yes, I can even walk with my imagination) all along an endless corridor next to a window equally huge that allows the sunrays to get through. There are open doors –the one next to the other- opposite the window, all along the corridor as well. Those doors lead to rooms less bright but not dark. As I go from one room to the other, I figure out that my legs step on black-and-white marble squares that form a giant chessboard. I don’t need much to become a pawn. And yet I’m not one. I’m the owner of a deserted tower. I’m the crazy owner of a deserted tower. I’m so insane that I hear voices expressing my thoughts before me. Those voices could only belong to you.

WHEN HAPPINESS SUDDENLY STRIKES ME

11.11.04


You are not going to believe this. My father just called me from home to tell me that the bassist of Doors finally sent me the photographs that we had taken backstage, after the concert. He had promised me that he would do that but I hadn’t believed him. That guy’s name is Phil Chen and he appeared with the newly composed band for the purposes of the concert. As you know, this band did not use a bassist for the studio recordings. So we are dealing with a session musician and maybe this is the reason why this doesn’t have to do with some dupe but with a very modest (for now, at least) artist. Right now that I am writing this I am excited and there is no other way to show that than write it somewhere here. Some times, things happen that reward you for the problems of a whole lifetime.

I was equally excited yesterday when I picked up the phone and I heard the voice of my beloved teacher and chief of the theatrical group of the municipality. She let me know that the group will be re-united. We are about to put on a piece based on improvisations. I can’t wait to finish writing my dissertation and work again on things that I long for.
P.S.: The envelope was sent from Hollywood (I’m serious). The recipient was someone under my surname and the names of Anna and George (the friends with whom I attended the concert).

1+1=25 (that’s my age as well)

09.11.04


A while ago, they asked me at the office to make some calculations so as to record the revenue of the Municipality from the assignment of works. I did this without providing any objection of course, since it was not something difficult (I used a calculator, naturally), but I was still (and I still am) cautious regarding the reliability of the result. When I have numbers in front of me, I run in panic. This is definitely part of my childhood memoirs. I was scared of mathematics and I realized how important this science is only when I decided to be deal with me. Everything is mathematics, my friends. Even what I’m writing here for you. If you don’t make any sense from what I say, this happens because I’m hopeless at arithmetic. I can’t understand the sequence of operations and adopt a specific logic. And yet I love mathematics (in the end), as much as I love a lot of things of which I happen to be afraid. Don’t ask me how I do that. I can’t –and I don’t want to- explain that. It’s enough that it happens. I imagine myself engrossed in the algebra books one day, trying to solve exercizes with integrals and swearing at every direction, regretting that I spent my years studying the writings of ancient thinkers. I know: I will have no reason to regret. They are mathematics too.

I’LL SAY HERE WHAT I DIDN’T SAY THERE

05.11.04

Athina told me that the show was successful and that the discussion at the studio was interesting. I thought that I would envy her a little, because she made another decision and finally had the chance to say what she wanted in public. I didn’t envy her at all in the end. I just wondered if something new was told during that show, where normally standard things are said. I wish that someone found the roots of the problem, explaining that the phenomenon of cities inhospitable to people with a disability deals first of all with the small communities and the policies of local administration. This is the one that first controls the application of policies that are targeted to securing the rights of those specific minority groups. If all municipalities met the standards for providing us with equal opportunities as regards our participation in daily activities, then the whole city of Athens and thus the whole of the country would be a place friendlier to people with a disability. That’s about it here.

TIME FOR WHINING

02.11.04


I’ve become angry those days. I am not arguing with people, neither am I blaming them. I’m just a bit aloof. I get the impression that I will pay for this behaviour of mine but I couldn’t care less, to say the truth. It would be wise to refer to a specific event.

Yesterday I was asked to attend the making of a show during which the video we made in the centre of Athens would be presented. The show is programmed for Sunday noon but the shoot will be made in the studio tomorrow. So they called me on the phone to ask me to go there and I refused. I don’t know if there was some specific reason to do that but I said: ‘No, thank you. I will watch the show on television.’. I told them that they really gave me a hard time. That was true. On Friday they asked me to attend a third exterior shoot as well, saying that they had to have more outside scenes. I refused as well, since this was not part of our agreement. Nonetheless, I gave them the phone number of a good friend, Athina, who accepted to attend the rest of the shoot instead of me.

I was angry because I understood once again that some people who are professional journalists just want to use you. They told me: ‘We definitely want you there for a last shoot’. They didn’t ask me if I had the time or if I was in the mood. They actually didn’t ask me at all. They demanded my participation. And I am angry with people who demand things from me. They had got the impression that I’m some coward and that I’m crazy for shows. The showman himself talked to me on the phone. I explained him that I don’t have more time, because I work in the mornings and I am also busy with my graduate course. As soon as he listened to that, he stopped talking to me as if I was some dupe, especially when he found out that I’m one of them.

Seeing things from a different point of view, I understood that my behaviour was kind of hostile. I regretted refusing to go to that show. I get the impression that the subject with the inaccessible Cathedral will cause a great ‘storm’. Maybe that was why I wanted to avoid the direct opposition. I don’t even want to bid the priests good morning. I’m afraid of them as ‘God’s people’. Not all of them are malicious, I know. I just avoid even looking at them. I’m gripped by the same phobia every time I look at a woman who pretends to be a diva or a cat (yes, I’m speaking of the well-known animal) that attempts to blind my dog with her nails. There are some people who make me defensive against them, no doubt. That’s why I regretted that I won’t be present at the shoot of the show, because I will not be able to defend myself in case someone attempts to prove me wrong or say something bad about me when I’m not there.

FROM A PIECE OF GLASS

29.10.04


It’s time to talk about things less poetic. In some way, I need the lightness of dull random things or of facts that happen just like that, for no special reason. After all, I was back to work and this is not something romantic. I even managed to find the time to argue with a colleague who kept asking me to explain him why I invited him twice instead of getting the line from the number to which he had already called us. I had to disclose for him all the details regarding the telephone in the office inside the room; this machine doesn’t have a transfer button and therefore it was not stupid of me to decide to call back and not transfer the line to my telephone. I write you all that so that you understand what keeps people busy when they have nothing better to do.There’s no room for poetry in this insane reality. And yet I am next to the door and I always get the impression that this will help me escape more easily at the right time (I am reading the text again and I can’t seem to understand why I wrote this phrase). On the pretext of my morning anger (I started screaming without really understanding so), I brought the picture of broken glasses to my mind. It was later when I remembered a sculpture made by Varotsos that I saw recently at an exhibition: A corridor is formed among sharp glasses and lets the length of a distance appear. It’s actually about the distance covered when someone walks on a dangerous pathway. It’s dangerous because it traps those who walk on it. It threatens them like a beast while they walk through its sharp teeth, hoping to escape. Lamps lit hang beyond their heads; they form a second glowing pathway. That’s something at which people can look in order not to lose their orientation, their faith or their optimism. When I looked at that piece from a far distance, I said: ‘Another post-modern stupid thing’. When I read that it was about the struggling of the immigrant or of the man who travels seeking for survival and not because he just chooses to, I started looking for the symbols immediately. As it’s perfectly normal, everybody interprets a work of art as wanted. Someone might not recognize any trace of art in such creations. In my opinion, art is everywhere, precisely because it has to do with presentations and representations most of the times. If some people can’t do art (although they claim the opposite in order to impress), this happens because they are not able to recognize (and thus create and re-create) neither presentations nor representations that comprise (usually) the most common reality. This is the sense that makes me admit that I’ve heard the greatest poems on the street and the sweetest words in quarrels.

THE KISS OF PANIC

27.10.04

Yesterday I visited my department once again and had to face (academic) situations that brought me face to face with negative consequences and this is why I was very very sad. In fact, I was so sad that I wanted to smoke a whole pack of cigarettes. In the end I was just biting my nails. I rarely bite my nails but in that case I didn’t find a less self-destructive thing to do.

On returning home, the midday show of Tatiana Stefanidou came to my mind (I always think of shallow things when I feel like drowning), on which a sort of ointment against cancer was presented. In fact, it was merely a kind of tomato purée that circulates without being approved by the N.O.M..

I thought immediately of all those poor people who take advantage of people’s despair in order to get rich. I even remembered my mom, who took me to India (I was 7 years old) to receive the blessing of Sai Baba. On the pretext of that meeting I had taken my first (the real one!) kiss from a woman who had said I was a Chosen one, just because I had managed to step on the threshold of the palace of an unsolicited Messiah.

The same kiss was what I needed yesterday. It didn’t have to be an erotic kiss. I was seeking for a salvation kiss. Another breath to make it.

GOOD OLD TIMES

26.10.04

Yesterday I watched Themos’ (Anastasiadis) show on television and remembered the days when I had him opposite me looking at his newspaper or walking around the corridors of the radio station with all the other editors and editors-in-chief. I remember I was going to work and had to know the news in order to do some stories; others exciting and others really boring. I hadn’t figured out that I didn’t like what I was doing back then. I was going through times of searching and everything seemed to be a part of a general testing. I was finishing with university and I had no idea how I wanted to live or what I wanted to be. The possibility of becoming a journalist raised my hair, not only because I felt that I wasn’t interested in topicality but also because being called a journalist doesn’t necessarily mean that you own some title of honour; on the contrary.

And yet I miss those times terribly; they were the times when I was in the middle of the rough ocean and had to swim alone in deep water, looking for evidence, exactly like a good researcher would do. This process helped me have courage. I could ask for information for anything from anybody and I was becoming wiser, of course, from day to day. Moreover, I found out how to break the myth of fame and stand next to people who I admired and still admire.

I was talking on the phone with my favourite artists and interviewed them (Who? Me!) and that’s how I was getting rid of my inhibitions or boosting my adrenaline. Like when I had to talk to the great Blues musician who had the nickname ‘Magic Slim’ or to Anna Vissi. I came in the sound engineer’s room. I was wearing headphones. I called my ‘victim’ on the pone and the interview started like that.

When I used the loo, I fell –almost always- on mr. Kakaounakis, as if someone told us to go to the loo at the same time. I had great fun in those times because the people involved were vibrant in every sense of the word. In this profession nobody could remain relaxed. News was running. So were we. We were especially lucky to be called for action with such creative stress. When the clock said it was 14:00, the news bulletin was on and everything was ready. People were listening to the news and so did we; we only got the news first.

Today I remember all this with the hope of experience it again some day. I’m on the other side now. I listen to the radio as a listener only and I’m paid to work as a municipal employee. Now I’m paid for the services that I offer. This is definitely something important.

TAKING THE DOG FOR A WALK

23.10.04


I’m home alone. Completely alone. I usually like this kind of loneliness and I encourage my parents to go and leave me alone. Today it feels different, because for the first time I understood how inconvenient this house is for me, despite being considered an accessible house.

Let me explain you what happens: The house has three floors, inclusive of the basement, where my room and other communal spaces are. In fact, it’s a semi-basement and this means that the front door is like in the ground. That’s why there’s a ramp that leads to the street in front of the house. I can’t slide my wheelchair on this ramp because of its big slope. Whenever I want to get out from the house and use the front door, I have to use the walking device and that’s why I stand up and walk. Whenever I want to go further, I use my car and that’s why I get out of the garage, whose entrance is as low as the front door, since it’s placed on the front side of the house as well.

Today all my friends were busy and I had to take the dog for a walk alone. How would I do that since I couldn’t walk out (holding the dog’s lead in one hand) but I couldn’t use the car/garage for the same purpose either? I passed my hand through the dog’s lead and held the bars until I could take him out on the street. And then what? Absolutely nothing. I had neither my walking device nor my wheelchair. I was just grabbing a bar, with the dog on my foot pulling me on his side of the street with persistence (poor dog, he was ready to fall apart). I explained to him that things were difficult. I asked him to shit somewhere at the end of the street (at the furthest point that he could reach with me holding the lead). But the dog is a dog and he doesn’t understand. I picked him in quickly and told him: ‘I can’t do anything else. Shit on you!’. I am mad at my parents, because every time I tell them they’ve neglected a bunch of things regarding my independent living at home they pretend they don’t get it. In fact, they try to do everything they can to prove that I will always be in need of them. I want to call them where they are and cry out loud to them. It’s just one of the many times that they neglect my needs. If I ever tell them that I dared take the dog for a walk, they’ll never leave me home alone.

FROM THE DARK VILLAGE OF THE PAST TO THE DARK METROPOLES OF THE PRESENT

22.10.04


I want to talk for a dark village. It’s no other than the village presented by M. Night Shyamalan in his new film. Some of you might have seen it and some others don’t intend to go see it because they told you that this film has nothing to do with his other film, the ‘6th Sense’, neither in importance nor in plot. Right. If you expect to enjoy a thriller and nothing more, you are bound to be disappointed. It’s a film full of symbols and that’s what sets it apart, in my opinion.

People’s connection to the unknown and the way they handle fear, both their own and that of their fellow humans, is not something you can easily describe, even when you talk about a daily phenomenon. The strength contained in power can be grown by feelings like fear. Speaking of power, I don’t mean just the state being imposed on its citizens or the governmental decisions. I also mean the power exercized by the powerful on the weak or by the older on the younger, intending to protect them or even marginalize them. Remember the oppression exercized by the parents to their children in the name of excessive love. Remember the way that demagogues like Bush spread panic in order to legalize their torturing actions against every possible threat.

Threats can clearly cause the birth of fear, either as facts or as situations invented by humans. ‘I’m afraid, because I feel threatened by something that I don’t know but I am also choosing consciously not to be aware of it and this is why I’m still afraid of that something’. This sequence of facts derives from watching such a great film, like the ‘Dark Village’. If you want, I can take the whole thing further. Every prejudice is based on the same thinking system. That’s what happens with the social integration of people with a disability. ‘I’m cautious with people who have a disability because I know very few things about them and vice versa. I know very few things about people with a disability, because I was never willing to meet them and, consequently, I am still cautious with them. Likewise, I am stubborn in preserving the prejudice of previous centuries, according to which disability is determined as an illness, while it’s actually nothing but the outcome of incomplete or wrong application of an international social policy.’.

That’s how fear and ignorance are related. Watch the ‘Dark Village’ and you’ll figure out more.

ONCE UPON A TIME THE SILLY BOY WOKE UP

19.10.04


When I first came at work, I was in my office from 8:15, while I could be here at 9. The law says that people with a disability can work an hour less than their colleagues (without a disability) if they work for the public sector. At first, this seemed to me really unfair to the others and I had decided to come at work almost at the same time with them, not just to be the nice guy but also because I didn’t want to cause any reaction. I know well that people can envy you even for the slightest things. This is why I didn’t refer (in the beginning, at least) to my right to work an hour less than my colleagues. This didn’t last long.

As soon as they found out that I could be late but I didn’t do that, they started making fun of me: ‘Are you silly and you don’t just stay home and sleep an hour longer? Who do you think you are? Who are you to play it so cool?’ and other crap like that that made me change my mind. After all, I didn’t exactly wish to come at work at the crack of dawn. I did this for my colleagues, so that they don’t feel they are treated unfairly because of me. Since they insisted ignoring my intentions, I had every right to make good use of the legal provisions. Nowadays I come at work at 9 and everybody is happy.

Likewise, when I was studying for the Panhellenic examinations, I argued constantly with my mother, because she insisted on believing that I should be exempted from the examination procedure, since I was physically very tired with the many hours of studying. This is what she believed that should be done with all the people that had a disability, since, as she said, when you are a person with a disability you are already struggling hard enough to live and it is therefore unfair to be in trouble just to enter a university department. That’s what I was listening from her and I was surprised. I got mad like hell. I answered her: ‘Say what you want, I will sit the exams and I will even pass them. If I don’t, I’ll go study in London. So much the better for me.’.

I finally sat the exams (I just accepted to use the extra time I was given and after having done detailed work on the written test, I had an oral examination). I could just hand them my written work but my spelling mistakes were too many and this is why I preferred to speak of my thoughts. I sat the exams in the next year as well and I was admitted to the Department of Communication and Mass Media of the National Kapodistrian University of Athens. At first, I thought I had entered a Technological Educational Institution, the Department of Social Work or something; then I understood I was in a University School and bet between that and the Theater Studies Department or the History & Archaeology Department. The Mass Media one was my first choice and I was really surprised when I finally understood I had done it. It was not an imaginary achievement, as many people thought. I just simply wanted to have my own radio show and eat at expensive restaurants along with rock stars. I picked the University to get rid of parental guidance. Many years had to pass before I truly appreciated what I had achieved.

Despite my achievements, though, I was officially declared as the ‘sucker of the case’, since right after my success the state issued a decree that exempted us from examinations. This decree was valid for the next (almost) 3 years, since the exams were abolished for all. I will tell you something, even if you call me silly with capital ‘S’: Even if I didn’t have to sit exams, I still would; first of all because I don’t want to be different from the others for no reason but mostly because this procedure (of the Panhellenic exams) helped me immensely be hard and mature, precisely like most of the kids of my age with whom I shared this burden.

FOR THE BLUES

16.10.04

Yesterday I went to listen to the Blues again. Kostas and I were looking for a warm and cozy place with couches to get a better sense of the approaching winter. We were looking for a place with fitted carpets and couches where we would go to enjoy our drink, listening to lounge music. We didn’t find a place like that and thus we ended up at Panormou’s well-known bar. There were neither couches nor pillows but the warmth of a guitar and a husky voice.

You can’t imagine how happy I am when I listen to the Blues. Some times I wish I was born black – really black; and have that husky voice and an old story to defend, for example the setting free of my ancestors from their slavery and of my brothers from the fields that were like camps. I’d like to have just a guitar and cross the Mississipi, hoping to find a job somewhere in Chicago in the beginning of the 1900s, on the condition that I would have no disability. It’s too much being both a black man and a disabled one. It’s not something you should be ashamed of. It’s something that brings you at the forefront of double discrimination, especially when you refer to old times.

I don’t love the Blues just because the defend freedom or difference. I love them for their religious content as well. I get the impression that these songs help me discover the meaning of being religious as well as of faith, not necessarily the meaning of God. We’re dealing with faith to something higher, the kind of faith that makes the burden of your pain equal with carrying a treasure and makes you richer in strength, resilience and knowledge. There’s no better way to learn those lessons than listening to the black people sing for the simple joys of life or for hope.

The scenery is old and this is important. That’s where the opinions of people who struggled against injustice and racism are presented, way before they created their own ghettos. Things have changed today. People don’t just sing for their traditions or for what they’ve been taught from their families. They sing about hate, war and death. They hide behind gangs and this is how they become outcast citizens. Their wealth is not counted according to their cultural traditions but on the basis of gold or money.

That’s why I love those times, even if I know next to nothing about what was happening back then. At the same time, I suspect that nothing has actually changed. I figure out that the sense of living in a ghetto existed always. Noone can manage to overcome insecurities, even when music is the gun, even if one knows how to sing the Blues. I’m confused. I don’t know what I’m trying to prove. I take a sip from my drink and let out a husky voice. What I’m listening to are just great songs. Why do they have to be something more than what they are? Life in itself is fabulous, especially when you are listening to the Blues. ‘Oh Yeahhhhh!!!’.

ONE TRIP WITH DIFFERENT DESTINATIONS

15.10.04


Your participation gives me strength. I wish you wrote more even if we argued (isn’t this part of our daily life as well?). I don’t want to challenge you. I want to invite you. Watching the number of your comments growing, I try to have a picture of you. I think of you more like snails. Don’t doubt me so fast. I don’t mean that you are slow and slippery. No way. You just keep walking around and inside electronic boxes every time someone utters words. You appear slowly one by one, just like snails after rain. I know there’s many of you and you are somewhere out there. It’s good to come out even when it doesn’t rain.

Some of you may not be actually familiar with this way of communication. It doesn’t matter; and no matter how strange it may seem to you, I’m a newcomer too. I carry something uncertain with me; something whose identity and quality are doubtful. Nonetheless, I’m used to it. I don’t wait for some reason to begin with my trip. I’m a snail too, there’s no doubt about that at least. When I’m tired or in a hurry, I take the tube, exactly like I did yesterday to go to university. Looking at my fellow men and women in the carriage, I found the chance to play with an idea that came to my mind. That’s about how I thought of my weblog. Like a carriage! You meet various kinds of people in there. Others look like you and others don’t. Nonetheless, all of them wish to go on a trip. They want to arrive somewhere. Most of them don’t talk but they communicate, though, with their eyes, their hands and their facial expressions.

When I reach my destination, I ask some people to help me out of the train (since the new ehite carriages have no ramps on the doors). Some of them will take me out softly and help me out. Others will push me abruptly (because they don’t know how to do it properly, not because they are mean) to the platform. The same thing happens here when some people try to express their opinions. Some are abrupt or provocative and try to throw you out violently and some just try to walk with you, thus offering you their own images regarding what they record during their trip. It’s about one trip, even when it guides you to different destinations.

LOOK AT ME EVEN IF I’M CRYIN’

14.10.04

I was washing my voluminous hair, when I heard my mother cry outside the door: ‘Bonatsos died!’. I was not really emotionally connected to that specific person but I liked him enough to be surprised. While finishing such a simple thing (it doesn’t need hard work to bathe, does it?), I started making deep thoughts again and thus troubled myself. What’s life? What’s the human being? What did Vlassis took recently and made his heart stop?

You don’t find it easy to answer questions like that, especially when daily life forces you to move quicker than your thoughts. Some times you are even mad for not giving some time to other people as well, people who are anonymous, people who die without the whole country knowing and yet it’s equally devastating. Personally, anonymity fascinates me. I’m not speaking of the anonymity that protects you when you are afraid of stating your name (like when you post a comment on some blog, for instance) but of the other one that guarantees you the advantage of free movement in the crowd without anyone looking at you or expecting something from you. From that point of view, I would not put up with too much publicity. Maybe it’s because I always feel over-protected. In my opinion, too much protection is directly related to surveillance. Maybe it’s because all the looks of the world are to blame when they are directed to me with indiscretion ever since I was a baby.
To say the truth, things are a bit more complicated; firstly because, as it is the natural thing, not all the people are looking at me with indiscretion and secondly because I figure out that, with time, I am kind of used to people looking at me. When they don’t, it seems strange to me. That’s about where the game starts: Am I looking at you or are you looking at me?

Yesterday, for example, I went and listened to a speech from the Mayor. I wanted him to know that I was there for this purpose and this is why I went to greet him when he finished talking. I found him while the television journalists were interviewing him. In the beginning, I was surprised. I sat somewhere and waited for him to finish. The rest of the people were concentrated in the main area. I was still behind the Mayor though, knowing that it was highly possible to be (without wanting to) perceived by the television angle. Right then and there, I told myself: ‘You are a real dupe, bro’. Either you say you don’t dig publicity or you are next to the crew.’.

YO, MAN!

13.10.04


Yesterday I tried to receive treatment again. I had my belly uncovered and some kinds of cables put on my shoulder and nape. I sat against the wall, looking at the picture that describes the human body. I have studied that picture more than a million times, since I can’t do anything else. I am between two white curtains, behind which lie the other patients. They are usually women (quite older than me). I get the impression that they are bored but suffering at the same time. Despite having a passive treatment –like I do-, it still is unbelievably boring.

I have no other way of fooling myself than talking non-stop and nonsense! I am the clown of the hospital. Some times I think that I struggle to laugh. Everybody laughs at my silly jokes but I’m sure that some times they are just trying to be polite. In the meantime, treatment goes on and on. The electrodes pass the power and the (female) hands caress my shoulders. They spread healing ointments that make my hair raise. In the end I am always relieved. I feel like a black rapper who starts in a sensual video clip. What I need to add is a golden cross and of course a whole harem. As the Goin’ Through say: ‘There are many women, very many women, but they are never enough’.

INSERT COIN

12.10.04


I remember little Nicholas sitting on a high stool with the hands stuck on the control, in front of a smoked glass and behind flashing lights, agonizing and sweating. I intended to eat the balls and avoid the little ghosts. My score was quite low, although I spent tons of half-Euros to feed the machine. I let nobody take my place before I spent my very last penny. I knew that my scores were ultimately bad. Nonetheless, I wanted to stay in front of the screen. In fact, I didn’t really bother about being either a spectator or a player. I often had more fun with the others’ achievements. I was happy, as if I had passed all the stages.

If I was devoted to books and not to video games, today I might even be wise. I had excluded this possibility from my life ever since I was a child. I owned a console (Sega Master System) and I carried it with me at our country cottage in summer. I invited my friends for a group daze and exercise of the fingers. We all gaped idly at the screen, screaming or moving our hands and feet playfully. Our goals were different. We didn’t have Pac-Man or Sonic the hedgehog. We swirled in stone cylinders or passed beyond bridges that were falling apart, in order to pick the various rings flying over our heads. All of us were blue hedgehogs with sharp red shoes, forced to keep our promises and destroy the crazy scientist who tortured the animals of the forest. The whole scene was routine in our minds.

I don’t know if the hours I spent in front of the television were to blame. Nonetheless, every time that I undertake a mission, I prefer to imagine that all the difficulties I come up against are not much different from those that I would have to face in a video game. That’s how my reality is turned into a symbol. That’s the only way I can undergo hardship. Many years ago I wouldn’t even dare to imagine another dimension hidden in a stupid game. Today I am relieved when I wake up. A new week begins. It’s Monday. I have to come at work in a great mood. I open my eyes and tell myself: ‘Try to swallow all the balls by the end of the day. If you lose your strength, eat a little strawberry, but don’t you dare messing up with the little ghosts.’.On the screen glass I see myself again. Now I am 25 years old. I am not shaved and this makes me look scary. It might be because I am severe and speechless. In what way do I look like that silly kid of the video games? I don’t have the same reckless and carefree attitude. Some say that I have become mature in my way of thinking. I don’t answer, because I don’t know what to answer. I have run out of coins anyway