Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Gone with the wind

One thing I was never quite prepared for upon arriving in Greece was the wind. Sure, we had wind in Nashville, sometimes pretty darn strong. But I never experienced anything like the wind I’ve experienced here in Greece. Athens wasn’t so bad, at least I don’t remember it being too terribly bad. When we moved to Kos I remember some folks saying something about the tremendous winds there but you know, it is wind, how bad can it be? The answer is bad. Pretty darn bad. When we moved to the mountain it wasn’t much better, and here in Thessaloniki, being as close to the sea as we are, the wind gets pretty frightening, making booming, godlike sounds as it whips through cracks in building walls and weaves its way through the city streets.

When we were in Athens, I noticed a lot of people had awnings over their balconies, and boy did I covet those awnings. They are great for keeping the sun from blinding you during the day and especially practical in keeping the balcony dry when you have laundry out and the weather turns moist. We weren’t graced with an apartment that had awnings until we moved to the mountain, and that is when I learned that with the wonderful awnings comes a grave and important responsibility.

It seems that the great winds that blow through Greece are not especially awning friendly, in fact, it would appear that awnings and wind are great enemies of yore, constantly battling for dominance. And so the awnings must be raised when the winds come, to keep them from ripping apart and causing general havoc, not to mention pacifying the landlords. There was many a day I opened the shutters on the balcony to find that one of the landlords had climbed onto our balcony to raise our awnings in the face of the bitter wind. Oops.

I learned a great lesson in awning maintenance while living on the mountain, and that is why, if I wake up at 4am and hear the wind chimes singing like angels hopped up on LSD, I make a mad dash for the balcony to put up the awning. There is a trick to it though, because the act of raising the awning creates an insane, demonic sound, as if wild pigs were loose on the city and very, very hungry. So I have to turn the crank carefully and slowly, which isn’t very much fun at 4am when freezing, gusting winds are threatening to blow your soul to kingdom come.

I suppose I could be one of those brilliant people who lowers the awning in the morning and puts it up again when the sun goes down, thus avoiding all the rushing outside at 4am incidents. This would make a relative amount of sense, except that I am a bit lazy when it comes to general, routine maintenance activities such as raising and lowering awnings. Not to mention I enjoy the extra bit of privacy having them down allows. So for now I’ll take my stand between the wind and the awning whenever I am called, hoping that one day the battle will not be lost.


Andrew said...

Nice post. Well written! I had no idea the wind was like that over there. Given the title of the post, I was wondering if you were going to end with something like, "...for after all, tomorrow is another [windy] day."

To Love, Honor and Dismay

Pee Wee said...

Good post. Yeah, you could do the bit about being prepared and all, but where would the excitement be in that?

Tracie B. said...

i have forced my landlady out too by leaving my clothes out to dry and not rushing out to pull them off the line while it's raining. if i don't care, why should she?


traveller one said...

Hahaha! Just yesterday I said to hubby "This winter we really must roll back the awnings." We have two huge ones and we left them out last winter and I hated the noise of them flapping in the wind but was too lazy to wind them up!