Monday, December 11, 2006

Nope, I don't have a light, and I'm not lying

I’ve complained before - Greece is a country of ten million people, all of them smokers (ok not all, but we are looking at a pretty damn large percentage here). A non-smoker in Greece immediately takes on a heretic status – most people assume you smoke, and are aghast if you don’t.

So, to the woman and her man who were sitting next to me on the bench outside Plaisio, both with unlit cigarettes in their hand, I apologize. You just happened to ask the only non-smoker in Greece if they had a light. I realize you probably didn't believe me, but it is the truth. Luckily, you were able to snag one from a passerby about one second later, with whom you had a fabulously long-winded conversation about cigarettes.

I knew I should have gone into Plaisio with my husband.


Joanna said...

Caution: Long-winded comment ahead....

Have you ever been in an Athenian taxi when the driver, of course a smoker, rolls up the windows and smokes away, oblivious or uncaring about the fact that you are choking to death in the back seat? This has happened many times to me, another nonsmoker in Athens. Once, I shared a taxi with a very fragile woman who appeared to be about 3,000 years old and, as such, had trouble breathing. When she asked the taxi driver, very nicely, if he could please stop smoking because she was wheezing dangerously, he offered the typical "gamot ti mana sou" expletive and jerked the taxi to a stop to tell her to get out. I got out as well and didn't pay him either, even though he offered a "gamot ti mana sou" to me as well. The 3,000 year old woman found another taxi, hopefully one that refrained from chain-smoking to avoid a collapse of her lungs and who did not threaten to "gamot to mana" tis. I walked to the metro and vowed to take as few taxis as possible from then on.

Flubberwinkle said...

I always carry a lighter with me as a lightweight flashlight in case of emergencies. These two were a couple, BOTH smoked and they didn't even have a single match amongst them? Tsk,tsk.

On a serious note, however, Greece is hell for non-smokers. Greeks are oxygen hogs and we have a very long way to go until we change our attitudes.

p.s. I'd have gone into Plaisio to look around the gadgetry, dally with laptops on display and search the nice-price DVDs.

melusina said...

Joanna, luckily I haven't had to take too many cab rides here in Greece, so I haven't yet encountered the smoke out taxi driver yet. We pretty much always took the Metro when we were in Athens, because my husband HATES taking taxis in Athens. I've encountered other asshole-cabbie behavior though. I can't believe he said that to an old woman though. What happened to respect for your elders? Not in a cab driver.

Flubberwinkle, I said to my husband maybe I should start carrying a lighter so I can talk to more people. But then, I wouldn't have wanted to end up in a conversation about cigarettes. I didn't want to go in Plaisio because we had just been there and I hate going there when we don't have money except for the exact item we went there to buy. =p