a little lesson from my father

I haven’t seen my father in over two years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about him all the time.  He’s a very brilliant and accomplished man, but also the type to overwhelm you with his expectations, which are almost impossible to meet.  So I spent my childhood (and let’s be honest, my adulthood too) kind of in awe of him.

Newspapers, radio news programs, and television news always wanted to interview him about various things:  as the expert in his field, getting an interview with him was valuable to them.  But he always turned them down.

“Never talk to the media,” he told me, when I was about twelve, in his way of giving us advice decades before we could possibly have any reason to use it.

He had been interviewed once, I think in the ’70s, and his words were quoted in such a way that they seemed to say the opposite of what he actually meant to say.  It was something as bizarre as him saying “I do not agree with this” and the paper quoting “I do… agree with this.”  He wrote a letter to the editor and that was the end of his involvement with the media.

I think it’s good advice.  With all the drivel coming out of the media about Greece – drivel I’m in a prime position to identify confidently as drivel, rather than ‘suspected drivel,’ or even ‘possible drivel’ – remembering my father’s advice makes me feel even more strongly that no one writes without bias, and many people are not above altering facts, quotations, even photographs to make the point that they want to make.  Suppressing different opinions is one of the obvious signs of this.

My bias is the following:  I love Greece deeply.  I started wanting to live in Greece when I was still a pre-teen.  I am married to a Greek man who is very accomplished and competent, and has none of the negative qualities assigned to Greeks by the media.  I am not blind to the bad things in Greece.  I have broken down in tears when dealing with the Greek bureaucracy.  The Greek government has reduced my husband’s full time wage yet again, to 588 euros/month, which is not enough to live on, and yet somehow we live on – these are not blindly pro-Greece concepts.  I don’t have an urge to ‘sugarcoat’ things to make Greece look better.  But I have natural optimism and years of experience living here and I feel very strongly that the Greeks I’ve had the pleasure of knowing are not ‘bad seeds.’  I will call b.s. where I see it, and I see it all the time, but I will not contribute to the stereotyping and generalizing trend in the media response to the Greek crisis.  My bias, and as my readers you deserve to know this, is love.

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the island

I met my husband on a tiny, remote Greek island, where he had been posted by the Greek public schools to teach.  The island has a registered population of around 700 residents, but in winter, it’s closer to 200.  After we were married, I moved to the island and we lived there for about a year before moving to the city where we live now.

The experience of living on the island was special, full of challenges, peaceful, and at times frustrating.  While we’ve been off the island for about 9 months now, we’ve been focusing so much on our new home here in the city that we haven’t had much time to think about the island.  Nevertheless, once in a while, I remember the island fondly.

~.:.~

The island folds in on us with its heavy body, sea and air push us toward the rock’s interior, buffetted along the exposed ridge or under the hidden watered glade, around a threshing floor and over saffron and sage bushes.

 Caper berries drizzle over your feet and a tossing palm decants a lengthy cat onto the white wall.  A limestone face watches over the young dead and the rampant rosemary, witness to the colonization of an asphalt parking lot and an electric hum.

A lamed donkey admires the unreachable dandelion and lowers its head. A ball bounces on concrete and boys’ voices echo off the low rock wall.  A motorbike comes up from the port, sputters to a stop, and leans into the glittering road.

Three more sunbeams sneak behind the great white church, dipping into the charcoal sea.