There’s always the sun…

Thank God for the unseasonably good weather. Although it looks like the freakishly fair conditions won’t last, I’m pretty sure that the crisis, and its attendant miseries, would be much harder to bear without the obstinately present Athens sun. One morning this week, I grabbed my purse, put on my headphones and set off to do some errands. My hurried pace slackened into a stroll under the warm rays of a distinctly spring-like day. Suddenly the fate of my scant savings, my mortgage, and even my job didn’t seem of such pressing concern. The mounds of trash stacked up against overflowing garbage dumpsters didn’t look as miserable as they would have done under a gray sky. The neighborhood cats nosing through the refuse in search of scraps and basking on doorsteps appeared positively blissful. In cafes, elderly men sat in the pose favored by many senior citizens: legs stretched wide open, clicking away at worry beads. A group of younger men sat at one table, eyeing up female pedestrians carrying bags of groceries purchased from local stores. Thankful that some Athens neighborhoods have preserved their traditional flavor, I cast my mind back to the early 2000s when the dream of prosperity was still alive. Unfortunately that dream peaked with the Olympic Games in 2004 – an extravaganza that only added to the country’s ballooning debts. Arriving home after my errands, in a much better mood than when I’d left, I switched on the television to check the news. Apart from some noises of encouragement by a visiting European commissioner, there was nothing of great interest. Looking for something lighter, I changed channels – always a mistake, I have learned. An overdressed presenter and a posse of commentators were giggling hysterically in a brashly colored studio adorned with glitter and baubles. Apart from reminding me that Christmas is imminent, the spectacle also stirred another, less cheering, thought. Watching the presenter and her guests appraise a rack of skimpy outfits that «men like to see on women who are not their wives,» I wondered what the going rate was for a panel parasite. I’m sure it’s much higher than the wages of hundreds of employees at private firms that are getting the ax or working double shifts to cover for sacked colleagues. Switching off the TV, I got dressed, put my headphones back on and set off for the office. Inspired by the gorgeous weather, no doubt, the radio DJ had put on an old 80s track – «Always the Sun» by the Stranglers. It reminded me of better days but also of certain enduring injustices. As the song says: «Who gets to say? Who gets to work and who gets to play? I was always told at school, everybody should get the same.»

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