How old Greek gentlemen can learn us something about the romantique, poetique art of charming and contacting somebody you like. An unexpected experience at a boat ticket office.
It is still dark when I enter the ticket office at 6.00am in the morning. I am going by boat from Methana to Aigina to meet Lizzy, our webmaster, to work on our website. In the ticket office I find a friendly παππούς (grandfather) selling the tickets. I can leave the car in front of his office. He assures me to take care of the car and invites me to drink a cup of coffee with him upon returning in the afternoon.
It is twilight when I walk back to my car after a fruitful and tiring day, doubting if I’m in a coffee mood… At least I will thank the old man and wave a goodbye to him. As soon as he sees me he rushes out of his office and invites me urgently to sit in his tiny office. I’m surprised to see a nice, hot Greek coffee already prepared, waiting for me. Μέτριος, medium-sugar as I like it.
As I sit down he gives me a warm smile and expresses how happy he is to see me again. In a Greek poetic style he tells me: ‘You left but your face didn’t leave the office the whole day. You are such a sweet being. Do you like my coffee? I put all my love into it…’ I’m pleasantly surprised. 6.00am is not the time per se where one shows her best being…
We start some small talk and in between he keeps expressing how happy he is. Then he jumps up, reaches to a shelf behind him and gives me a little bag with fresh oregano, freshly picked basil and a pink rose, with a lovely smell. Upon giving it to me he makes several crosses whispering some holy words. I’m overwhelmed by such unexpected admiration and care.
Of course he tries to find out if I’m married, have children, if I want to visit him more often etc. He gives his telephone number, in case I want to find out more about the boats…;-). He tries in a very polite way to get my number which I kindly, in an indirect way avoid. Something I had to learn in Greece as a straightfoward Dutch woman. Not a bluntly no but a vaguely moving around, which they understand very well. He takes it as a real Greek gentleman. Staying open hearted and positive.
It is a while ago I experienced this old Greek poetic way of expressing one’s feelings, the play to charm, seduce and giving colour to daily life .
I’m touched and so happy they stil exist. Poetic, romantic, caring men who give their best and take a no with pride and just the right distance.