16 April 2008

parking corfu-style

I like driving in Corfu more 'n' you

I'm driving down the main Kondokali road and my mother is with me and she's talking about this or that and I'm not listening, and we stop at the lights. I'm not paying attention except to the lights because I hate it when I delay by 0.75 seconds to go and she says 'green'. I hate that. I'm certainly not heeding what's going on in the mirror.

Until suddenly I am.

40 years I've been driving so I expect I've become used to the speed of cars coming up in the mirror when I'm stationary. Something about the car heading my way that jarrs with my 40-yr memory of how cars usually approach.

My mother is gabbing on but I'm watching this car. It's not going fast but it's going too fast to slow and stop in a conventional way.

The profile of the driver's head against the back window is odd - it's wobbling and waving and he doesn't seem to be in charge.

I'm far enough back from the car ahead to be able to turn the Nissan right and onto the parking strip just to the right of me. This I do, suddenly and fast so my mother asks me what the heck I'm doing. As I scoot out, the car behind just clips my rear right fender as it careens into the van in front.

I get out with my camera to snap the scene and the head-lolling driver is suddenly looking OK. Shaken but ok, as if his head was never lolling and as if he never came up on me too fast to make sense.

The van driver gets out and the two look at the damage before looking at me.

"Why'd you move?" demands the van driver. "Yeah, what're you doing suddenly leaving the road like that?" glowers the head loller.

"To avoid you hitting me?" I ask. "Better you clout this tough van than my cardboard toy car." This in my halting Greek, so now they know I'm fair game. I mean, by all the poems of Telesilla! Bloody foreigner can't stay in place? He has the affrontery to avoid impact and thus causes the cars of honest sons of Spiridon to bump and crash?? Cheek!

This little chat went on for a while and there was a bizarre element to it: didn't I see that if everyone suddenly zipped out of line and mounted the pavement, accidents could happen. What if there'd been a child playing right there? A venerable hag tottering by? Suppose there'd been another car there?

By this time my mother had joined us and added her more fluent fish wife accents, including references to the health (for which read sobriety) of the loller. Just what the Greeks love - arguments.

Posted by Picasa

No comments :