Imagine this: you have a few errands and you need to go into town to get them done. You have a rough estimate as to how long it will take you to do it all, right? I’m sure you do because progress is based on estimation. A half hour lost in one place is gained further down with the next errand. Now please forget about all that if you live in Crete. All of it.
You see when we go into town several things are sure to happen to us and all estimation about getting a job done are thrown out the window. In Crete we do things a bit differently. We are bred to stop and talk to every person we know; friends or acquaintances. Not some chit chat but a full conversation that covers places we might have visited and explored, work, the weather, our kids, their school, our crazy relatives, religion, the economy and of course politics. This can go on for a good 20 minutes before we part, making promises of a proper catch up, and by that I mean to sit down and discuss in greater detail all the above while dressed up for a night out having a drink and maybe complaining how expensive or not the drink is till you are exhausted talking.
Now consider the next person we meet while trying to get our first errand done. Again we stop and the conversations on the same topics ensue but the content changes because the person has changed. Another 20 minutes pass. We begin to panic a little but in the back of our mind we start to prioritise what is most important to do on the day. This gives us some peace. Then we bump into the next person. A small sense of urgency make us talk through the subjects a bit faster than the previous people but always with the promise of a proper catch up maybe some other day on a night out or with a long lunch on a Sunday. We feel we have won a small battle until we see the next person. The entire thing needs delicacy on how we dodge the less relevant topics while we take a few steps forward in order to show the urgency of our purpose. We part again with promises of a meet up thinking we’ve escaped the worst of it… but no. You see the next person that comes to talk to us now needs to become our champion and either follow us to where we have to go because it is now dangerously near closing time for most businesses or we just start to apologise a few times that it’s not them but time that is pressing on our side as a sense of real panic takes over. Hopefully the person understands and doesn’t think it was something they said or did. And we begin to walk a lot faster…
We are so close to our destination and feel victorious when we get the first errand done. Our confidence builds up and we speed up to the next errand while we kind of pretend we are preoccupied with some papers we’re holding because we can see from afar another person we know. A few items are still on the list. We almost convince ourselves we can finish it off in one day. The exhilaration is almost certain. So we begin to build a strategy and think of all the places or cafes we might bump into a friend and try to avoid them. We have to act fast and maybe cross off one more item from the list. Now this is the most crucial moment. Closing business hours means lunch time. Lunch time means food.
Food means seeking a delicious bite to eat. If we are lucky to get away with that last item on the to-do list then it’s a successful day. But you see destiny has other plans for us. Our friends love us and they show it. So when they see us from afar and they are eating or having a drink you know it is all over. Whatever was left on the list to be done needs to be allocated for another day because it is certain we are going to get an invite to sit down to eat with them. Our stomach might be complaining in hunger too working against us. The food always looks good also which doesn’t help. So we succumb to our fate and all of a sudden whatever stress we felt washes off us like water and the hilarious thing about the whole affair is our friends complain they didn’t get all their errands done because they bumped into so many people they talked to also… but I love it. Because my soul feels happy that I’ve spoken to people I love even though an errand or two might need my attention the next day. We have a great sense of sociability, friendship and belonging than any other place I have visited in my life time and that me gives me hope that our sense of humanity is very strong on a planet so full of individuality.
The Terra Creta explorer