On a late summer afternoon in a hotel lobby in Athens, I sat waiting for the heat of the day to abate before I stroll alongside the marina. I've been going there late in the day to hear the harmonious sounds of a sail catching wind and the gush of bleeding froth from the scarred face of the sea. Relaxing in a corner, I was watching people go by. Eager fresh bodies coming to Greece to bask in the sun and laze on her sandy beaches. Tired long faces burdened with the insipidity of personal lives or the stink of business deals gone rotten. The banal display of emotions and the happiness and misery of total strangers filled me with a foreboding loneliness. I have learned a long time ago that I am most lonely when I am in the middle of a crowd. However, I have come not only to accept but to embrace my solitude as a trusty friend and entertaining companion. My eyes were deciphering the flickering images and sending them to my brain, saturating it like a sponge with forming notions. I was ripe to write. A seemingly innocuous apparition can trigger an avalanche of words. A sexy and rotund butt for instance would toss me in bed after midnight. I would strew the words into an improbable script, wrap it around my nakedness and scribble it in between the folds of the white sheets. Yet wickedness has its own iniquitous way of stirring me as well, of shaking me up considerably and forcing me to venture into the realm of the damned. And, this is the turn my mind took in Athens.
The sliding doors split open admitting a whiff of suffocating and sticky air into the cool lobby. In walked a man of the cloth, a thirty something years old Greek Orthodox priest, dressed in mourning black from head to toe, beard uncouth, eyebrows hawkish and ugly features wreaking of oppression and hoariness. He eyed the patrons haughtily half expecting them perhaps to kneel in reverence and servitude. I was, I suspected, the only one who took notice of his presence and in no uncertain way he was aware of that too. He stood in the middle of the vast hall waiting for something to happen.
Does he have an appointment with God, I wondered. Well, there was a bunch of cute North American chicks with supple white legs and full swaying breasts gathered in one corner. Take a look Hideous Father, may be something would stir under that sooty robe of yours. Or what about the middle aged couple there, huddled so close and holding hands, afraid of wasting a single moment away from each other. Perhaps they can teach you a thing or two about the love you never knew. Nah, my day was destined to be ruined completely when an older bowed priest followed in. The wear and tear of years have turned his hair and beard into one giant white broom. The miserable sexagenarian hurried without vacillation toward the repulsive younger cleric then.... then for God's Sake bent down and kissed his hand.
God's obsession with robes and uniforms and his distaste for nudity and permissiveness are fascinating and intriguing divine aspects to my humble mind. What went wrong after he created us nude and sexy and made him change his conviction? Why does he want women to dress like sacks of potatoes and men like idiots? What about his fetish with hair? Why does he insist that women should cover their heads?
What if a woman shave her hair? Does she still have to hide her scalp? Is the top of her head too erotic for innocuous men not to get wild and ejaculate in the middle of the street? But most importantly is the question about the differences and the common ground between all the major religions. Why do they vary so much in the definition of the divine being to the point of being fully contradictory to each other while they, by and large, agree about oppressing women, limiting sex, rationing pleasure and forbidding certain practices? Was it an inherent design fault that slipped the mind of God? Didn't he consider that a woman's butt might prove too attractive to a horny man? Was woman in her present glory and allure an unfortunate accident? Did he intend her to be a utilitarian reproduction machine, a closed Dodge Van of a sort, but instead ended up with a Red Hot Ferrari?
These questions and many more were never in fact directed to God by me. They are, however, intended for the dimwits who have been meddling with our ethos over at least the last two millennia. As I disgustingly observed an older man bowing and kissing the hand of a younger one I couldn't help but reminisce that the Greek Orthodox are not the only ones promoting hierarchy and advocating the inherent favoritism of God. The Catholic Church is notoriously imbecilic in its public and secret practices. Jewish Rabbis and Muslim Sheikhs (and now as if we didn't have enough tomfools the new wave of Muslim Sheikhas: Priestesses even if they vehemently deny being so) are as guilty as their Christian colleagues in their thirst and quest for earthly power on account of their special ties with “upstairs”.
A gentle westerly wind stirred the leaves in the trees of Athens as I walked by the marina. It was still quite hot and muggy but the young men and women knew how to undress properly for the weather. They gingerly exposed their suntanned bodies for the seagulls, the boats and for me to see. Some of which were pretty hot babes but amazingly I didn't jump anyone. I stood at the edge of the breakwater watching the sun disappears behind the masts. It took the Greeks a little longer than their European neighbors to give their religious establishment the finger. How many years before the raucous wave crashes on our shores, I wondered. Not too long I know, for the winds of change are steadfastly blowing.