«Listen to see! He fell and killed himself. But he is well now»



ceremonial battle on the beach 0


Oh readers… I had in my mind something very ready to write and I wanted it to be something serious. I had been thinking of it all the week. But then Friday evening came and it was the time to write it but I couldn’t write it. I was jumping around (*) the computer. I can’t write serious stuff on Friday evenings. Even if I am in coool Ikaria and I’m believed to chill out here, my body clock keeps working in the same way as if I was at work in the city. I can’t put myself in a serious mood on a Friday evening !

(*) jump around the computer: ceremonial battle between my legs and my brain, the two organs of my body which I think most important. When I get old and before I die, I hope I loose one of the two: either the ability to think or the ability to walk. NOT BOTH ! Anyway this ceremonial battle usually takes place when I am ready to write something but eventually I’m going to write about something else !

(it has started… the deconstruction of my English has started… read below…..)

ceremonial battle on the beach 1


Hence, I’m going to write funny stuff and the funniest stuff today for me is the Greek spoken language 🙂
Here is a casual conversation between two men in the supermarket this morning. I’m transcribing it word by word in English:

– Fuck you!
– Eeehh…
– What?
– I fell and killed myself.
– You fell and killed yourself ! Well, weren’t you careful?
– I was careful but that branch was rotten and it broke suddenly.
– So you killed yourself…
– Eeeeh…
– Fuck you !
– Baahh… No problem. It’s nothing.
– But you…, you killed yourself here.
– Mmmm…
– Listen to see (sic), did you go to the doctor?
– Baaahh… The doctor is not here.
– Aaaahh… fuck.
– Oh, don’t worry. I didn’t kill myself badly.
– Listen to see (sic), you have to look at this.
– Oh..
– What «oh», fuck you?
– Listen to see (sic), you, how many times have you fallen and killed yourself? Remember that time when you killed yourself and you cut off your hand (!!!) ? Fuck you, all that blood… fuck me!
– Ok, so get well soon. Do you go to work?
– Eeeehh…
– Mmmmm… Bye now. We say them…*
– Bye. We say them…*

(*) «We say them» = «ta leme» = we will talk/meet again = seeyah

ceremonial battle on the beach 3


Unlike Ancient Greek which was a very logical language (or that at least we are taught at school), the spoken modern Greek is a «figurative language». It works with sounds, images and descriptions, simulations and metaphors. So, someone who has «killed himself» IS NOT someone who has committed suicide (therefore walks and talks around as a 😮 ghost), but someone who has had an accident. He fell flat on the ground (like dead), he was in pain and suffered and cried (like he was dying); maybe also he broke a few bones or he bled a lot (so he fainted and looked like dead).
Exaggeration? Poetic lisence? Metaphor? Hysteria? Easy drama? I dunnow… Go ask the experts.
– Ah, Eleni ! Your brother just killed himself !
– Don’t tell me !
– He cut off his hand !
– Oh, he is very clumsy. Give him to me on the phone. Let me talk to him.
This is from a telephonical conversation between my grandmother and her sister in law about a slight injury of her husband. I was in the same room and I 😛 panicked ! I undestood that my old uncle first killed himself, then he got up (!) and he cut off his own hand (!) but it was all right, all that happened just because he was a bit clumsy. My grandmother was going to say to him (to the one-handed ghost of him) a few words of comfort and …no problem ! I spoke Greek very well at the time but I had no idea how Greek really worked.
NOTE: MY eNGLISH iS DEteriOrATinG WOnderFULLy. It’s breaking down very fast. I’ll soon be writing in a jargoon I shall name «ethnic Greek». I won’t say for instance, «How are you?» but «What you do?» and instead of «may I?» and «Can I?», I’ll say «Give me that, please». Oh and speakin of the word «please», once I asked a nice young girl why she never said «please» to anybody. «Oh yes, I do«, she replied. «I say ‘please’ many times. For example, when I am angry at someone…»!
(I’m finishing this in my 🙂 new ethinc lingo)

ceremonial battle on the beach 4


HAVE GOOD HEALTH (Γειά σας) GOOD SATURDAYSUNDAY (καλό Σαββατοκύριακο) TAKE CARE (να προσέχετε) NOT TO FALL AND KILL YOURSELVES (να μη πέσετε και σκοτωθείτε). 🙂
(And so will I. We have the «mizzle» here in Ikaria. So mystic. Oh yes, my friend Jimmy. It’s a remote, remote island. But …not uninhabited. In the bars they are laughing and singing. It’s Friday evening here too. For a part of the world also it’s Easter.)

[pictures by Zelda ❤ ]



(12 total)

thanks Eleni. You have made me feel good for two reasons reading this. One, it was funny and I laughed. Two, it made me realise why I am struggling to learn Greek! Now I feel much better…..!! Happy (English)Easter!

Friday April 14, 2006 – 11:30pm (BST)

«jump around the computer: ceremonial battle..» actually a dance and the only dance that my friend Eleni masters to perfection. I have seen it ! I have seen it ! I’m one of the very few lucky ones who have seen this ! «Oh great god Manitu, great god Manitu !»
No wonder it was so rainy in Ikaria this year -;))
* * *

Saturday April 15, 2006 – 09:08pm (EEST)

let me the pedantic add up to this madness:
«Skotono» (σκοτώνω, to kill) is a new Greek word. It derives from «skotadi» (σκοτάδι or «σκότος» in ancient Greek as well as in the language of the church) which means «darkness». So to kill someone is to «send someone to darkness».
Bravo, Eleni ! Greek is a figurative language andmany of what others would call «figures of speech» in Greek they are real words with a meaning. This is probably the secret of its survival through the centuries though spoken by a very small population surrounded by so great and influential language cultures such as Slav, Arabian, Turkish and the Hispano-Italian. «Images» = ICONES (actually meaning «conceptions», «reflections»)
Bravo Eleni ! You exposed yourself against a rough place, a rough culture, a rough language and everyhting now is «images». With respect, esteem, love e.t.c. and with the best humanly possible sense of the word … «fuck you» !!!


kafeneio Ikaria

Saturday April 15, 2006 – 10:56pm (EEST)

-> Nana, I’m starting to think that you’ve seen too much. When I am rich, will you blackmail me? You shouldn’t. «Listen to see» : I’m naming you my biographer.
-> *fUck yOu* too, ol man ! «Me skotoses» (in the best metaphorical sense of the word) But of course and as usual I didn’t say anything very original.

Sunday April 16, 2006 – 04:26am (PDT)

the ikarian way

How many things I’m learning about Greece and her talking (but invisible 😉 people! Thank to you all for feeding my curiosity. I appreciate very much the prof. AKK lessons too… but another curiosity screams in my mind: why do you the both, invite one each other to fuck himself? Is this another typical ikarian supermarket conversation form? I wanted to feel myself ikarian since long time and I will start with this tipical ikarian way to say «hallo», so dear friends fuck you to everybody.
Am I ikarian enough?

Sunday April 16, 2006 – 10:37pm (CEST)

Who’s talking? Wasn’t you who posted that wonderful comment (your 1st or 2nd?) in entry: «sunshine and chat» (Feb 22) ?
Why are you pretending you are not «ikarian» now, *fuck you*?
Ok, seriously now, I don’t think the «face» cult leads anywhere. We are too old to pose, anyway. We can do better than that, I suppose. We can *imagine* and THIS IS THE IKARIAN WAY (may replace «ikarian» with any placename under the sun, may be this a place of your heart…)
I personaly like Guangazilo too. This is supposed to be in Amerique Meridionale. It’s not in any map. People there say «fuck you» and kiss each other «good morning». They are as rough and as affectionate as my Ikarians. The Guaganzilians are half Latinos, half Indians.
Now ReAllY seriously, the *fuck you* story besides a language lesson, was an initiation to a very liberating process called «dis-guilt» or «dis-criminalisation» (there are many other terms for that). This is something that those who have stayed in Greece long enough, know very well. It’s not rudeness. It’s endurance. Moreover, it’s a plea to have patience. We are passengers in this world. *Fuck us*  😛  🙂

loukoumades panigiri Ikaria

Monday April 17, 2006 – 08:35am (PDT)

That’s cute Elle. Seems like island talk. In Hawaii the bruddas and sistahs have their own lingo, a «pidgeon» language, a mix of native Hawaiian and English, and a haole («howl-lee», white person) can hardly understand it. My brother and I used to have convervsations like «fuck you» «no fuck you» «OK fuck you too» «yeah well, fuck you very much» «yeah see you later, fuck you very much too» «OK fuck you next time» A friend of mine does not like me to use that word too much, says it loses its impact, should be reserved for when you mean it. I think it has been absorbed into the everyday lexicon. We’re all potty mouths these days.

Monday April 17, 2006 – 11:47am (PDT)

this is exactly the idea: «our-own creole» and it works. Thanks for understanding. I wasn’t sure if anyone would, when I put this out. In the same supermarket on a different date, there was a woman from Athens who overheard that kind of talk and later she dragged me from the sleeve and asked: «These people are rude and they hate each other. They seem to think only of how to insult each other. They must hate each other’s guts ! How do you, such a nice woman, manage?»

Tuesday April 18, 2006 – 05:27am (PDT)

…about imagination I forgot to thank you, my friend, for the stories you tell us from such a world. Images springs like flowers in springtime. «Listen to see», and I listen to you and I see. No pictures needed.

Wednesday April 19, 2006 – 02:16am (CEST)

It’s all right, man. It’s just that I’m not a good photojournalist. Don’t act insecure ’cause you are not. Relax. «Listen to see» my stories. You are one of my 7 stars.
Wednesday April 19, 2006 – 04:33am (PDT)


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