Wino With his Pants on Fire (Athens by Night)

greek hobo

Thursday 20 January 2000

Last night we (the cast of Agamemnon) all went out to eat again. That’s 3 times so far in a year. We are starting to have some kind of social life. There are places near the central meat market that are open all night and serve meat and more meat. I ain’t complaining. La specialite du maison is a soup called “Patsas” like Mexican menudo, tripe, cow stomach. It is popular with drunk people and they go there at 5 am after a hard night’s drinking. I have had it before, so I passed. The greeks, as do the Mexicans, believe that tripe is good for the stomach. (it is stomach. How homeopathic of them).

I saw a friend of mine, a photographer named Cleopatra on the street earlier and we rode the bus together. The taxis are on strike, God bless their pointy little simian heads. I didn’t know this when I set out for the theatre, thus it took me two hours to get there. No car in this town makes you an insect. Whee. It is so nice to see someone you know and like on the street in a city this big and strange. It made everything so much nicer. My usual bitchy “I hate all you fucking greeks” inner monologue was shut up and I felt good. I therefore played and acted well tonight in spite of the fact that it took 2 hours and 4 transfers from bus to bus to trolley (electric bus like san francisco) to the Metro (the one line.

The rest of the metro is supposed to open later this month. One other line at least. Wow! That only took 15 years. All financed by EU grants to try and bring poorer members up to standard. The greeks and the portugese (the poor relations of the EU) live for those EU grants from Germany,France, England, everywhere else with more money. Most of the money finds its way into politicians’ pockets, believe me.

The area around the meat market is actually great. It is old and very very prole. I hope they don’t globalize everything and make it look like America. Once down there I saw a wino with his pants on fire. He was sitting over a fire in a cardboard box to keep warm. He just caught fire. He didn’t care. He continued shouting abuse at invisible enemies in between swigs from his handy wino size bottle of whatever it is they drink. I think retsina is still popular with the winos here. I could be mistaken. It is for sale at all the periptera, the ubiquitous kiosks that line the sidewalks here and make life possible outside the arcane and stupid opening hours of the shops here. An enormous fat prostitute bought a bottle of water from said kiosk and put him out.

What a sight on a cold winter's night. Right out of Fellini.

Author: Blaine L. Reininger

Blaine L. Reininger was born July 10, 1953 in Pueblo, Colorado. Then he lived a life. By and by, he founded Tuxedomoon with Steven Brown in 1977. He traipsed around America, tuxedomooning until 1980, when he began to traipse around Europe. As a direct result of all of this traipsing, many musical compositions were composed, most of which found their way to some sort of mechanical device capable of reproducing musical compositions. This was mostly for the good. He now lives in Athens, Greece, where he is content.

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