We dine for the last time together with the aikidokas in Pireus. We drink, we talk, we form ever stronger connections. Tomorrow will be the last classes of aikido before we head out of Pireus and into Arcadia, where new adventures await.
I don’t want to go. It’s not that I don’t look forward to taking new steps on the wild ride that is my trip to Greece. It’s just that the mood and spirit of the trip so far has been so great, and I’ve just started to get to know some really fantastic people. I don’t want to leave it at that. Still, the evening is pleasant and I really enjoy myself.
Going back to the hotel, we get an offer to go out for more drinks with some of the Greeks. The ever unstoppable Marthe jumps in their car as a matter of course, although she ends up going with them on her own. Most of the gang is exhausted and head off to bed. Me and Jan feel like having one more beer and a quiet conversation just to handle the impressions so far. There’s just been so much going on that we both feel it’s a bad idea to go straight to bed while our hearts and minds are still spinning from trying to cope with it all. We don’t want to relay on transportation to get back as we fear we would have to stay out longer than we want. This leaves us with choosing from one of the bars within walking distance again.
Jan was at this place yesterday that he says wasn’t quite as bad as the others, so we head there. Stepping up to the bar, we try working together as a team to try to fend off the local sirens that, one by one, come up to us, tries to start a conversation and then asks for drinks.
“No, we don’t want company.”
“No, we aren’t buying you a drink.”
“Nice to meet you. You look like a nice girl. Now go away.”
In about fifteen minutes we have cleared an area around us and the bar has nearly run out of girls from various parts of the world to head in our direction. We go back to our own conversation as it turns out there is still one girl that has not tried her luck yet.
She starts out, just like the others, by asking us where we are from and how we like it in Greece. Our answers are polite, but guarded, as we block her path to the bar just in case she tries to order a drink on our behalf.
This girl just doesn’t let up. She constantly demands answers to why we don’t want to buy her a drink. She wants to know if we don’t think she is pretty. If we don’t think she is good company. If perhaps there is something wrong with us for not liking her. Me and Jan start getting a bit tired of this.
“Go away, I am trying to talk with my boyfriend.”
Jan tries feigning homosexuality to try to convince her that she just won’t get her way with us. She does not buy into it.
“Ah, but that just mean that you are friends. You still liking woman, sir. You still liking me. No?”
I try to follow up on Jan’s lead.
“No, seriously. Piss off. I want to have a private conversation with my lover.”
Her smile turns upside down in an instant.
“No! You is gay?! You do the sexing with men?! That wrong! You shouldn’t be doing gay like that! What wrong with you?!”
She then suddenly regains her composition and her smile. Still not giving up, she tries a new approach.
“Must be something wrong with your dick for not liking woman. That okay. Come with me. I can fix that.”
She then slaps my crotch. That’s it for me. I am not going to tolerate her continued presence any more. I straighten my back and stand up by the chair, looking her straight into her eyes and giving her my full and undivided attention.
“You know what we saying things like that back in my country?”
“We call it bigotry.”
She probably does not know what the word even means, but that is besides the point. It is the intention and energy behind my verbal attack that counts. She draws her breath to reply. I wait until she has just filled her lungs and is going to say something. I deliver my next attack in that very moment, blocking whatever she was going to say before it comes out.
I enter into the rhythm of her breathing. Timing my taunts so that her intakes of breath guides the energy in a way that creates openings for my verbal attacks and at the same time blocking her attempts to retort. It’s just like practicing swordplay. If my timing was this good every time I held a sword, though, I guess there would be no point in practicing any more.
The girl is actually reeling a bit backwards now, as if I had slapped her face. I am guessing that this is the kind of person that will explode with rage if she sees any chance to do so. To avoid this, I do not let up until it looks like she has surrendered completely. Seeing her taking steps away from me and averting her eyes, looking for a way to escape, I stop. I avert my own gaze slightly so that I am now looking at her left chin i stead of her eyes, leaving her a small opening to face me without having to endure my glare.
“Okay, I leave now.”
She turns around. I can finally talk to Jan without new girls interrupting our conversation. Talking, we finish our drinks and head out into the pleasantly warm night to walk the 100 meters back to our hotel.
Just as we are about to cross the street to enter the hotel, a taxi screeches to a halt in front of us, blocking our path. The driver has the window on the passenger side rolled all the way down and is leaning over to shout to us, even though we are just a couple of steps away from him.
“This is no good area for girls! It’s no good here! I know this great place just a couple of streets away! Great girls! You can party all night! Get in the car and I’ll take you!”
“WE DON’T WANT ANY GIRLS!!!”
Me and Jan shout our reply in unison. The taxi driver looks a bit confused.
We are damned sure and we let the taxi driver know this. He takes off. We finally go to bed at the hotel.