Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lazy Day But Excellent News

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We slept in this morning, but after breakfast, by about 10:00, we were ready for the day. We decided to walk the six blocks to the sea. We passed the church of Sts. Kosmas and Damianos, where a sprinkler was watering the lawn and a crow was enjoying the shower. Across the street from the church is a waterfront park and where you can buy refreshments. We sat at the table nearest the sea, in the shade. Demetrios had an espresso lungo, and I had a vissinada, cherry juice from black cherries. Demetrios brought along his book. He’s still reading Descartes. That is, he has finished the actual work, plus the introduction, and now is reading a section in which Descartes replies to various objections to his theories. Demetrios read and I knitted.

The waitress came by after a while to remove our empty dishes, and when she glanced down into my lap where my knitting was, she smiled and said, “Ah, bravo!”

I turned to Demetrios and asked him, “Why do I always get this reaction? Thomai praises me for knitting, Mena tells people, ‘She knits!’ and now the waitress says ‘Bravo!’ and in general, everybody seems to think very highly of the fact that I knit. Why is that?”

“Well, because you’re being productive. You aren’t just sitting around wasting time. Knitting shows you are being industrious.” Then after a moment, he added, “You know, I feel that way about it, too.”

REALLY? I remembered that the other day, I picked up my work just to try to do a row or two while we were waiting for I don’t remember what, and Demetrios smiled and said, “You don’t want to waste a moment, do you?” and I didn’t know what he was talking about.

Ha! For me, knitting is a hobby. It isn’t sitting around wasting time, but it IS sitting around having fun when perhaps I ought to be doing other things. In Greece, my fun is viewed as work; fancy that! Well, well, far be it from me to disillusion anybody.

“When I was a boy,” said Demetrios, “every stitch of clothing I wore, all the way through high school, was made at home by my mother and grandmother. But now that knitted things are available ready-made, knitting is something of a dying art in Greece, and people are pleased and happy to see it being preserved.”

We spent two hours by the sea, reading, knitting, watching the ships come in. Then on our way home, we stopped and had bougatsa for lunch. Well, I had. Demetrios had a *spanikopita.

After naptime, Demetrios said he would go to a favorite kafenion (coffee house) and sit and read there for a while. I said I’d stay home and catch up on housework.

He was gone a long time, over two hours, and when he arrived home, he said, “I have good news.”

“I’m always in the market for good news,” I said.

“This is very good news, excellent news.”

Litsa had her baby and it turned out to be twins? That would be good news. Ianna’s biopsy was repeated and a mistake was discovered and it turns out her breast tumor wasn’t malignant after all? Kostas won the lottery? Queen Elizabeth is coming to town We’re invited to spend a week with friends in Santorini?

“Okay, do tell! What is this fabulous news?”

“I now know where the unconscious is located in the brain!”

I must have looked blank, because he hastened to explain: “This is very big, huge! It has all sorts of implications concerning the memory, concerning schizophrenia… it reconciles all sorts of seemingly contradictory observations. It shows a link between the person (the soul) and the body. It means thoughts and emotions do not follow, one from the other, but both come from the same place. Many, many things now become clear. In fact, this is so to speak the centerpiece of all of psychoanalysis and psychiatry!”

“But you already told me years ago you had a complete theory.”

“Well, that’s the problem in this field. You think you have it all, only to discover you don’t. And you really have to have it all before you really understand any. I’m like Tantalos, condemned to have everything seemingly in reach, but when you reach for it, it moves. But this is truly huge. Nobody has ever understood this before, with this kind of clarity!”

So he spent the rest of the evening and night in a sort of euphoria, and hardly slept at all.


elizabeth said...

Having a new discovery / understanding like this is really exciting.

Knitting is a lost art and it is great that you do it. My Oma is 100 and still knits. The things she knits are my treasures.