On the persistence of the local breed of prat
April 14, 2011 § 8 Comments
Every nation has its prats, and the Mediterranean, via Italy, has given the broad, generous, diverse United States one of its most celebrated varieties of prats: the guido. I can now report that the Greeks have their own variety of prat. He resembles the guido, only he wears more black and his shoes are not as carefully selected.
The hotel where I am staying is occupied, in the WiFi-enabled lobby, all day by a tremendous rotating population of these prats. As I sit here, I am surrounded by five. They are all young and beefy, though in a soft and not thoroughly exercised way, in sporty athletic gear, with short hair slicked up, several of them playing loud music on their laptops at the same time. On my word, one is engrossed in a Phil Collins song. None seems to own any earphones but given the noted kindness of the inhabitants of the country perhaps they would not dream of hogging their Phil Collins.
The other day one was looking for hours at the same YouTube videos of Lamborghinis, with very noisy soundtracks, over and over.
So far, if you can believe it, I have seen no women who do this.
When I was on a student trip to Greece, about 15 years ago, during my time at NYU, we had a Greek woman serve us for a tour guide. She rode the bus with us for several days, after we fired our previous tour guide for being a liar who invented historical facts, such as that the Greeks had invented writing, and claimed several times that the Turks were to blame for everything.
Our second guide was thin, with russet colored hair carefully shaped into an immobile chin-length bob. She wore clothes in shades of rust and black, and she had enormous sunglasses that hid half her face. She had a funereal air and spoke in a precise, strained English, clutching the bus microphone close to her mouth, still and straight as a kore but without its smile.
As we drove through the sunny Greek countryside, I recall that in the middle of nowhere she suddenly announced, “In the Greek villages you will see many men sitting or standing around all day, having cups of coffee. Where are the women?” She looked mechanically left and right as if to seek the women.
“They are working.”