Πέμπτη, 1 Μαΐου 2008

Priorities


Remember how my little grandma's pension was brought to her home by a very nice man who expected cookies in return? Well apparently it also works the other way around. The other day I got a phone call from the local equivalent of AAA. It was time to renew my 6-month subscription. Could their employee come to collect the fee Tuesday morning?

What about wiring the money? How about sending them a check? Credit card, anyone? Nope. Their employee was there the next morning, explaining that if I had any grievances, he would report them to his office. No phone calls, no complicated forms to fill out. He handed me a handwritten receipt and wished me a happy Easter. [The Greek Orthodox Easter was on April 27th, by the way.]

The personal touch, I guess. Although I cannot help wondering about what this sort of personal service does to their expenses/benefits margin, I have to admit it was rather pleasant to have everything taken care of for me. Plus, the guy was cute, for once. I was almost tempted to report a complaint to keep him there longer.

But on to our subject: priorities.

The other day my grandma and I were watching the “news” on one of her favorite channels. The presenter had invited a physiognomy specialist and for roughly ½ an hour they proceeded to analyze in details the wrinkles and eyebrows of various Greek politicians.

According to the specialist, triangular eyebrows were indicative of an acute mind and very common amongst politicians. [I tried in vain to remember whether Bush’s eyebrows matched the description.]

Laugh lines that continued below the cheeks and framed the chin were a good sign, apparently indicating a good and jolly nature. [This was used to describe a politician who stole millions from Greece – I shall not name him, because every Greek will come up with a different name.]

The “news” thus passed rather entertainingly, until it was time for a news update about a missing person in a remote area of Greece. The news correspondent had barely started explaining that the 25-year-old missing woman was now presumed dead, when the presenter started looking at his watch. The correspondent started explaining that 3 persons, including a woman, were being held under suspicion of the 25-year-old’s murder, when the presenter rudely interrupted him and said it was time to move on to something else.

Outraged, I switched channels.

Unfortunately, the next program showed an incensed citizen who described how the city of Piraeus (a part of Athens, kind of the Athenian version of Marina Del Rey, I guess) had spent 2.5 million euros on Christmas decorations while trash was accumulating in the streets because of… budget restraints.

But hey, maybe they saved a ton of money by not buying any Christmas trees: instead, they probably just decorated the piles of garbage in the streets.

See? 2.5 million for decorations, but not a cent to spare on trash rotting in the streets.
1/2 hour for the eyebrows of public personalities – perfectly normal. ½ a minute for a murdered woman – too long.

It’s good to know where Greek priorities lie.

But on a positive note, the Greek TV channel liked my script (especially the dialog, apparently!) and asked me to make a few changes. They are currently reviewing my rewrite, so keep your fingers crossed and wish for me that:

a) They pay me a decent amount of money
b) They let me direct the episode I wrote!!

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SOME FEEDBACK ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER:

Christophe N:

Énorme ! J'espère que tes priorités sont rangées différemment !

Corey Z:

FINGERS ARE CROSSED!!!

It does pain me to know that Greek priorities are only slightly higher than American ones (instead of significantly higher)... Here, we'd get the 30 minutes on eyebrows, and then a 2 hour nightly special about the dead woman, how she was murdered, a reenactment of the murder with closeups of blood flying across the screen... ;) Seriously, though, good luck with the script!! I have a feeling it's going to work out perfectly for you!

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