Last Saturday, around 2:00 p.m.:
Beast: Is there a washing machine at our Airbnb in Hydra?
Foodie: I don’t think so. There’s also no WiFi. I hope that not a problem.
Beast: Well that’s really going to mess up all my high power business calls but I can live with that. But no washer means we will have to think carefully about what we pack.
Foodie: You’re not going to wear one pair of underwear for four days, like last year, and then rip them off?
Beast: Of course I will. It’s one less thing to pack on the way home.
Foodie: You know what? Let’s go to that vintage store on the corner and see if we can’t finally find you a Patagonia fleece. That will be so nice to take on the trip.
Beast: That’s very sweet but you know what? Look at all these shirts, these sweaters–I found one that I bought last year and it still has the tags on it–I just don’t think I need it.
Foodie: WOW! You’ve been talking about getting the perfect Patagonia fleece for years now. But I am very proud of you.
Ten minutes later, walking down our street:
Beast: It’s just that I know I’d walk into the store and buy one, even though it’s not the one that I want.
Foodie: But that’s why it’s good that I’ll be there. I’ll say no, because this is a gift, if it’s not the one I suspect you’re looking for. You want a highly patterned one, right?
Beast: That’s the thing. I don’t even know what I want. Does it zip up? Is it a pull-over? I saw a really boring grey one. Maybe that’s what I want.
Foodie: You want a really absurd one, don’t you? Patterned? Garish colours?
Beast: I just don’t need it.
Foodie: I’m so proud of you.
Seven minutes later, walking on Roncesvalles Ave.:
Beast: I think I want the grey one because it’s just a very average piece of clothing that a very rich stupid person would buy.
Five minutes later:
Beast: What about a remake of Solaris and–
Foodie: Oh I love the George Clooney one!
Beast: Have you even seen the Andrei Tarkovsky one?
Beast: Anyway in this remake, this one guy is so excited to see what sort of beautiful and sad thing the planet will fantastically project upon him. It’s all about lost love and ex-wives for everyone else but the only thing he gets are Patagonia fleeces.
Foodie: Let’s just go buy the fleece. How about that?
Beast: I don’t even want it.
Foodie: We’re going two weeks later than we normally do. It could get chilly at night. I usually just bring one pair of pants but this year maybe I’ll bring two. Can I bring one of your sweaters? They match the vibe I’m going for better than anything I have.
Beast: What’s the vibe?
Foodie: Uh, think Leonard Cohen in the ’60s when he lived on Hydra with Marianne. Think a shit load of white linen. And maybe an oatmeal-toned sweater.
Beast: I’ve got four.
Foodie: I can hardly wait! There will be a little running around in the Mani: I mean, the ruins of Nestor’s Palace in ancient Pylos, the ruins of ancient Messine, the caves of Diros, the archaeological museum in Sparta, the Patrick Leigh Fermor house, which is closed for renovations but I figure we can still wander around the grounds, and then Hydra is all about relaxing! Some hiking, some swimming, some writing, or at least I hope, maybe some watercolour painting. our airbnb has lots of outdoor terraces and I am going to Find Myself on one of them! “Villa Jason,” isn’t that magical?
Beast: Uh, wasn’t Jason married to Medea?
Foodie: Uh, yeah.
Beast: Well look how that turned out.
Flash forward to this morning and we are showered and groomed, included my bikini line–I whispered “this house is clean,” like the lady from Poltergeist, while inspecting my work.
More importantly, the Beast managed to pull together some great dinners this week and cleaned out the perishables in the fridge at the same time.
He made a fantastic leek and potato soup, which we enjoyed with a crusty baguette, prosciutto, and grilled artichokes from a jar.
The real winners was a pasta bake with pancetta, zucchini, arugula, and basil:
Now all we have to do is actually put our stuff into our bags. Actually, the Beast packed his bag last night. I need to see all my stuff laid out until the last minute, which is why the bed is covered in my folded clothes. The dining room table is covered in books, notebooks, toiletries, plug converters, various chargers, and watercolour supplies.
We might have to add some rain ponchos because it looks like rain for the first few days. I think in the month we’ve spent in Greece over the last two years, we’ve seen one day of rain. Actually, it was about 30 minutes of rain. So this could be interesting. I’m trying not to obsess about it. Where is that disposable poncho I’ve been hanging onto for years for precisely this purpose? Oh god. I just got my period. I’ve never had my period in Greece, or on a trans-Atlantic flight. Oh goddess.
Should I bring my computer? It’s super light and small. But then again, I can just write the old-fashioned way. Do I really think we’ll paint? And I have to edit my book selection. And iron a couple of things. Where is my bathing suit? And I have to wash the bed sheets because you have to come home to fresh bed sheets.
In other words, I’ve got shit to do. And I couldn’t be happier.
UPDATE WE DID IT