When a country is in a crisis, the citizens are allowed to behave accordingly

My partner, K, is currently in Nafplio, Greece for a conference. He was there when Greece defaulted on the €1,6 billion loan to the IMF on Tuesday, 7 July 2015. The day my favourite finance minister resigned and wrote on his blog the words

‘And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.’

2 days later I called K on Skype to say goodnight. While we were talking he said. Something strange happened on my way to the flat.

“What?”

“I was walking back from buying a sandwhich and a woman shouted for my attention. She was shouting repeatedly and waving frantically. She signaled for me to go to her.”

“What do you mean go to her, why didn’t she come to you?”

“She was inside her flat on the ground floor. She was shouting from her window. The ground floor was slightly higher than the street level so she was actually higher than me. I got to her and she asked me if I have a phone. She said her phone had run out of credits and she was wondering if she could use my phone to make a call. I gave her my cellphone which had 200 credits. She wanted to reach for it but she realized she was naked, instead she just stuck her hand out the window. I had to reach up to give it to her. She took it and told me she was going to close the window because the conversation she had to have was secret.”

“Wait, you gave a woman you don’t know your cellphone and she told you she wanted to close the window and you said it was OK?”

“Yes.”

Silence.

“I don’t understand, why would you give away your phone like that? Did she give it back?”

“Greece is in a crisis state. Obviously the citizens are also in the middle of a crisis and she was behaving accordingly. Wouldn’t you assist someone in a country in the middle of a crisis? Obviously I wouldn’t do that in South Africa or in Greece if times were different. She didn’t look crazy she just sounded strange.”

I interrupted and pointed out: “But you need your phone in case I or your family need to get hold of you, especially in a country in the middle of a crisis.”

“I cannot imagine how she could not return the phone as I know where she lives. Anyway, I stood outside her window for 2 minutes and she didn’t open the window again. I decided to eat my sandwhich standing right there outside her window. I finished eating and she still didn’t come out. I didn’t know what to do. I decided to try to look through the window but it was too high for me. I decided to just stand there. After about 10 minutes she opened the window. Dressed this time. The first thing she asked was whether I overheard her conversation. It was more of an accusation than a question. I assured her I didn’t.”

“You’re lucky she came back.”

“I was not worried. I told you, these are special times. I wouldn’t do this any other time.”

“Umm, yes you would. You don’t care about your cheap phone.”

(By the way, this was my cheap phone. I gave it to him so he can access the internet. We both hate the phone. It has no predictive text so you have to poke the same button 3 times to type C as it shows a then b then finally C. At least it needs to be charged only once a week.)

“OK, maybe I would.

But only because the 200 credits cost me 5 euros at the airport. The sim card was on sale. As I said, the country is in a crisis. She also said it herself.

After I assured her I didn’t eavesdrop on her conversation she explained that she needed to call her brother who is an economist because the news had announced something big and important about Greece. She needed to to tell her brother and sister.”

And that, is the type of man I live with. He puts himself last after strangers. A push-over when he thinks he is in a more privileged position than the stranger.

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