The following first-hand account was written by someone whom I’ve known only as an adult, so it’s kinda funny. It’s kinda funny, anyway. (No, Mom, it’s not me or your other daughter. We’ve never been to Greece.)
I opened the front door and looked out over stark white cottages to the Aegean Sea. It would have been a lovely view if I’d had any idea how I’d gotten there.
The night before I’d watched the sun set in lazy orange and purple from the deck of a ferry steaming toward Skyros, an island in the Greek archipelago. Dave and John, boys from my study abroad program back in Athens watched with me, as did Gwen, a firecracker Brit traveling solo through the country. All four of us had come to Skyros for the strange Carnival festival that presaged Lent, where masked men dressed as goats shook their belled hips through alley-like streets that twisted left and right and up and down. When the ferry docked it was only natural that we invite our new comrade for a meal.
Four people sat down for dinner; five carafes of wine came to the table. In fairness, it’s not like they just appeared. We definitely ordered them. We must have. The last thing I remembered before the evening shattered into fragments was descending a circular staircase from the restaurant’s main dining room to the bathrooms below.
Now here was the sea, and zero context. I turned back from the door to see Dave’s familiar red hair on a pillow on a couch in a distinctly unfamiliar living room. I shook him awake.
“Dave! What happened?”
He looked at me through sleep-bleared eyes and then with perfect clarity said, “I hate you.”
“Dave, what happened?”
I had happened, apparently. One of those carafes, or rather one and a quarter, had done me in. I’d passed out in the bathroom, attracting a crowd of eight to 10 Greek ladies, all throwing water on me to wake me up. When that wasn’t successful, they turned to Dave and asked where we were sleeping. When Dave explained our plan – O collegiate wisdom! – of sleeping on the beach, the grandmothers held a hurried conference. They broke their huddle to explain to Dave in muddled Greek and English that this was in no way acceptable, and I would be staying with them. They hustled me through the heart of town wrapped in a sleeping bag. Thus, the unfamiliar living room, and the laughing dark-haired matron who greeted us both a few minutes later. I put my face in my hands and wrote a note in broken Greek saying I was thankful to her and very sorry for being such a disgrace. She laughed some more and sent us on our way. Ironically, Dave was considerably more hung over than me. I’d thrown up everything the night before.
The best part? (And by “best,” I mean worst.) The entire next day people I didn’t know were coming up to me and asking if I was OK.