Living on Symi, sometimes the simplest of tasks can take a terribly long time. For example, let’s say you needed to get your incoming orders from the bank and give them to your accountant so she can prepare your tax returns. This can involve gearing yourself up to head to Yialos, an event in itself for the likes of me, preparing your speech for when you get to the bank, and being forearmed with your bank book, passport etc. That done, you head off down the steps, around the harbour, and arrive at the bank, hoping there won’t be a queue. There is, and you wait in the blazing sun while the queue declines pleasingly quickly until there’s just one person in front of you, and you are being held in the vestibule, which must be the only non-airconditioned part of the building. However, the person in front of you is trawling back through their transactions since before the days of the Drachma… But you finally get in, deal with your paperwork, pay the fee and escape. As you do, you decide to call at the post office, where you wait again until you can enter, check your PO box and find there’s nothing there anyway. So you decide to drop your papers at the accountant, only to find they’re not open yet because it’s still early. So, you trudge back up the steps knowing that you’ve got to trudge back down them again another day soon.
That’s how things can sometimes go. On Tuesday, however, things ran differently. Having geared myself up for the annual visit to the bank to ask for my ‘pink slips’, which the accountant needs to do last year’s tax now the platform is open… I headed on down the steps with a self-made printout of the transaction details I needed official copies of, so I could hand it over and save the teller some time. I was early, as I hardly ever do anything late, i.e. after ten in the morning, and discovered, when I stopped to tie a lace by the war memorial, that Jenine had been calling me for the last five minutes. I’d not heard because my head was back in 1890 and the chapter I intended to write when I got home as it usually is when I am allowed out on my own. We walked to the bank, and she continued on to work, and lo! I was admitted to the vestibule straight away. There, I had to wait while someone finished some piece of business inside, which took all of two minutes, and I was released into the air conditioning to talk to the teller.
I made my opening gambit in Greek, of course, and after that, we slipped politely into English. The paperwork was quickly prepared and handed to me with the news that not only are these things not called ‘pink slips’ anymore and haven’t been for years (I knew this) but also, there is no need for me to go to the bank to get them. I can do them via my Alpha Web Banking… and here’s how. After the demonstration, and after being told how to activate my new card, which arrived a couple of weeks ago, I was back out in the sun with a spring in my step. A quick visit, no need to bother them annually again, and my card activated to boot. So, buoyed by this, I decided to head to the post office, where there no queue, only a cheerfully welcoming George, and a delivery slip waiting for me in our PO box. I’d ordered a model from the USA back in March. It was a pre-order, due to become available at the end of May, and I wasn’t expecting it until next month. It had been posted on May 16th and arrived here on June 10th, no extra charge, all in one piece. Well, as many pieces as the kit should have because you have to put it together yourself. Result: I now had a spring in both steps.
I now have four to build when the winter comes.
There was another result shortly after when I started my trudge back and found Stelios already in his office. I dropped off my papers, thereby saving another trip down the next day, and headed on up the Kali Strata springing like nobody’s business. On the way, I met Panormita, who does my tax return, so was able to tell her – while bouncing from one spring to the other – the non-pink slips were waiting for her. And so, my annual admin was done and dusted within one hour of leaving home.
Sometimes, things don’t take so long after all.
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