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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 22 October 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 22 OCTOBER 2016 23 GREECE GERARD PAPASIMAKOPOULOS Ah, the 28th of October. A day of pride for Greeks everywhere. A day to celebrate the Greeks saying "no" to the Germans – as in "no thanks, we'd rather not roll over and play dead if that's okay" – a day of great historical significance. It has of course been contested, its over-simplified straightdown-the-line WWII story laying itself open to plenty of factual barbs, but nevertheless, it exists as a stand-out day in the Greek calendar. But I'm not here to talk about that. Not one bit. I'm not even here to discuss the parades that usually go hand-in-hand with the OXI celebrations, even though I never have been, nor will I ever be a great fan of parades in any way shape or form. Yes, let's all get together, form ranks and goose-step our way around some city streets, wave some plastic flags and hope it doesn't rain. No, not for me. If, however, this particular type of thing floats your boat then by golly, have at it. Parade away till you can parade no more. Till your arms and feet ache from all the parading. That's how much I'm okay with you folks parading if you so wish. I'm nice like that. There IS something, however, that I'm not okay with. And sadly, you ONLY see it during a parade of this sort. It's a disease, an epidemic, and not enough is being done about it. I'm sure all of you will agree. You've all felt that awkward twist in your belly when you see it unfold, you've all felt bad for the person doing it. Yes, YES, it’s finally time we spoke about the same hand-same foot parading brain-freeze. I don't know what it is about it. No one does it while they're out walking. It's the same principle. You put one foot forward to start the motion and then the brain takes over. You never THINK about walking. It just happens. You automatically make it so and then you walk from A to B, talking on your phone, staring at the world, thinking if you've actually turned the hot water off, or if that late night snack was really necessary. So why do so many people suffer such a monumental mental breakdown when told to sort-of-march? I mean, it's only a rather more accentuated form of walking. Same principles apply. Foot forward, opposite hand follows motion, then you switch. It can't be that hard. It just can't. And yet time and time and time and time again, you see it happening. Same hand, same foot, same hand, same foot, creating a pattern of movement so toecurlingly awkward, so stomach-twistingly NOT RIGHT that you want to shout out, to tell the person doing it to think, to take a pause, to low- er the hands and just focus on the feet for a few seconds, till normal operating functionality is resumed, re-activated, call it what you will. Except you can't. You can only watch it, in all its car-crash glory, perhaps worried that maybe, just maybe, if you intervene, you'll catch the same foot-same hand virus and be doomed to walk the earth for the rest of your days as a living, breathing warning sign of how NOT to handle a situation like that. So usually, you just stare. Stare and hear that familiar scream building up inside your skull. It never escapes its bony prison, just builds and builds until it starts bouncing around in there, making your eyes bulge and your teeth grind: "WHY OH WHY IS HE/ SHE DOING THAT? CAN HE/ SHE NOT STOP DOING THAT? THINK! JUST THINK! YOU DON'T WALK LIKE THAT! NO ONE EVER WALKS LIKE THAT! EVER!" But wait, there's more. You know what the worst thing about it is? It's so, SO hard to shake. Once it grabs a hold of your hands and feet, the same foot-same hand virus doesn't let go. You'll know it's wrong in an instant, you'll know that this is NOT the way you usually walk, you'll know all these things. But stopping will not be an option, at least not immediately. In fact, not only will you NOT stop, but for so many folks trapped in this horrific brain-freeze of a predicament, realising it will only make it stronger. It won't let go. It will push you ever onwards, the same foot leading the same hand like the Siamese twins from hell, each swing of foot and hand more vigorous, more strenuous and ultimately more futile. There's no escaping the same foot-same hand monster. There just isn't. Once it sinks its claws in, you're there for the ride, only to be released when it has had its way with you, leaving you to reclaim the fragmented pieces of your mind and of course, your natural walking instincts. Do I, or can I offer any advice? Dare I? As someone who as a child growing up in Greece was forced to participate in many of these OXI parades − not a great thing if you have a slight issue with crowds − I can honestly say that I don't really have any groundbreaking advice. Have I succumbed to the same foot-same hand virus? Of course I have. Did I ever figure it out? Not even close. All I can say is, just remember. On this OXI day, ladies and gents, do more, be more. Don't just celebrate an OXI from years gone by. Celebrate a brand new one. Say "OXI" (that's "NO" in Greek by the way, fight fans) to the same foot-same hand disease. You know it makes sense.
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