My most self-endearing quality is listening.
For those of you who read about my adventures with the Ukrainian TV crew, you probably noticed that the words “cough-ignoring” were part of the description I gave of their young producer, Elena. Since I knew where she was going to be around 5 PM this evening, I returned to my hotel to retrieve my bag after another just incredibly beautiful day in the water. I asked the receptionist for the location of a drug store.
I went, described the dry cough she had and walked out with a bottle of cough medicine. Their filming site for the afternoon was right next to the boat launch from which I was to leave the island. Saw her and the donkey man, along with a million other crew members from the TV show. Since the directions were only in Greek, I handed her the bottle, saying “1 capful, 3-4 times a day, but be careful, as it can cause drowsiness.”
She stopped, looked at me, looked at the bottle, looked at the co-worker that was with her earlier today, and smiled. This time she insisted that I let her buy me coffee as they were running behind schedule and she had a lunch break. At 5 PM.
We sat and very quickly fell into a pretty deep conversation about life. She’s 27, works too much, loves what she does, and worries about finding the person who can tolerate her work schedule and travel. I am 45, work too much, love what I do, and worry about many, many things.
I am sure that even if my wish for a delayed boat had been granted, she would have soon returned to the world of donkey-riding bachelors seeking the hand of the maiden, leaving me to enjoy the quiet beauty of Hydra, of which a couple of days most certain was not enough.
If we had been the same age, I would have described it as bordering on the romantic. Given that I have a daughter not much younger than her, I think that the ending of “Lost in Translation” is a better description.
That was it. No last names, no exchanges of e-mail addresses, no FB friendships. Just two people sharing a moment of truly connecting with another human being, and enjoying it for all it was, and nothing it was not.