Have you ever noticed the hands of the cashier in the supermarket where you re shopping? Do you know the name of the delivery boy that brings you your order? What does a telephone operator think when she finishes her shift?
How about that woman working in the road toll-booth? Is she in love? Does a road cleaner get used to the garbage stink? How about the theater usherette: is she fed-up watching the same theater play every single night? How many of the inhabitants of a typical residential building does a doorman really know? Who’s more under stress, a first aider or as a car parking attendant in a ferry? What does a bailiff feel during an eviction?
And really, what kind of lives do they live? Is there pain, emptiness, desperation, or just loneliness, boredom and a sense internal paralysis? Do you ever get used to boredom or does it grow ever more unbearable? Is it possible to bear this sense of distancing from the others and the forced repetition or daily routines?
And all of them, these “unnoticed”, how do they see the rest of us? What do they say about us? Certainly much more than we say about them. We don’t bother to recognize them, we don’t notice them, we are never interested to listen to them. And by doing so, maybe we miss something. Because they do know us very well, sometimes better than we know ourselves.
These are ten stories, between reality and fiction, written by Angeliki Spanou, married to Stelios Stylianidis, a professor of psychiatry, who has chosen Antiparos as his utopia. His house there, at Saint George, is facing the ancient temple of Apollo of Despotiko.