It seems that the one thing I do not look like, is a Greek.
Ever since I came to London, people have thought I was Italian, Polish, Russian, British, French and anything else you can think of.
Just yesterday, while I was on the airplane, the stewardess, as she was handing out drinks, turned and said something to me. After I asked her to repeat it twice, she spoke it almost to my ear and then I understood that it wasn’t the noise of the airplane that was making it difficult for me to listen; she was actually speaking in another language – Russian – as it turned out. She just, for some strange reason, assumed I was from the great North.
As a matter of fact, the only people that have pinned me as a Greek were ones that have lived in Greece for extended periods and as such, could recall the accent.
There is an upside to all this however, minor as it is. I can approach other Greeks without them knowing I can understand them. Usually they continue talking in Greek thinking that their conversation is almost private, and as previous examples have shown, that is an illusion. You can never be sure of whom is listening.
This Friday, I happened to be waiting for the (fuckin’ perpetually late) N171 bus in Tottenham Court Road. As chance would have it, two girls sitting next to me were speaking in Greek. I didn’t have anything to say so I just kept my silence until I saw we were boarding the same bus. I did surprise them by replying to them in Greek as we were getting in. It turned out that we had actually gone to the same place before (The Electric Ballroom) and they were returning home by the same bus I was. They had no idea I was Greek either. One of them actually thought I was some kind of Goth wannabe, what with my black leather trench coat, tired face and tangled hair. Eh.