Penguin suits of time

Pretty sure I have an obsession with ‘time’. This is probs about my third post on this concept. Although this is bad it helps me create fascinating partially made-up stories. So check this one out. 


There we sat one Saturday, same location, same spirits however different life journey’s. Manoli looked very out of place in his red collared buttoned up shirt with his hair slicked back as though he was frightened the Kythirian wind would ruin his ‘up-do’. Me, well I was just authentic Greek me- Emmanuel, clothed in a white loose shirt and denim 3/4 shorts on another day’s voyage out to sea. Kythira had been our home island until 16 year old Manoli had moved to Sydney with his family as it was assured that their financial problems would be better there. The engine coughed as though it was an asthmatic with dust in it’s lungs as we docked the boat into the bay of Vroulea (our favourite fishing spot as kids). Over the noise Manoli gestured to his wrist in some sort of unaccounted urgency. 

“The time, Emmanuel?” He asked, to which I casually replied. 

“I’m sorry, I have no idea. I think we’ve been out here for about 6 hours….or..”

“6 hours!” He interrupted me. 

“Or so, yes. I think so. I don’t wear a watch on Saturday’s, especially when I’m fishing. In fact, I don’t wear a watch much at all”. Time did not rule me as much as him. 

Our childhood never revolved around time. The days were spent out in the Mediterranean Ocean catching enormous fish for dinner before wandering down the stone-paved streets ridden that withheld the smell of Souvlaki (cooked pieces of lamb on a stick) as it wafted up into our noses making our mouths water.  We were never bothered by time and it was hardly referenced or relevant in our free lives. Once home my parents and relatives visiting for the afternoon would kiss me on the forehead and never question how long I had been out that day. I was home, their was a table full of Greek delicacies and that’s all that mattered really. 

I reminisced these moments with Manoli as we made our way up the bay towards the ‘Spitaki’ a vacant house owned by my grandfather. Some times in our teenage years Manoli and I wouldn’t even bother to go home but spend the evenings eating turkish delight and perhaps a little beer that was stacked in the fridge in the Spitaki. Our teenage years never revolved around time. Our moment of nostalgia was broken as Manoli complained about living in Sydney. I quiclky realised that Time had become the main dominion in his life. He explained his life of monotonous ticking of clocks, coffee breaks to realise the stress of the hustle and bustle in business world. Men dressed like penguins, monochromic colours with watches stuck like glue to their wrists; running with brief cases in hands to catch the morning train.

“I feel so tense by living in the city. I never get left alone, the phone buzzes more than the breathes I take”. He told me as he threw out a line, slowly forgetting his urgency to check the time.

His visit made me really appreciate the beauty and relaxation that came with Island living. The little piece of freedom that we both had inhabited once, made it our own. I find it liberating that I am not confined by time. I would hate the thought of it, like a padlock to a lion’s cage. As the day went on Manoli began to adjust into the lifestyle that he had left behind; time didn’t matter anymore. And there we sat one Saturday, same location, same spirits with different life journey’s slowly becoming the same. 

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