5 hours of Παρεα in a Greek Taverna tonight and my head is aching from talking and listening to the soulful strumming of the bazooki and rich Greek folk music (Παρεα is a obviously a Greek word, but one that has no English equivalent...simplest translation: company of friends). I walked out of the Taverna at 1:30am having arrived at 8:30pm and looked back to see the windows still aglow with the lively chatter of people who had been there as long as us. T
hen my eyes were drawn a bit to the left and I saw the dark virtual flashing blue of a glitzy internet cafe directly adjacent to the taverna and it struck me as such a stark contrast. In the Taverna people can sit for hours and talk to one another another, whereas the internet cafe, full of young people playing computer games (sure, this is not ALL that they are used for, but it’s a pretty fair generalization) sucks each person into their own individual world and even if it indirectly relates to others--a social life without actually having to be social. The irony of these two establishments siting directly next to one another was mind boggling.The lively chatter of the taverna can only remain alive for so long if at least one member of the party is able and willing to listen to the other. This requires a certain sense of patience and humility--a virtuous life.
The internet cafe should not overshadow the depth of history, human potential and communal creation that exists in the tradition of the taverna. This was not my first time visiting such an establishment, and they never ceased to amaze me. The wholesome quality, the vibrant energy and the human element enlivens the soul.