Greek-American Stories: Gadgets

October 13, 2018
Phyllis “Kiki” Sembos

The rain kept the guys later than usual in Dixon’s that Sunday afternoon. Yiannis was on his second cup of coffee, listening as the others discussed their wives’ latest household gadgets. “Penelopi is so happy with her new dough machine. She puts in chunks of dough, rolls a handle and out comes very thin dough, something that used to take her hours to do. So now, she makes diples, spanakopites, pitakia, noodles and bow ties, in no time,” John told them proudly.

“Huh! Nothing wrong with a rolling pin. A proven gadget since Socrates,” Yiannis muttered, sipping his coffee. George told the others about having gotten his wife, Helen, a clothes drier. “Now she doesn’t have to wait for good weather to hang out the clothes orhope the clothesline doesn’t snap.” Yiannis shrugged.“Nothing wrong with waiting for the sun to shine.There’s plenty of other things to do in the meantime. Keeping house is what a wife is supposed to do. Y’a gotta keep the women busy. Keeps ‘em from buying stuff that creates more wash.”

Kipreos informed that his landlady cleans his apartment and when he gets home, it’s all nice and tidy. “I pay her extra but I don’t ever hear the vacuum buzzing.I go to the basement to do my washing and drying.”Dimos described his wife’s new vacuum. “The old one was over twenty years old. The new one cost me plenty but it comes with extra pieces that she attaches and she goes through the house in less than an hour. It has a bag that fills and gets tossed out when filled up.Has a long cord that stretches from the living room to the bedrooms. The only thing is it makes a racket, and I can’t hear the radio or TV.”

Yiannis huffed. “Sure it cost a bundle. Convenience is what sells products.” Dimos nodded. “But, it was worth it if it makes my wife happy.” Shaking his head, Yiannis said, “All you did was spend a bundle on gadgets, that’s what. Well, Areti does the same work and has time to iron our clothes, make cookies and keep everything in good order, all without those expensive gadgets.” Shaking his head, George complained, “Sure! You don’t do all those things. She works! Keeping house is tiring work! I’d bet Areti would appreciate having a clothes drier or vacuum.Especially a vacuum, at least.”

Completely unperturbed, Yiannis told him, “She doesn’t complain. Besides, she’s got equipment that cleans just as good and maybe better without costing a fortune or making noise.” Doubtful, Dimos asked, “What could she have that’s better than a vacuum and how is it better, Yiannis?” Leaning back in his seat, Yiannis, set down his coffee cup and eying the sprinkled donut recounted,“Areti’s equipment doesn’t have bags to empty and replace and no long cords to deal with or needing to pay anything for electricity and makes absolutely no noise at all. They don’t take up much room, either and will never need repairs and comes with no parts of any kind. If they get worn she just gets new ones. Doesn’t bother me ‘cause they’re real cheap, besides!” Disbelieving, they observed Yiannis as if he was making it all up. “Just where doyou buy those wonderful, cheap, efficient appliances, Yiannis?” asked John, trying to picture what gadgets they could be. Yiannis, smugly told him, “Any hardware or super market, that’s where.” CuriousDimos narrowing his eyes asked, “Cheap, you say? How cheap are we talking about?” Pausing, Yiannis recalled, “Oh, I think I paidabout two or three dollars each. They’re pretty old too.” Recalling the hundred dollars plusprice tag he paid for the new vacuum, annoyed, Dimos responded, “You’re kidding, of course!” Yiannis added, “No, I’m not! The floors in my house are clean, that’s what I know. She’s very fussy about floors too.” George, suspicious that maybehe has Areti scrubbing on her hands and knees, frowned and spoke accusingly. “I know! You supply Areti with lots of rags, right? That’s cheap too and doesn’t need electric or storage or make noise or parts, right?” Shaking his head, Yiannis told him, “Wrong!” Waiting for the details that were not forthcoming and losing patience, they demanded to know what those wonderful gadgetsare called. Taking in a deep breath Yiannis finishing the last bite of the donut, announced, “They’re called, Mop and Broom!”


Just before she was stabbed to death outside an Athens police station by her ex-boyfriend after being refused help inside, Kyriaki Griva was told by an operator on a police hotline after asking for a patrol car escort home, “Lady, police cars aren’t taxis.

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