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Culture

Greek-American Stories: In The Mood

January 27, 2018
Phyllis “Kiki” Sembos

Yiannis headed for Dixon’s empty handed, knowing that they had made it firm last week that it was his turn to buy donuts. They told him he had gotten away with not buying for a long, long time. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to buy them; it just was that the time wasn’t right, and he disliked beingordered to do it. His usual excuse for not buying them was that he didn’t have the right change at that moment.So, he approached Dixon’s in a mood and with a firm resolution of telling the guys he’ll not stand for anymore criticism; not about his weight, about his stinginess, abouthow he sleeps a lot and about reading his neighbor’s newspaper and putting it back after he finished it. He is who he is and they should be used to it all by now. Time to put them in their place. I’ve been patient for too long now. After all, they didn’t just meet; they’d known one another for years – many years.

As he approached the table where everyone was seated, Kipreos stuck out his hand and started to tell him something when Yiannis interrupted. “Look! I don’twant to hear you telling me it was my turn to get the donuts.” Kipreos shook his head.
“I wasn’t going to…” “Or, that you wanted the one with the sprinkles, either.” Yiannis reiterated. Kipreos blinked. “That’s ok. But,….” Yiannis interrupted, again. “I’m going to get my coffee and I’m putting three sugars in it, as usual. I want no comments!” With that he marched with resolution to the coffee counter and poured himself a large mug instead of the usual medium size, put in the three sugars, then headed for the table once again. That’s when John tried to stop him from sitting. “Yiannis!  Don’t ….” Yiannis interrupted, again. “First, let me ask you, John. Does what you’re going to say have anything to do about my diet?” John shrugged, “No! But…” “Good!  Just keep any other comments to yourself this morning. I’m in no mood.”

About to take his seat, Dimos tried to prevent him, telling him, “Yiannis! You’ve got to listen. Kipreos and John are trying to tell you something you ought to know. Don’t…” Yiannis, perturbed, sighed, “Has it anything to do with me not buying the donuts this morning?” Dimos shrugged. “No! But…what we’re trying to tell you is…” George, growing impatient, decided he had better take a hand in it and try to explain what they were trying to say, but,Yiannis slammed his coffee down and was about to sit down when telling George, “You are the last person I want to hear any complaint or criticism or comment from. Hear? You are the worst of all! I don’t mean to be obnoxious but enough is enough. So, let’s have a nice, amiable afternoon. Ok?” After seconds of silence, they allagreed and said no more. With that, Yiannis finally seated himself, stirred his coffee, reached out for the sprinkled donut, looking across at Kipreos for his reaction. A blank.In fact, the silence among them all lasted a long while. Yiannis, feeling responsible for thelack of convivial conversation, decided it was up to him to break the freeze he’d caused. “Look, guys! I know I sounded a little …ah, nasty. I like you all – even George, sometimes. But,a person gets kinda tired of it. I got faults. Not many – but I apologize for being a little irritated. I’m not like that all the time, right?” They all agreed he wasn’t. “So, let’s look past my bad mood this time. What d’ you say?” John nodded, saying, “Hey! We’re O.K. with it. Now, we’re wondering if what we were going to tell you will be O.K. with you.”

Listening carefully, Yiannis assured him he’d be ok with anything they had to tell him. “I’m not one to keep a grudge. You know that!” Dimos, looking serious, told him, “I hope you really mean that, Yiannis. Because what we tried to tell you might bring back that mood. Maybe, it’s a little late to tell you.” Feeling better after hearing them accept hisgenuine apology, he asked, “Now, tell me anything you want. I promise to be ok with it.”  Dimos, taking a deep breath, said, “Well, we were trying to warn you that someone had spilled chocolate pudding on your seat. We were waiting for an employee to come and wipe it up. But, now, maybe, it won’t be necessary.”

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