I just realised that I never elaborated on a tale from our honeymoon which was hinted at several posts back. It was in regards to an altercation I had returning a defective Smart car to Drossos Moto Rental on Satorini (specifically, in Oia).
I know how Smart cars are supposed to ride. I piloted one of the first Smart cars in Canada, my beloved Dilton, every day for a year. So when we E and I were driving home through a winding mountain pass after sunset with no dashboard lights apart from this one:
Coupled with the poor handling and funny noises, I had my suspicions that we would plunge to our death.
The next morning I decided to go and confront the good shopkeeper about his wares, and ask for a rebate on my rental fee. The AC didn't work, the airbags didn't work, the car handled like a goat, and the dashboard was but a memory as soon as the sun went down.
I brought up the issues with a large Greek man whom I assume to be the owner, and he categorically refuses to believe any of my claims. He even goes so far as to say that the airbag light, the ever-present beacon of death, is actually a seat belt light.
To prove this, he gets in the car and fastens the seat belt.
I insist that, having my own Smart car back in Canada, I know that light to mean "Airbag no workey"; why else, I ask, would the stick man have a large orange in his lap?
More resistance, and then finally, he just walked away.
But before he did, he told me that I was "a stupid, stupid man".
I was getting a little steamed. I pursued the issue back at the reception desk. And pursued it. And pursued it.
Until finally he blew out of his chair like a hand grenade had gone off behind the desk and bellowed, in a long monstrous roar, "GET OUT!"
In my line of work I've had to deal with a few Greek business men, and if there's one thing I've learned about them, it's that they love to yell at you. This behavior used to scare me, and sent me running to the hills slipping in my own shit; but I'm out of my training pants now, and know that it's all talk.
Usually all talk.
Sure, I stood my ground, much to his amazement. I even rose to the occasion, roaring my own, "GIVE ME A REBATE! THE CAR IS UNSAFE!"
I also got to use, for the first time, "My wife was in that car, and you deliberately put her in harm's way!"
It was then that he picked up the phone to beat me. I rightly guessed he was bluffing, and stood my ground.
He rounded the desk, put his fat gut and 6'3" frame tight against mine, and bellowed, "GET OUT, YOU STUPID MAN! GET OUT!" No movement on my part. Steely stare. Then, "I'll CALL THE COPS!!"
Well, he did have the phone in his hands, and since he pussed out of beating me with it, he might as well use it.
B- "FINE! I'd love to tell them about how unsafe your cars are, and how poorly you've treated me!"
It was then that he tied to beat me with the phone for a second time. This time, he actually started to swing the phone at my head. While I braced for impact, he ran out of telephone cord, and the phone shot out of his hands and landed on the floor behind the desk.
Having failed at beating me, we decided to push each other around a bit. I"m 5'10", and not more than 135lbs. holding my marble collection, so the struggle was pretty one sided. I can't say that I gave as good as I got; but I gave as best as I could.
Desperately enraged, he picked me up off my feet in a big bear hug, crushing me with his strength, and threw, yes, threw me out the door.
Did I mention that this whole time an Aussie had been waiting patiently in a chair to rent a car?
Yeah. He did nothing. Up the Anzacs with a rubber hose!
Once I landed on the cobblestone outside, I was fit to hunt bears with a stick. We spouted off at each other, him all the while calling me names; myself, all the while, protesting that he could have killed my wife. I finally cracked and said,
B- "Why is that I'm the one with the complaint, and you're doing all the name calling? You know what? Fuck you!"
A lady shrieked, "Don't say that! He's a Greek man! He'll KILL you!!"
I shit you not.
He didn't kill me.
I didn't get a refund.
The Aussie DID rent a vehicle.
My lovely wife E? I turned up at poolside, broken sunglasses on my face, to her reading a book and having a drink.
E- "WHAT? What happened to you?"
B- "This Greek guy tried to beat me with his phone."
And now you know, the rest of the story.