Escape from Modernity

by Andrew Leech (

“You just have to get away,” she said. “Sitting in front of that damned PC… pressing keys with one hand … shoving the mouse with the other and answering phone calls in between is just ruining your health. There are far too many gadgets in your life. I bet the electrical fields surrounding you are affecting your brain. You’ll end up with a tumour! What we both need is a week of pure rustic simplicity. No PCs, no phones; just sea, clean air and quiet.”

I said nothing. She was right of course. Long ago I had quickly learnt she was always right when I couldn’t think of a spirited retort to one of her sweeping statements; it was the safest course to follow! And, besides, I fancied the idea of a break from my humdrum, humming, whirring Athens life. No phones, no internet, no need to delete those never-ending lists of bored Russian girls looking for boyfriends or pharmacies pushing viagra.

So we motored down to Porto Rafti and rustic splendour. No other electronic noises but the gentle sounds of Paul Potts’ operatic airs on a CD – just simple simplicity! We had escaped distressing modernity, we had cut ourselves off from nerve-wracking communication, we had ended the concerted mad rush for the shrilling phone. We had found our temporary augustan Nirvana, our haven of sanity.

Next morning I was just tucking into a soft boiled egg and French coffee, when the paragon of wisdom walked in. “Look what I found,” she exclaimed excitedly “only 6 euros a month, with 500 free minutes included!”

It was a new Ericsson wireless land line and, within minutes, my lover of the simple uncluttered life had rediscovered the pleasures of total communication with all her friends! Rustic simplicity had lasted for one night.

(Posted 25 February 2009. Previously published in ELT News, September 2008.)

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