Friday, April 9, 2010

The chair and the role it plays in a Greek's life

The average chair in Greece, the ones in the tavernas and the cafenia, are very beautiful, but uncomfortable, and unfortunately have no arms. This obliges the average Greek to require at least 2 to 3 chairs for any time he is having a coffee or a meal. One for his bottom, one for his arm, and at least one other for his hat or his feet, (his cell phone is always on the table). About 3 to 4 chairs per person.

Greece has a population of over 10 million people, this means about 40 million chairs approximately to seat the whole country comfortably, and in the style we are used to. We also have about 12 to 15 million visiters a year, another 50 or 60 million chairs for them, assuming they sit like Greeks, and why shouldn’t they? Since we expect more tourists every year, we had better have enough chairs for them, when and if they come. Let’s put that at another 20 million chairs, more or less.

We are now at about 120 million chairs, this does not take into account, the remodeling of tavernas and cafenia. The updating of these establishments, and new ones opening every day, brings the total figure for chairs to new astronomical numbers.

This does not include the chairs in cinemas and churches.

The Greeks have some great statistics of which they can be proud, we have highest percapita consumption of Scotch whiskey (chairs again). We also have the highest number of second houses in the common market, not to mention the highest number of luxury yachts, but none can rival the per capita number of chairs. It must be the highest in the world, and in actual chairs, there can be few countries that can top us. OK, maybe China, but no European country. We have this proud record.

The chair in Greece is not just something to sit on, but is something to rest, lounge, entertain on, to observe, to socialize on, as well as to have something to receive you and your friends. Nowhere else, that I know of, does the chair have such an exalted role. Even the ancients had the need to lounge and seemed to require a large number of chairs and lounges in which to carry on their daily lives. The more things change the more things remain the same.

Long live the Greek chair, and the Greeks who really know how to use them!

A story I wrote that previously appeared on

1 comment:

  1. I love that it's so clearly your voice telling these stories. The family stuff is fascinating and the post about the chairs is hilarious.