How to Ring a Doorbell
September 17, 1986. On a warm afternoon in the village of Kiriakitsa, 4-year-old Alexis tags along as his grandfather, Grigoris, waters the fruit trees around the house. As they approach the front of the house, Alexis looks toward the door: "The doorbell!" (To koudhouni!),1 he says with excitement and runs lightly up the marble steps to the door, reaching up toward the bell.
"You don't reach" (Dhen ftans), says Grigoris, nearing the steps and putting his hands on his hips as he watches his grandchild. "You don't reach" (Dhen ftaneis), he repeats, this time in more standard Greek. By now Alexis is climbing onto a chair in order to reach the bell.
"I do reach, I get up here" (Ftano, anevaino edho pano), he counters.
"Let me see" (Yia na dho), says the grandfather, and then, as he sees Alexis reach up somewhat precariously from the chair, "Don't fall" (Mi paiseis).
"And if I fall?" (Kai a'ma paiso;).2 The child reaches to press the bell. Nothing happens.
"It didn't hit" (Dhen varese).
"I reach" (Ftano), insists Alexis as he gets down from the chair.____________________