I'm trying to keep up a mini-theme here. I keep adding to the list. This Typical/Not Typical thing was meant to be one brilliant and incisive post, but the contexts keep adding up, plus I have to rant, right? Or else who would bother reading?
I'll start, then, with something that isn't typical, but I guarantee it's going to turn into a rant wherein I marvel at the senselessness of something, then feel like an asshole because not fitting in is probably mostly my own fault anyway.
Not typical is this public service announcement about swine flu I saw on TV a few months back. In it was a dorky kid whom, if I'd been his age, I would have wanted to punch, much like I want to punch all the kids on Barney (which, thankfully, they don't have here as far as I know). The dorky kid said "I don't touch my my eyes, nose or mouth." The hell you don't. You're 8. You probably touch your butt a lot too.
Anyway, there were some other people in the PSA showing or telling the precautions they take to avoid illness, like washing hands after using the toilet, and not coughing on other people.
Then, the most wonderful thing happened. The final part of the commercial showed a woman, get this! OPENING HER WINDOW TO LET OUTSIDE AIR INTO THE HOUSE. The very house where she was living! With the air from the outside! Fearlessly! The voiceover said, "Air out your surroundings."
I nearly had a heart attack.
But then, everything goes back to:
Typical: A Crisis!
Typical is that swine flu is the latest Crisis! taking the lead over that boring old Economic Crisis! that's been clogging the airways for a few months now. According to the media, swine flu is everywhere. It's 100% fatal, and it's waiting to get you. I went to a woman tea party at my neighbor's house the other day (yeah, that's right. I bit the bullet and went. The gesture of inviting me was so sweet that I forced myself to stop mentally composing the post about how they talked about zayıflama [weight loss, or losing centimeters with the latest snake oil treatment that makes you thin without diet or exercise] for 2 hours and I'm not exaggerating), and everyone made a point of not kissing anyone else because of pig flu. Or rather, there were those who made a point of not kissing while others made a point of kissing while vocally throwing caution to the wind about pig flu. On Tuesday I got the surprise announcement from LE's school that Friday was cancelled in addition to the Cumhuriyet Bayramı (Republic Day) holiday on Thursday. They went ahead and had a surprise half day off on Wednesday too, just for shits and giggles.
The official reason given for the Friday holiday was because they needed to sanitize the schools. Eh? Is there some other pandemic going around? One caused by a virus that lives for longer than a few hours outside the human body?
My snarky take on all this is that Friday's "sanitizing" holiday is a crock of shit that is also a win-win edict for our politicians. They get to look like they're doing something decisive about the Certain Death From Unclean Western Pigs that's waiting to get us. They get to make lots of people happy by giving an extra day off without looking like they've caved to Communists or other workers' rights undesirables. They get to surprise everyone with their wonderfulness when in fact they probably had it in the works for weeks.
Yet, true to religious conservative form, they failed to take reality into account. Like, for example, all those people with jobs who had to arrange for sudden and surprising childcare. Every household here is from Leave It To Beaver in the government's eyes. Granted, I work at home but I usually plan my deadlines a week ahead and suddenly I've lost a full day and half of work time. And what about all the women women who have "real" jobs where they can't suddenly take time off for surprise school holidays? There are a lot more of them here than popular culture would have us believe. The profound, paternalistic stupidity of it has had me seething for days.
Gotta love a Crisis! BE is furious with me for not being swept up in the panic. His mother has all but forgotten the dangers of Nazar in favor of calling BE to tell him to tell me I shouldn't kiss my son because of swine flu. BE triumphantly came home the other night to tell me one of his barbers was hospitalized with swine flu. This sounds very dire, except in Turkey you don't go to your GP's office when you're sick, you go to the hospital. And both barbers were working today so I guess he lived through his ordeal.
I pretty much ignore the news, especially Turkish news. I'm sure people are dropping like flies all over the country. I'm sure every case of the sniffles is being reported as swine flu, and I'd hazard a guess that any remaining pig farmers who survived the "Let's tax pig farmers unreasonably and put them out of business, but really we're quite secular" sweep are being more vilified than ever before.
Yet, I'm sure we'll survive the latest Crisis! somehow. And anyway, it's getting cold enough for the heaters to go on, which means the next Snow Crisis! can't be far off and then everyone will forget about it.