In most of my Istanbul houses, there's been central heating. I hate central heating. The reason I hate it is because in the winter, you're stuck with whatever indoor temperatures your neighbors think are good. I think anyone who lives in Turkey might see where I'm going with this.
Most Turks are like my grandma. They seem to think it's nice to keep the house at a sweltering 80 degrees or so all year around. Most people don't have A/C in their homes, so in summer this can't be helped (though not enough people believe it won't kill you to open a window or two), but in winter, the solution is to blast the hell out of the central heat. In winter, I'm at home barefoot in T-shirts with most of the windows cracked and all the radiators closed, sweating in the heat generated just by the radiator pipes. The other reason I hate central heating is that no matter how I feel about the temperature, no matter how much heat I let out the open windows, we still have to pay for it.
I'm very much of the "Put on a sweater if you're cold" school of thought. Like most good liberals of my generation, I have the bizarre, almost religious behaviors associated with going green. I've quit using fabric softener, paper towels (unless it's really gross), and paper napkins. I save jars and breadcrumbs and magazines and Ziploc bags and bits of string and buttons. I clean the floors with vinegar when the cleaner's not around. I water my plants from the aquarium. I only conceded failure on my kitchen scraps composting project when my balcony plants sprouted tomatoes and potatoes from seeds that managed to live. I'm totally the household "Turn off the lights and don't leave the water running and LE, goddammit quit flushing the toilet money doesn't grow on trees and when you grow up we'll be at war for the water shortages" natural resources Nazi. So the idea of how much oil is being wasted on my behalf causes me to lose sleep at night.
A lot of other things cause me to lose sleep at night too. That's just one of them.
So the other night when the kapıcı came around with a petition about maybe turning the heat down, I stood there agape for so long he asked BE, "Is she okay?" Then I got all excited and started jumping around with LE, who was jumping around because every time the doorbell rings he thinks it's either the water guy or the French fry guy and he gets to give them the money. The petition had to go to all the neighbors, and it had a few choices, like "I'm happy with the heat the way it is," "It's much too hot," "It's much too cold," and "Turn the boiler off at night and start it again in the morning."
Amazing. I don't know if the motivation behind the petition was cost, the environment, or the temperature, but it was truly one of the last things I ever expected to see in Turkey.
And even though BE hates to put on a sweater and he runs water the whole time he's brushing his teeth and he's forever bitching at me about the open windows and my bare feet, he knows what's good for him and checked "It's much too hot."
Oh, the anticipation! It wasn't just our building surveyed, it was all the ones in our block-- 62 flats altogether.
But then, yesterday the results were posted. 62% in favor of tropical indoor temperatures and the other 58% in favor of other stuff.
Still, it's a start. Maybe next year heating will get expensive enough that everyone will learn just to put on a freaking sweater. The environment is one thing, a 200 YTL monthly heating bill is another.
Sigh. Time to crack some windows.