One thing I've always had a hard time with here is people's differing notions of how we occupy public spaces. For example, I don't think doorways and stairways are good places to sit and talk with my friends. That's because I have this crazy idea that those are places people need to use to get to other places, and if I stand in one of them looking around blankly, I'm very likely to be in someone's way and annoy them. I also think that if people keep trying to get by me and I find that annoying, I should just find somewhere else to go stand.
But that's just me.
I also was taught at a young age in places like elevators, trains, and buses that when the doors open, the people inside the thing should get out before the people outside the thing get in. It somehow makes the whole embarking/disembarking thing go so much more smoothly. But a lot of folks around Istanbul don't quite see eye to eye on with me on this one either.
Despite the obvious dicomforts, I get a kick out of riding the tram towards Sultanahmet, when it gets so breathlessly crowded you'd better start working your way towards the door two stops before yours if you're to have any chance of getting out. At each stop, there is invariably another horde of people waiting to get on and a few who want to get off. People start clucking that more people are actually going to try to occupy what little remaining air there is. But the people trying to get out have to fight this horde. And there's alwasy a self-appointed door monitor who starts shouting at the people trying to get in that they should wait for people to get off first, instead of bitching at them for being in their way. Many of them stand back respectfully while others plow on because they see no reason for simple courtesies like that when the door could close at any moment. Arguments ensue, die down, and begin again at the next stop.
It's the same on elevators.
On escalators, a surprising number of people don't know how to step on and off of them. They freak out at the worst possible moment and reel back in terror, either gumming up the works at the entrance, or causing everyone behind them to fall either up or down the stairway. I don't know how many times I've nearly been killed on an escalator by a squealing woman who got too scared to get off, or had to walk up backwards because a timid gentleman at the bottom caused the stroller behind him to tip over (oh yeah, some fools bring their strollers on escalators), and then the pandemonium... You can imagine. It's not just villagers either. I found out a couple of weekends ago my in-laws can't do escalators when both of them nearly killed LE and I in some momentary panic about the first step.
LE, by the way, is very good at escalators.
So the other day, BE and I decided we needed some technology. I wanted some cool speakers to attach to the iPhone and the laptop, and we decided it's time we got a printer, plus I needed a flash disk. So we went to Media Markt, a newish electronics superstore telling ourselves we were going to just get a flash disk.
Naturally, that didn't happen so I had to go downstairs to get a cart. Media Markt has three floors and two elevators. One goes to the main floor and the parking garage and the other goes to the main floor and the first floor where they have computer accessories and some games and a whole lot of other electronicky things that I don't know what they do. All the TVs and DVD players and stereos and stuff like that are on the main floor. Places like this are packed on the weekends with folks who've come from far and wide to take a look because they have nothing better to do and it's free to go to an electronics superstore. They're all standing in the middle of aisles getting mad at other people who might like to pass by.
Anyway, I got the cart and went to the elevator to go back up to where BE was carrying a sleeping LE, looking at games and standing near the super-cheap 3-in-1 printer/scanner/photocopier I'd found. In front of the elevator was a large family looking stumped. You see, this elevator only went up. There was one button to push. Finally, they figured it out and we got on. Inside the elevator there were two buttons: one for the floor we were on and one for the floor above. The cleverest guy of the bunch took control of the situation and started repeatedly pushing the button for the floor we were on. It wouldn't light and the doors wouldn't close and the family started getting upset, wondering out loud what on earth was wrong and was it broken? I reached around a few of them and pushed the button that made the elevator go.
The day was saved. But seriously, I couldn't help but wonder what the hell was a whole family of people who don't know how to work an elevator going to do in a warehouse-sized room of full of computer accessories and strange cords?
I got away from them before they completely blocked the area in front of the elevator so I never found out. It's probably better that way.