Monday, May 30, 2011

Turkish Waiters, and A Complete Failure At Getting LE To Enjoy A Beloved Movie

I tried to get my kid into Mary Poppins tonight, and I realized why I always hear this music in my head whenever I go to a nice restaurant in Turkey.

Died of a mysterious virus in 1977, aged 21
Perhaps it's because a normal four-year-old's attention span is often akin to that of a gnat that the boy couldn't care less about Mary Poppins. Or perhaps it's because there were no bad green witches in it, like in The Wizard of Oz (he was rapt for most of that). Mary is a rather disappointing witch by comparison, if she even is a witch but she might just be a magic nanny. It even could have been that our copy of Mary Poppins is complete crap, a DVD made from the VCR cassette my parents recorded for us off Showtime when I was like10, and the sound is a second or so ahead of the picture, and rather tinny at that. It could even be because Mary Poppins  is way overrated in my mind because the first time I saw it was at a drive-in, and it was the first time I'd ever hear consciously heard British accents, or at least kids with British accents.

Surprisingly talented
Or maybe it was because I'm one of those obnoxious assholes who feels compelled to not only say all the lines of certain movies, but also to sing along, and five minutes into the film LE was punching my arm and demanding candy and bedtime. Except I was doing the same for the Wizard of Oz and he watched that through to the end, and looked both thrilled and faintly disturbed the whole time, as one would expect. He's still upset about the flying monkeys, and he failed to share my love of the Tin Man but that's okay. He's only four. I'm actually still upset by the monkeys, mostly because they're dressed like the guys here that sell ice cream. I won't force him to grow into liking the Tin Man, as there are certain preferences in life a mother needn't push, preferences which will surely flourish on their own without my help. Or not. I'm cool with it either way.
Love me

As for the waiters, I used to wonder how unemployment could be so high in Turkey given the number of staff at every restaurant, office, and other given place of business. Our office has a woman whose job it is just to tidy the tiny kitchen, make tea and coffee, and bring hot drinks to the director, assistant director, and guests. Whenever any of us tidies up after ourselves she gets a little resentful, as though we're implying she can't do her job right when in reality, it's because few of us are comfortable with servants. She spends a lot of time snoozing on the sofa, which is probably partly because she has a child under two at home and partly because it can't be a very interesting job.

But at least it's a job. I would sure hate for her to become redundant. Same for all the extra waiters in restaurants, or the extra shop assistants, or the kids slinging tea in industrial areas, or the 42 extra guys standing with shovels around any work site. I suspect a lot of these guys are relatives of the owner, or of other workers, and someone was just kind enough to give them a job for the day or for the week because unemployment is really that bad. Sometimes I drop my trash on the ground just to make sure the guys who sweep the streets by hand, with brooms, still have work to do. The fact that most of these guys are working is probably just artificially deflating unemployment statistics, since any one of them are probably let go on whatever whim or necessity that arises, and I doubt most of them are getting state health.

Which means that the service can be extraordinary when you order a 3 lira lahmacun, or if you're brave enough to walk into a shop with no other customers. It's something I'll never be comfortable with, because I don't think I've really done anything to earn that kind of attention from people.
Some things haven't changed much
One of my old friends used to ask the kids waiting tables how old they were. They were always sixteen, with cracking voices that hadn't changed all the way yet.

So the post started off funny, with the penguins, and ended up not so much so.


Nomad said...

My brother was a "big fish/small pond" politicican of the Republican ilk. Basically he represented everything I despise about that point of view. But he introduced me to an interesting concept.
One time when we were talking about a Republican president and how high the employment rates were, I said, "Unemployment is over 10%" and he dismissed it pretty lightly.
"You have to understand. That's not all that bad actually. It does mean that 90% of the population is working." (In fact, it doesn't mean that at all but...)
"You have to consider that there will always be a part of the society that is essentially unemployable. For whatever reason, they will never be able to how down a decent job. Maybe they are lazy, or they are drug addicts or maybe they don't WANT to work. There's really nothing that government can do about those people."
Typical Republican thoughts but I do think there is some truth in that. I base this NOT on reading Reagan's autobiography or anything but from working with such people. Some people just don't have the right kind of jobs skills and do not see any reason to develop themselves. That is true, to some extent in Turkey, where families provide such a safety net. I was practically forced out of my home when I was 18 and had to find my own place to live, independently, by that time. It was a very hard road too. I wish I had had the support that many Turks have but then I know I would have taken advantage of it too.

As far as Mary Poppins, I've never seen the attraction. Dick Van Dyke's wretched rendition of a cockney accent is akin to waterboarding for me.

However, I recall (as an adult, mind you) being quite caught up in "The Little Princess." A 5 part series from the BBC (Masterpiece theater?)That story was made with Shirley Temple, for pity's sake, and, they gave it the Hollywood treatment and had the poor orphan girl end up meeting Queen Victoria!! The version I watched was apparently closer to the original and in that she only met a monkey from the neighboring apartments. It did not fly.

Stranger said...

I wrote this long and lovely comment the other night, only to have it disappear. Apparently, the inability to comment on my own blog has infected me too. Now I'm just testing if it works...