Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Big Day Out: Let's Never Speak Of It To The MIL

So today I packed off the boy to Taksim. It's been ages since we've gone there together. Just to add to the challenge of the whole thing I took us to the Şişhane metro station which I hate because it's way too far underground for my tastes. By the time we reached the third escalator, we were already in a heated argument as to whether it was the second or the third. LE didn't count the second one because he'd wanted to take the stairs. By the time we got to the fifth escalator, we were arguing about whether an uphill moving walkway counted as an escalator.

He was in a mood. So was I.

Last time I was in Şişhane metro station I almost died because a cleaner at the top of the longest escalator suddenly decided to pick something up off the floor with his mop crossing the top of the escalator just as I was about to get off. I did some super quick Bruce Lee move to get around the cleaner and under the mop in a split second and lived to tell the tale.

I told this story to LE and he patiently explained to me that it wasn't a Bruce Lee move at all because Bruce Lee would have jumped over the mop.

So we went to meet our friend outside the metro station and, hooray! A demonstration was just getting ready to march off.

Lucky for us, it was a peace demonstration. Or a gay peace demonstration, judging by the flags. The marchers may or may not have known about the gay rainbow thing, it's hard to say. Much of the language on the peace signs wasn't Turkish, and in fact was in a language I couldn't figure out at all. Maybe it was Basque or something? So some of the subtleties of the demonstration may have been lost on me.

The US Consulate is forever sending out these terrifying emails about how US citizens should avoid demonstrations because they can turn on you at any second. Eminent danger is ongoing. Aside from the embassy warnings, which my MIL would never know about, we were definitely heading into the sort of day she would have a shitfit about. Commoners! Germs! Public transportation! Demonstrations! Taksim is the most dangerous place on earth because once like10 years ago some guys tried to rob FIL but then his cousin showed up and chased them off.

LE didn't give a shit because he'd found a pile of sand on the street.

Don't tell the MIL. Also don't tell her that, after playing in the sand, he gave me his gum to throw away and I said "Put that back in your mouth right now." There are a lot more garbage cans in Taksim than there used to be. That's because there are a lot fewer bombs. But I couldn't see a garbage can around the demonstration and I'll be damned if my kid is the sort of person to throw his trash onto the street.

The demonstration was followed by a parade of peaceful police officers, in full riot gear and carrying all manner of weapons. LE was impressed enough to leave the sand for a few seconds.

Although the cops were kind of scary, the scariest thing is that that's me saying "Yeah," in that video, because LE wanted me to check out a particularly large gun. Yes, it's true. Apparently I've developed a man voice. I had no idea until I saw it on You Tube. Oh well. It was bound to happen.

Thanks to a tip from A Seasonal Cook In Turkey, we were off to the DOBAG carpet sale in the Crimean church down the street. The carpets were astounding. They caused me all manner of stress and consternation because I wanted to be the sort of person who just buys a fucking gorgeous carpet because it's gorgeous and would really bring the room together, but instead I was the sort of person with a kid, an unpaid phone bill, and 173 lira in my bank account. Fortunately, the co-op that made the little carpets that really had me dribbling didn't take credit cards. The credit card is more of a future problem that takes care of current problems, but not all of them. I remember the days when credit cards were for fun.

Even more distracting than my envy and money issues was the fact that this was the first time LE has set foot in a church.

Good thing it was a cool church.
Probably the MIL wouldn't have objected to the church that much. She would have had a good laugh because things like churches and silly yabancı holidays are funny for her. Seriously, one day I would like to walk into a mosque and behave the way I see a lot of young Turkish tourists acting in a church-- being noisy, making jokes about the silly religion, taking pictures of each other pretending to pray... I don't even have any religious feelings to back this up, but there are some things that are just fucking rude. And that might get you beat up if you did them in a mosque.

But the MIL wouldn't have been happy about the big fuzzy cat that lived outside of the church. Or the giant ducks in the garden. I love ducks because they're so hopelessly undignified and they always say the same hilarious thing no matter how they're feeling. LE chased them everywhere and they patiently got away, calmly muttering and sticking together but never panicking.

So it was a good day. Our hands got dirty, we touched animals, and breathed the same air as people we don't know. Then we ate Chinese food. Somehow we all survived, but I think we'll not be talking about the specifics to the MIL. It could kill her. Or make her talk really a lot about boring things.

Either way wouldn't be so good.


Nomad said...

Such a lovely flowing narrative. I do hope you will write a book. Or at least a collection of essays. If not for publication (and why not!?) then at least for yourself and your son in the future. It would be a treasure. I wish my mother (or better) my grandmother had done that.

Imagine if all of us had a collection of journals written by past generations of our family for say 100 or even 200 years? It would certainly make you think more carefully about decisions. Maybe too much though.

Also, not everybody can write. Even the most eager readers would get a bit fed up with daily weather reports. My mother was bad about that. That, and lists. She got into a list making habit for years. So every time I spoke with her on the phone- long long distance with my money being gobbled up, every damned thing became a list.
It ran something like this:

"How are you?"
"Fine, but I have a pain in my arm and my leg and my wrist and my neck..."
" So what have been up to?"
"Well, I went to the doctor, went to the lawyer, then we stop by the pharmacy and then..where else? oh and the Piggley-Wiggley and while I was there I bought some towels, and some soap and a bowl for the dog and..." (That was a subset list, btw)
I don't think a journal like that, even after 100 years would spark too much interest.
I am sure your writing would, though. Seriously.

Stranger said...

Thanks, Nomad, really. Some compliments there's nothing to do but accept graciously nd feel all warm inside.

It's something worth thinking about. Ender would totally dig that, I think, warts and all. I know I would love such a thing from my parents or grandparents...

Lucky for me, so long as I make some sort of effort to preserve the blog in digital form, should the platform ever disappear, it'll be there for him. Unless there's an apocalypse, in which case it wouldn't matter much anyway.

Anonymous said...

The language was Kurdish.

Stranger said...

Wow! I don't know if that says a lot about me or a lot about other things that I've never seen written Kurdish before. I didn't know it had so many diacritical markings. Or that it looks a bit like Basque in passing...

I feel like a complete idiot, but thanks anyway for telling me what language it is.

A Seasonal Cook in Turkey said...

I think you could definitely do a collection of essays. You are hilarious. Your writing is fabulous.

CAT said...

Ditto, about the really rude behavior in a special place. I feel like that all the time. Rude "yabanci's in Mosques" WRONG. Rude Turks in churches WRONG.