Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Minibus and Stuff

I know I write about the minibus a lot. You know why? It's because I fucking love riding the minibus. Granted the one I have to ride every day is relatively comfortable and I pretty much can always get a seat plus it's a pretty drive. The drivers are all very minibus driver-y, but only a few of them are jerks and some of them are really nice.

The minibus, I think, is the best place for people-watching. It's not like the regular bus or the metro, which are somehow public enough that everyone puts on a thousand-mile stare. The minibus is somehow more intimate, requiring a lot of interaction between the people on it. There's passing around money and change, finding the dropped change, jostling where people give up seats to other people, handing off bags and children to complete strangers with seats, a bit of bitching, constant shouted communication between the driver and the passengers, and all the unavoidable bumping into people. The minibus is a temporary and shifting micro-community. I hope it never stops being so fun.

Remember how much I loved this onesie? I do.
LE turned 6 yesterday. He used to be such a little guy and he's still a little guy, but he's a much bigger little guy than he was before. He's with his dad for this birthday, but he'll have another birthday when he comes back tomorrow.

Nope. The two birthdays thing isn't working for me. I feel like absolute shit for not being with him on his birthday. I made a radio show where I played all his favorite songs, but his dad couldn't manage over this entire week to bookmark the link in the iPad and show LE how to open it, so LE just heard the last 15 minutes or so. I guess he liked it. They missed the part where I slagged his dad off on the radio. Hee!

I keep having this feeling like I'm dissembling a little bit.

Being on the radio is the only thing I did yesterday, aside from a quick shopping outing to get LE some birthday presents. I finally managed to get sick. Everyone else I know has been sick and I kept not getting sick, which was great. I felt like some kind of Not-Getting-Sick superhero.

Except this week I got sick. At first it was just a little bit sick and I tried so hard to will it away with my Not-Getting-Sick superpowers. I got mad at the sick. I completely refused to be sick. There's no time to be sick! Sick is impossible!

I don't deserve to live.
Instead, I just got sicker. The sick won. And now that I've been officially sick for a few days, I feel like being sick is some sort of character flaw. If I were a better, stronger, more beautiful, more generous, more intelligent, more health-conscious, and more hygienic person, I wouldn't be sick. I'm completely fucking bored to death of being sick.

My battle with the sick caused me to fuck up at work. I was supposed to go to this conference-y thing yesterday. But since I felt like such shit yesterday, I arranged with a co-worker to go in my place. She seemed glad to go. I gave her hard and soft copies of the stuff I was supposed to take, and marched myself off to the doctor.

Which of course just had to be another fucking adventure and after a couple of hours in the hospital, I was resting comfortably on a not-so-clean bed having some serum IVed into my arm. It felt so nice to be on a bed not standing in a room full of squalling children and old people hacking up lungs that I emailed the coworker and told her I thought I'd be fine and could handle the conference. But then that night I felt like crap again and she didn't get my email in time, that I'd changed my mind again about the conference. It's just that for a couple of hours I felt like I might be beating the sick after all, and wouldn't have to flake on my obligations. Except the sick won and I ended up flaking in an even more annoying way.

Fuck. Dissembling. Or maybe just sick. Or maybe both. Sometimes getting sick is like shedding a skin. You become a newish sort of person and a new era begins, one where you don't even remember what it's like to be sick.

So, the hospital adventure. I was going to forgo writing about one of these again, but fuck. There was another chest X-ray from the same strange little man who did it last year, who pressed his fingers around my back to see if I was wearing a bra, then told me the bra wouldn't do, so I Flashdanced it off and acted like the whole thing was normal. The strange little man, the Jules Verne X-ray machine, my awkward but surprisingly successful attempt to Flashdance my bra back on while the little man was off developing the film, all totally fucking normal.

I put this here in case you aren't of the 80s and have no fucking idea what I'm talking about.

It was the same doctor again as last year. The charming old fellow with a bit of English. He insisted I come hang out with him sometime in Rumeli Feneri where he lives. He gave me his phone number, and I gave him mine. It was the same drill as last year, where I really couldn't figure out what the fuck was happening with the phone number business because I was too sick and fucked in the head from a long hospital adventure. Was I was misreading the situation horribly or was the doctor just being friendly? How does one refuse to give a 75 year old doctor a phone number? Except this year, he called me up a few hours later while I was having a nap. Nothing really, just a "How are you?" and some "Geçmiş olsun," but still it was weird. He called me again today, just checking up. I'm afraid I'm his girlfriend now. I saved his number so I know not to pick up next time.

What the fuck is it about me that I end up in these goddamned situations?And what is it about me that brings on these people?

The doctor started to prescribe me the same antibiotics he did last year. You know, the ones where I have to quest around looking for someone to give me a shot in the ass. So I asked if he couldn't just give me some pills or syrup instead. He knew just the thing. Fucking serum. But I hoped the serum would make me magically well because anything called serum has to have magical powers.

So I paid for the serum (of course, I had to run to the bank for more money because they hospital doesn't take cards), and went into the little room where they give the serum. There was a little boy getting serum, and two women sitting next to him. The girl with psychological problems and who smoked and who was becoming anemic and who needed a whole battery of urine and blood tests was also there with her mother and grandmother. I already knew she was the girl with psychological problems etc. because her mother had busted into the doctor's office while I was in there and sat down and started telling the doctor about all of her daughter's problems and demanding the tests. They were done with their serum and the nurse shooed them off and hooked me up with some serum. The boy's mother offered me a bun. The boy fell asleep right in the middle of Regular Show, which sucked because they turned off Regular Show and put on some stupid fashion program. So I played with my phone the whole time, for like an hour.

When the nurse took out the serum needle, the other end shot blood all over. I checked that the blood hadn't come out of me. There was my blood all over the blankets and sheets and on the floor. I asked her for a tissue to wipe the blood off my arm. As I was getting my stuff together, I saw her begin to swab at the blood on the sheets with a baby wipe.

I was relieved to see the nurse carrying the sheets out a little later. I bet the boy's mom bitched at her. She was the one who had called the nurse in the first place when she saw my serum bottle was empty. She said she'd heard it was bad if air went in your vein. I'd, in fact, been wondering if the serum dripper was designed to avoid such a disaster, and how I was supposed to get someone to come prevent it.

Seriously, I think I need to start going to a different hospital.

I'm going to be 40 tomorrow.

Don't even get me started on the minibus yard my balcony overlooks. I want to make a time-lapse movie of that place. However they back all the minibuses in and out of there and park them is completely impossible, both physically and socially, but it happens every day.

Dissembling a little.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


I've just noticed it's been a very long time since I've posted anything.

It's just that there's not much going on.

Here's one example. A few months back, the IRS sent me a letter. The letter said I still owed them $6.34. The $6.34 is a boring part of a boring story about taxes. Anyway, I thought, "Isn't this just the stupidest thing ever in the world, that they posted me this letter (with a copy of said letter enclosed) saying I owe them about as much as the postage for the letter." But I paid it, and posted it back.

Then I thought, "Why didn't they just send me an email?"

The other day, I got another letter from the IRS. It said that they had received my payment of $6.34 and that my my account was paid in full. No further action necessary. Like the first notice, the envelope contained a copy of the notice.

It turned out the second letter from the IRS was, in fact, the stupidest thing ever in the world.

Then it occurred to me why they didn't just send me an email. The government is trying to keep the US Postal Service alive.

Anyone else remember this? It's so fucking great.

A lot of those people are probably dead by now. Definitely the mailman. But I still like it and it makes me glad I'm American.

No, I'm serious. Sometimes I get glad about cheesy things, you know.

It occurred to me today I rather like the life I've forged for myself, knock on wood. Feeling like this is a sure sign that some shit is just waiting to hit some fan somewhere.

Another thing is that I hooked up an hour a week on the university radio station. I did my first one yesterday. It was intimidating and I totally freaked out beforehand and for the first 20 minutes or so I was totally shaking but in the end it felt cool. This week, the theme was "Happy Birthday, Demir!" and I put together a bunch of songs for my friend's kid, who just turned 3. Also I went to his party after and we had mojitos. Well,not Demir, obviously. He had juice. But this party made me remember the best way to throw a party for a kid is to throw a party for grownups where you let the kids come.

Next week, it's gonna be LE's sixth (sixth!) birthday, and I already planned out a list of his favorite songs.

Anyway, it's Friday at 6 next week, then Friday at 5 after that. And LE has cool taste in music.

You can stream it from here:

So that's something.

There's so much to say about LE I don't even know where to start, so I just won't.

He's fine. I'm fine. We're both fine.

I started playing with Hipstamatic again. It's super fun. Not just because you can make bullshit photos all artistic and shit, but also because of the interface itself. It's kind of like regular cameras in the old days because you have to wait for the flash to warm up and it makes that weird sound, and it kind of takes awhile to make the pictures. Also, it's pretty much up to chance somehow and you never know what you'll end up with, but minus the annoying step of taking the film to get developed and finding out a few days later that half the pictures were shit. It has a thing where you shake the phone and it puts itself on a random combination of film, paper, lens, and flash, which further complicates the unpredictability.

So. For lack of anything interesting to say, I leave you with some faux-artistic bullshit photos.

Mundane things are amazing!

Still haven't managed to hang our pictures.

I made this my phone wallpaper.

I'm easily amazed.

These seem forlorn.

The carpet.

When I took the picture, I noticed the keyboard says "sex" when you look at it right.

This one really sucks.

This looks like a murder scene photo.

Yay, Botan!

Blurry sparkly shit.

Our furniture is in pretty shitty condition.

Night minibus.


Out the window on the night minibus.

More minibus.

I'm a little obsessed with minibuses.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Bout Of Uffishness


 "...He took his vorpal sword in hand:
  Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
  And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
  The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
  And burbled as it came!..."

In general, I try to avoid describing feelings. Not reaction kinds of feelings-- I'm cool with those. I mean those kinds of feelings you wake up with and have all day, maybe because of strange dreams or maybe because of something in the air or maybe just because there's too much of something, like coffee or booze or love. Or too much of nothing, like the kind of nothing space above and below where your heart is that makes your heart feel like it could suddenly drop or fly. It could be that, too.

I've heard varying things about Jabberwocky, how it's a lot of made-up words, and how it's not a lot of made up words, and how a lot of words in it used to not be words, but now they are. I don't know which is right. I'm not going to bother researching it because the Internet, as much as I love it, is full of a lot of bullshit and made-up shit and shit that sounds right, but isn't.

I don't know when the word "uffish" started growing in my head as a word to describe this feeling I've had all day. In high school, probably. But it's a feeling I have often enough that it's worth having a word for.

The feeling happens most often on these sudden warm days that herald spring, where the smell of warm is in the air on every breath and the saps are rising, both the real and metaphorical saps, I mean.

Uffishness is weird because it's not quite anxiety and it's not quite anticipation. When the hero of the poem was standing and thinking and waiting for the Jabberwock, which he'd been questing after for quite some time, did he have a feeling of dread, or was he excited about the sort of hero he would become? Or was maybe he stricken with a momentary something-like-ennui because exactly nothing, heartspace empty above and below, was happening at the moment before the Jabberwock appeared? Somewhere between your heart beating too fast in your throat and beating too slow in your stomach.

LE was a bit off today, too. He cried a lot this morning because whatever he was feeling was too big to stomach in his little body, and only tears and screaming could help sort it out. It started because he was mad I wouldn't use real money to buy his avatar a helmet in this online soldier game he's into, but shortly into the tears it became apparent the real problem was that he always does what I want, but I don't always do what he wants.

He's right. It sucks to be a kid. When he finally acquiesced to cuddling, I told him that it sucks to be a kid. And, figuring he was susceptible and not stubborn and maybe ready to learn stuff at that moment, I told him life wasn't fair and nothing is fair and maybe because he was a kid, things were not going to be fair in his favor very often. Probably it was mean to tell him that, and I used to hate it when my dad told me that, but it's true and there you go. I promised him there are a whole lot of things that aren't fair in my favor that he doesn't even know about because he's little.

Better in French, non?
He was okay for most of the day, even though he was still mad at me about the helmet, but we agreed not to talk about it. He didn't bring it up anymore, probably because he was afraid I'd tell him more terrible truths about life. I don't blame him.

Tonight he got mad at me again, over something less trivial than the virtual helmet. Okay, I won't keep it a secret. It was because I told him to eat his dinner. I'm a shit mom that way. 

Instead of screaming, "I hate you!" he screamed, "Hate me! Don't love me anymore!"

If only I could have said it so succinctly like that between the ages of 9 and 17, my adolescence probably would have gone more smoothly.

So I showed him some videos on You Tube of kids throwing tantrums. One of them was even throwing her Christmas presents as she pulled them from the stocking. LE was appalled. He was glad he wasn't as shitty as those kids. So was I. 

He totally had this tantrum one time.

Then he curled his wet, snotty face into my armpit and fell into a sweaty sleep. His head smelled like shampoo and dog. Shampoo because last night he washed his hair all by himself, and dog because he was out in the pre-spring sun running in the street all day. He didn't get into a fight with the kid he always fights with, not even once. He has long legs and he kickjumps in circles and skips while the other kids are arguing about whether it was a goal or not.

As for me, the saps are settling a bit. In my mind, unlike Grendl and Goliath and a bunch of other big things that needed killing by guys who needed to be their killers, the Jabberwock never really gets killed. You're just always waiting for it and you never really find out what it looks like.

Callooh, callay.

Even about to get fucked is better in French.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Slow, Slow, Take It Slow... Crumbling

For awhile there, especially after I got divorced, I was blogging every single Turkey challenge I clumsily managed like it was some kind of major fucking triumph. I couldn't help it. It felt good. Getting divorced felt good and getting people to do what I wanted felt good and dealing with simple things like ordering a bottle of water over the phone felt good. Even going to the market and coming home with some parsley and an onion felt good.

Actually, all of that still feels good. I'm not really off the divorce cloud yet, be sure. But I thought maybe the whole "making such-and-such my bitch" blogthing was getting a little old. It's not that I've stopped making stuff be my bitch. It's just that I've stopped writing about it so much.

I read something recently (I can't say where because I read a lot of crap every day) about how people's ability to delude themselves about their own selves is one of the things that gets us through the day, every day. Maybe it's because my 40th is looming, or maybe it's because it's hard to believe that things are mostly good, that I started thinking all of this bitch-making, plus some other stuff, plus the drinking, is all just masking some kind of profound unhappiness and deep dissatisfaction with everything. Maybe I'm masterfully deluding myself that everything is as good as it seems to be.

Or maybe I really do just like booze and other stuff and making shit my bitch and life is surprisingly still okay, knock on wood. It's hard to say what's true and what's a masterful lie, in terms of just about everything.

So the other night, some friends came over for dinner and it was a good idea all around. We had mulled wine, and I was going to make some pasta, and we talked an awful lot of shop (most of my friends are work friends, after all) plus some juicy as fuck gossip about people who I have to face this coming Monday without giggling, or bitch slapping then giggling.

I am a useless piece of annoying shit.
I have this thing in my kitchen I never wanted, which is some goddamn apparatus that detects gas leaks. Given the smell of gas, I suppose my nose is a good enough detector of gas leaks. I guess it's possible the gas could start leaking at night while I was asleep, but WTF? I've had gas in my house since my late teens and I've never died from it, so as far as I'm concerned, the gas leak detector is a useless piece of shit that people buy because of a terror they never knew they had.

Seriously, if someone were going to make a useful detector, it would be an earthquake detector that warned me 24 hours in advance that there was going to be a big earthquake so I could get the fuck out of Dodge with the requisite paperwork and bottled water. In light of the earthquake, the gas leak detector is a whole lot of meh.

The problem with gas leak detectors is that, like cheap smoke detectors, they get set off by all kinds of things, like steam and interesting smells. The pot of mulled wine heating on the stove, plus perhaps the heat of 4 people snarking in the kitchen and the gas detector started making its horrible buzz. The only way to shut it up was to open all the windows.

I channel you sometimes.
In our old house upstairs, the gas detector started going off all the time in a similarly useless way. I made BE call the Bosch servis guy to check that all was in order and to find out if it was okay if we just killed the fucking gas detector. The Bosch servis guy assured us that as long as we didn't mention we heard it from him, it would be fine to kill the gas detector. Since I was the person in the house that fixed shit, I cut the power at the main, and then I climbed our metal ladder with a flashlight between my teeth wearing rubber soled shoes because I'm such a fucking expert in electricity or whatever, and I used my Felcos to cut the wires of the gas detector. In the interest of safety, I wrapped the cut wire-ends in electrical tape. Nobody died in the process, and we never heard a peep from the stupid gas detector again.

In our new house downstairs, the other night was the first time the stupid gas detector went off. It was fucking annoying. And just to show it was cooler than the one upstairs, this one automatically cut the gas off in addition to buzzing annoyingly.

Whatever. I still made the food on the one electric burner. The house was getting cold because it was like 0 C outside, but the wine and the company and the giggling made up for that wee problem and I just figured everything would sort itself out eventually because often enough, that's what happens.

Except it didn't sort itself out. The next morning the house was cold enough that LE bitched about he cold and he's the guy who whips all his clothes off like Bruce Lee while I'm shivering in a wool sweater and a fleece, unable to feel the hand the works the mouse.

I have nothing better to do than solve your stupid problems.

But I had to go to work and give some make-up exams to people who don't seem to understand what break means, because teachers are just their personal exam-giving robots or something. And when I came home from work, the gas problem has still failed to sort itself out.

Cleverly, first thing in the morning, I had presented my gas problem on Facebook because, while I was totally prepared to make someone my bitch and get the gas turned on, I had no idea who I was supposed to call. The gas people? The Bosch people? My landlord? Some other people? God forbid I would have to involve my ex somehow, since it's his name on the gas account and the rental contract.

According to what I learned on Facebook from people who are way smarter than I am, I called the gas people. The first guy I talked to seemed willing to help, and got our tesisat number off an old gas bill I'd had the foresight to have handy, and transferred me to another guy who was maybe willing to help, but I couldn't tell since he apparently had no teeth and talked without moving his lips. Granted my phone skills have improved, but I do have my limits. He was saying something about a black circular thing near the numbers on the meter, that all I had to do was pull it. The only black circular thing near the numbers on my meter was a screw that I could tell wasn't connected to anything, but I pulled it and pushed it and turned it a little and told the guy there wasn't any circular thing near the numbers on my meter. There was another silver circular thingy up above the meter, and I turned it too, for good measure, but truth be told, anything to do with gas or electricity scares the bejeezus out of me and I wasn't willing to fuck around with anything else on the meter, circular or otherwise.

He told me I had to talk to the Bosch people, and gave me a number. While I was looking for a pen, LE turned on one of his Calliou videos that has gut-wrenching high volume so I yelled at him and found a pen and took the number.

Then I felt bad about yelling at LE even though I'd warned him in advance that I had to sort out a difficult phone problem and there was a good chance I'd get all yell-y. So I gave him a cuddle and apologized and he apologized and then he accidentally broke the cigarette I was about to go out and smoke by way of a break from all of this, and he apologized again and I cuddled him again and went out and smoked the cigarette without the filter and LE laughed at me through the window as I spit bits of tobacco into the trash can. It was a totally unsatisfying cigarette, which I probably deserved in some way.

I called Bosch and explained the problem, but the call center lady was inordinately focussed on whether my stove was working or not. I assured her the stove was fine but we had no gas because of the fucking gas detector. So was it my kombi that wasn't working, she wondered? I told her assumed the kombi was working fine, but I had no way of knowing because of the goddamned gas detector. In fact, all she was interested in was which of my Bosch white goods wasn't working, and she transferred me to the heating department. I explained the problem all over again to the heating department lady, and she told me I needed to call the gas company. I told her the gas company had told me to call them. I totally fucked up the embedded noun clause required to tell her this, but she took it like a champ and gave me another phone number. I repeated it back to her to make sure I'd written it right. It was right.

So I called the other phone number and it was someone's house. I apologized appropriately. The woman who answered the phone was nice about it, though she seemed faintly disappointed I didn't want to talk more. I thought about all the wrong number calls I've had here, where the person calling acts like you've done something with the person they're calling for and then just wants to keep on chatting, so maybe my apology wasn't so appropriate after all.

Fuck. I decided just to start all over again.

The gas company guy transferred me to another guy who had teeth and used his lips to speak. That guy started going on again about the circular thing near the numbers and I told him I had no idea what what he was talking about and he offered to send some guys over to check it out and I happily accepted his offer. He said they'd be over within the hour.

It's a matter of form.
I told LE that if those guys came within the hour, he was for sure going to have a bath. He was beyond due for a bath and getting stinky. LE pitched his usual bath fuss even though once he's in the bath, he thinks it's the best place ever.

The guys really did turn up within the hour. And that silver circular thing on the meter nowhere near the numbers that I'd turned earlier? All I'd needed to do was pull it. The guy pushed and pulled it a few times to show me how easy it was. He seemed to want to treat me like I was an idiot, but he also seemed to enjoy being my gas-turning-on hero, so he was torn. I tried to explain to him that the guy on the phone had mentioned a black circular thing near the numbers, which was why I hadn't messed with that other silver circular thing, but that required an even more complicated embedded noun clause. He told me to go turn on the stove to make sure the gas was working. It was. So then I asked him if there was any way I could just kill the stupid gas detector, but he thought that was inadvisable. I told him I hated the gas detector and that it was useless if it goes from steam and cooking, and he was all, "Yeah, even garlic and kolonya sets those things off." He pushed and pulled the silver circular thingie a few more times to demonstrate what I should do if the gas detector went off uselessly again.

And I thanked him the five different ways you thank people and they went on their way and LE had his bath and everyone was happy.

I still haven't killed the gas detector. I'm considering it, but I'm afraid it'll make my landlord suspicious if two gas detectors are disabled.

And even after all of that, I didn't feel like I made anything my bitch. For sure I'm never calling Bosch servis again about the actual problems I'm having with my kombi, but that's about the only take-away I have from this.

Ah, Turkey. It was fun making you my bitch, you voodoo minx princess. But for now, I'm just gonna make love to you in my sleep, and Lord knows you'll feel no pain.

 Our relationship has moved to the next level somehow.