Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bookserf: A Bit Of Awesome

Yeah, yeah, I know. It seems like I've quit the blog. I haven't, really. It's just that when things are going relatively well, there's not much to write about. Not that I'm sulking around and looking for bad things to write about. More that I feel like an insufferable dick when I write about good things. It's too much like image-crafting, and it's hard work.

As though I'm not image-crafting when I write about bad things. It's just that the bad-things image comes more naturally.

One thing is the word "awesome." It's beyond back (back from the 80s, I mean) and it's sunk its claws into me. After the 80s, "awesome" became pretty much limited to the realm of skaters and surfers and tanned adventure people. But then everyone started saying it again. I resisted at first. I tried to affect curmudgeonly annoyance with the return of the word.

But then a friend from high school came to visit with his fiancee. I was kind of nervous about them staying with me because I hadn't seen this guy since around the time he graduated high school 20 years ago. People can change in unpleasant ways. They grow up into other people. The fiancee I'd never met at all.

I've known this guy since we were around 10, and I always liked him well enough even though he was more my younger brother's friend than mine. But we all hung out together in high school, and I'll tell you what, we had some serious life-learning adventures.
He undraped for the picture.

I'm getting to the Bookserf thing, I promise.

And it was great, their visit I mean, and my friend and his fiancee were also great. It was like picking up where we left off only without all the adolescent hangups to tiptoe around. They were the best houseguests ever because it was just normal having them around, like family. Even LE, who's normally pretty shy of strangers, was punching my friend's arm within a minute of meeting them at the bus stop, and already saying, "Look what I can do!" before we'd even gotten through the doors of the ice cream place I'd bribed him with for staying up really late to come meet our friends at the bus stop. The next morning I awoke to find my friend and LE on the floor watching cartoons with LE draped languidly like a cat over his shoulders.

Also they said "awesome" a lot. And it stuck. I can't stop saying it. I can't stop thinking it. But you know what? As the economy is collapsing and the world is maybe coming to an end and each day brings a new dose of uncertainty in ironic, literary proportions (you can choose your author each day-- Orwell? Kafka? Camus? Palahnuik? McCarthy?), believing everything is awesome makes the experience of being alive in Istanbul at this moment, well... awesome.

Whether it's a delusion or a coping strategy or whatever, I don't care. It's working for me.

So, speaking of awesome, I finally met the Bookserf guys. One of them contacted me on FB last year about getting the word out about them on my blog and around my university. I didn't really have time to follow up, though I wanted to, and then there was Gezi, and then I was busy again with work. I haven't had a chance till this week to finally sit down with these guys, borrow a book, and find ways to get the word out.

Bookserf is essentially a book exchange, but with some good twists. You choose the book you want from
their website and leave your contact info under it. Then you arrange to meet the owner of the book (their profiles are on the site), borrow the book, which you give back two weeks later. If you want, you can talk about the book and literature and all the other great stuff there is in the world to talk about.

Most of the books are in English, by the way. And they have for-real good books, not shitty romance novels abandoned by couch-surfers.

If the other book owners are anything like Kerem and Erbil, it's probably worth it to hang out and talk about the book or whatever else. Sometimes I'm completely awed at the people Istanbul unlocks.

Did you see how I just used "awed" there instead of "awesome?" Don't think for a second I don't know what "awesome" meant before it became an overused tool in my quest to make my life a cooler place to live. It's probably part of the reason it works, feeling awed several times a week.

Midday beers, smart guys bursting with ideas, and Kerem lent me a really good book.
I'm pretty sure I need that cool fisheye attachment.
It's things like this, books and talking and all the other good stuff that goes on that I don't write about that make me think the revolution or whatever is going to be okay so long as there are real people and these small acts of subversion. The way things are now, sharing and kindness are subversive. It's awesome.

It's also worth pointing out that these two guys are rocking the mustaches.

And anything that reminds me of this song is good.

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