Monday, 17 October 2011

eligible candidate on bus 169

went for a job interview today. on the way i was asked to present a document - i unzipped my bag and started rummaging for my passport. nearly had a heart attack as, digging deep with my hand i discovered... a loaded SPIDERMAN GUN, complete with two bullets and a swirling trigger.
can i get more professional than that?
on my way out of the house - our landlady decided to play mrs. Wisdom and proffered the following immortal statement "good luck. but please remember that you have kids. so it is either kids or career. cant have them both". that somehow cracked me up "nothing to worry" i reassured her " i have never had a career for starters!" -
reaching the private university where the interview was taking place was a 45 minutes affair. on the bus. on a windy, cold, cloudy day. the bus was packed with people and it slowly skirted the entire gulf - elbowing its long red body through traffic.
it was the first time i ventured onto a bus after two years here and i would sum the experience up as "something lacking any form of compromise".
in terms of olfactory, visual and anthropological inputs.
in terms of...
colourful headscarves; huge bosoms; walrus bismarckian moustaches stained by decades of tobacco; bushy ears; monobrows; hungry eyes; high school uniforms.
there was an infant in the seat by one of the doors and i could not help thinking he looked uncannily like roman polanski.
trying to keep myself occupied with less cruel mental extravaganzas - i focused on the sea outside...a limitless sequence of grey waves.
and i felt mellow (happily so) - telling myself that the sea on cold, winter-like days is so beautiful...unfolding in its untamed darkness and irregular, sudden creases.
and that interviews are easy, too easy really - especially when deep down. in truth. you never care. really care i mean.
had i been jim morrison - i would have written some pretentious lyrics to render this state of mind. perhaps with teenage-like intensity. perhaps something cornily pretentious. perhaps:
oh dear.
how naff.
then came the spiderman gun.
and my day was made.

Sunday, 16 October 2011


the 33rd edition of the istanbul ("eurasia") marathon took place today. (main pic on the homepage not exactly doing a great marketing job, btw...)
it was a hazy, rainy day and as the tv sent us images of breathtaking views of the endless vastitude of housing blocks and roads; monumental palaces, bridges and traffic A.K.A. istanbul - an overexcited commentator was trying to interrupt participants doing their routine warming up, minutes before the start. a while before he had been praising the essence of the sporting event as "east embracing west -- europe reaching out to asia and vice versa" and he was now trying to ask elaborate questions. in english.
it will never cease to surprise me. the duly sense of heroicism turkish people attach to certain events. whenever they talk about their family, country, history - they never produce anything short of epic. try to smile and you will cause major offence. they are proud to speak up about their patriotism and express child-like disappointment if they are confronted with any kind of criticism (let alone critical approach) to one's own land / family / background of origin.
so the journalist approached a black, skinny man in red shorts - one of those marathon runners from northern africa you always expect to make it in the first 10 - and asked him in the loudest voice he had.
The poor runner kept on smiling, shaking his head - half in terror, half in embarassment
"i do not understand" he replied in french
"i do not understand!".
and this is generally the type of situation that encourages a turkish interlocutor to repeat the question twice - screaming even louder. which, punctually happened. prompting the main images on the screen to quickly go back to the bosphorous draped in grey, low clouds.
i will never get the way people here use the verb "to love". they overdose on it. really. how nice many might say. not really, i shall remark. especially when you hear it at work.
imagine starting a meeting with your manager / principal - sitting down, expecting to talk about schedule issues and hearing first instead.
"you know we love you very much.
we love you. i love you. very much. very much".
imagine wiping off a whiteboard and turning to the sound of "teacher. we love you" - uttered in the sternest voice. and with the sternest face. point blank.
imagine being delivered your coffee - accompanied by the sentence
"if you EVER leave. remember we love you. we love you soooo much. we love you. and we love your children. really" -- and always with the same, very resolute --- kind of homicidally serious face.
and you nod and mutter "thank you". and look up. look away. look somewhere else. like. to the side. like. behind them. behind all of these "i love you's". only to meet the most heroic faces of all. the constantly present portrayt of the Man himself: i.e. ataturk... looking at you surrounded by some god-like halo, his lips tight under a thick moustache.
and this vision - somehow - always manages to conjure the feeling that everything does make much sense. even the overdose on the L-word.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

random bits, various bobs (as turkish summer fades away...)

hooked on his acting style - hooked on his website + blog
brilliant piece from the international herald tribune, a couple of weeks ago. starts off in rather predictable fashion...ends in a witty, remarkable way.
by aidan foster carter.
inspired by turkey / istanbul?
sounds like atkins - turkish version!
rather absorbed by interior design craze. mudo is a brilliant local brand
another genius brand from here
"crazy stupid love" - (...great title too)
while still immune to community trade initiatives. and still puzzled by other responsible-tagged trends...
oddly fascinated by campaigns like this one...