Turkish teenage zombies
Last weekend I was traveling from one side of Istanbul to another. That takes a few hours. I know the mainstream thing to do is to be armed with one of Steve Job's IPods for company, but for heaven sakes, I'm in Istanbul! If I just keep my eyes and ears open, entertainment will present itself.
Henry James said we should aspire to be "one of those on whom nothing is lost.” You can't very well do that with earbuds blaring. If you look around at bus passengers quite a few of them will have silenced the world deliberately with their earbuds. Yet, the average bus is full of people bursting with their stories. Somehow, I usually sit next to someone who tells me an interesting tale.
There was the pretty 17-year-old Turkish girl, dressed in a tutu, coming home from volunteering at Istanbul Fashion Week and dreaming of being "Carrie" in New York City. Then there was the Turkish man whose wife had left him. He told me all about the Russian woman he was in love with and showed me pictures of her and her friends. There was a young woman who served as a translator for her father's Turkish business. The parent in me easily imagined his pride hearing her describe how she translated for him as he pursued international contracts. There was a young architect wanting to try out his ideas about public spaces on a Westerner. A college student, inquiring where I was from, soon to interview with an American company for a work/study program and nervous about his English, gratefully accepting my offer of practice interview questions as we rode along our route. What is one CD of music on an IPod compared to this fascinating parade of my fellow human beings and their hopes and dreams?
Walking through the Metro last weekend, I was taken aback to see a young person with rivulets of blood running down his face coming right toward me. I drew back shocked. Then I saw another equally bloody. I realized this wasn't people who were actually injured. "Hey Zombies?" I called out, "are you Turkish? Can I take your picture?"
"Of course." Their whole contingent appeared, splattered in blood, dripping expertly-placed eyeballs and pieces of fake flesh. They stopped, posed, and were off. I wouldn't even have had my earbuds out had I been wearing them before they passed by. It is way more fun to keep my eyes, my ears, and my mind open to the city to see and hear the people, and zombies, out enjoying their weekend.