While these entries will have what appears to be only a vaguely marginal connection to Turkish Hands, you can be assured, as I remind myself, that the subterranean connection runs deeper than you or I even know. There is a genetic history running through my veins of more than 200 years, and maybe as long as 500 on my father’s side. Add to that at least 100 more on my son’s father’s side and our combined face to face experience of Turkey for over 12 years, and you will understand that anything I have to say is colored by this heritage. It’s what makes me who I am not, as much as who I am, and leaves me in the position of perpetual outlier and observer. As I sit in a local library in Arlington, VA writing this, I can watch families of bike riders take off their helmets, park their bikes at bike racks, buy yogurt and berry smoothies and play outdoor chess with King-size pieces that you barely have to bend over to move. I’m hooked up to the library’s own wi-fi service so I can blog this. There are people who drove here to eat at one of 15 restaurants, get a massage, visit the theater or have a leisurely Saturday coffee with a friend. I look at this, alone in a library chair, and wonder what my place is out there. I wonder how that fills people up and if I would be filled up if I picked a destination and a place to spend money and moved from activity to activity. I suppose it would because that’s what so many people do.
If this were Turkey, I certainly wouldn’t be sitting in a public library or using a computer attached to free public wi-fi. I might be blogging from an internet café, but I wouldn’t be riding a bike, and if someone daring enough to do so came by, he wouldn’t be wearing a helmet or parking it anywhere but a pole or tree. I wouldn’t be watching people playing outdoor chess, though I would probably be able to watch them having a picnic replete with blankets, aunts, uncles, neighbors, their own grills or kerosene devices, a giant watermelon, plastic bottles of coke and fanta and a bunch of trash that they’ll leave behind because there won’t be a garbage can anywhere in sight.
Do you see what I’m getting at?
In Turkey people would be in groups on their day off, spending the time with food and friends, while in Arlington they’ll spend it alone or in tiny family units and there will be an objective and a goal and consumerism involved. It will be an activity with a clear end time.