Wednesday, October 1, 2008

High Turknology

Even though we're thousands of miles away, all the ex-pats here are still avidly following the U.S. presidential race--perhaps even more keenly than we might have before since we can see firsthand what political developments back home do to the perception of America (and Americans) abroad.

After a night out at a meyhane and then one of Istanbul's many identical Efes-swilling establishments, I was really in no shape to stay up until 4 a.m., when the first presidential debate was aired in these parts. So Saturday afternoon I found myself venturing out into the rain to watch a taped screening hosted by my local chapter of Democrats Abroad, whereupon I encountered perhaps the best example yet of what my friends call Turknology: a video projector stuck to the ceiling with packing tape. Amazingly, it stayed up there for the full 90+ minutes of the debate.

Now, when people talk about Turknology, they're usually complaining about slap-dash workmanship, the kind that leads to just-"fixed" roofs springing a leak and things like that. But there's also an element of ingenuity and unbridled optimism to it that I (of course--I've got a bad reputation over here for such thoughts) find quite charming. Sure, the ambition is not always, or even often, matched by accomplishment, but people are always trying to find ways to get stuff done. Unoccupied car blocking the middle of a busy road? Pick it up and move it along to the side. Rain pooling on top of a tarp? Poke the bottom of it with a stick. (Never mind the people standing nearby.) A couple of yabancıs buy too much furniture and try to stuff it all in a taxicab? Have one of them lie on top of the furniture in the back seat! (No thanks, I'll walk.)

I actually feel a bit put out now when people don't try to find a make-shift solution to a problem. When I went to Bulgaria at the end of April, I got up to the door of the once-a-day bus to a monastery I really wanted to visit, only to find that the bus was full. The driver just shrugged and drove off and I walked away thinking, if I were in Turkey, they would have let me sit in the aisle, hang out the door, tied me to the roof... When there's Turknology, there's always a way!


Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention the luggage compartment of the bus!

It was on the news during Ramazan (Ramadan) Bayrami that couple of guys were sold places, and they happily took, in the luggage compartment of the intercity bus, which was full.

Welcome to Turkey!


Turk Anne said...

Cok guldum, tesekkurler.
Ameikada bir Turk anne...

The Turkish Life said...

Glad you got a laugh out of it, Shima.

The bus luggage compartment story is great!

melek said...

ahhh mükemmel bir türk işçiliği