Thursday, November 3, 2011

Appliance angst

Many years ago, over Thai food in San Francisco, I talked to one of my best friends about her unexpected anxiety over buying appliances with her then-boyfriend (now husband). They have a rock-solid relationship and were already living together at the time. What was the big deal about jointly owning a washer? But at a point in our lives when furniture still meant your college roommate's old hand-me-down futon, there was something a bit too, well, heavy about these hefty purchases, something a bit too "adult."

When I moved to Istanbul, I pared down what I'd acquired over the post-college decade (which, for the record, never included any appliances larger than a toaster), returning to a transient state I've kept justifying over nearly four years with the idea that I might not be here that long. Then, last month, I decided to abandon shared-flat living and get my own apartment.

Here in Turkey, unfurnished apartments are just that -- no refrigerator, no oven, nada in the way of what is called beyaz eşya (white goods). I'm considered lucky because my new place came with curtains and some light fixtures -- even some light bulbs. A bit of panic about the weightiness of appliance-shopping once again set in. It seemed so permanent, not to mention confusing. But with the help of a dear and trusted friend, I managed to muster up the courage to go shopping...

...and last night two men appeared at my door with a refrigerator and an oven. After crossing the threshold, they set down their bulky loads and carefully slipped shower-cap-like blue plastic booties over their shoes to protect my newly cleaned floors. They maneuvered the goods into the kitchen, told me how to set the fridge's temperature and clean its interior, showed me how to use the oven with its fancy press-button starter, and noted I needed to replace my gas hose. Then they left with a "Güle güle kullan" -- use it happily.

Does this mean I'm an adult now?