and the phone rang again and again

August 3, 2014


Change, been talking of change and change came.

I picked up my bag and decided to go out for espresso. On my way I see Selin. She asks me if I have any shows anywhere soon and I say that there are no shows in sight… everything is quiet on that front, Atolye having stopped the music. I said my life feels kind of meaningless without the playing. I start to wonder what the heck I am doing here… we hug and continue on.

At Lavazza, I am writing the last post for this blog, The phone rests on the table next to me, largely ignored. For one, it has been pretty much silent for the last 3,4 weeks, so I don’t expect any calls, I don’t look at it much, maybe once or twice a day. It mainly serves as an alarm clock in the morning. So I am a bit surprised when I see the blinking red light signaling a message; Gokhan a bass player, percussionist friend of Volga. I call him. No answer.

A bit later, another message from Gokhan,. I send him a message, we get into an exchange. He invites me for coffee and then a drum workshop tomorrow, we’ll meet at 1 PM at Taksim. I write back, “Yes to everything!”

I keep writing. Again, the blinking red light comes to life. I look, unknown number. Soon after another blinking light… Text message in Turkish. I start to decipher…I understand that it is Selda from Leyla Teras, a place in Taksim that I used to play at with Eren last fall. She says she is working in a cafe in Dalyan. I have no idea what Dalyan is, maybe it’s another Taksim establishment? Maybe it’s a place in Turkey. Then she says “Buraya gelmek ister misin muzik yapmak icin” then she says call me. So in my bad Turkish I understand : to this place you want to come to make music. Whoa… Work. Music work.

I had been pondering lately the fact that this breakfast work albeit cool because of all my cool Chillout friends and cool people who go there was kind of getting me in a bit of a dead end… a loop that I got into so very quickly; earn 25 lira a day, spend most of it in no time (funny how we condition ourselves to spend every penny available so quickly and perfectly, so you make 25 lira you spend 23, you make $500 you spend $496… and never have any money) The early morning work disabling my ability to go out at night and make contacts with musicians and venues because I need to go sleep, practically destroying any chances of playing shows…

Then yet another message… really? What is this suddenly?

This time it’s Mahir, right now he is in his village in Eastern Turkey. He wrote: “Hey darling, how are you? What are you doing? Where are you? Kiss Mahir.”

I respond: “Sitting at Lavazza writing. Are you back?” I asked that because it sounded like he wanted to meet… maybe he was back?

8 minutes later the phone rings again… decidedly… Selda. She speaks to me in Turkish, I try to understand as much as I can. She tells me I could come to work in Dalyan where she is now working in a cafe. I would play, every night until the 20 something of August… then says more things I don’t quite get… food, place to stay… I tell her that I should try to get a friend to talk to her so I can really understand the fine points of her offer… she says something I don’t get and hangs up. Soon he phone rings again, it’s a friend of hers, speaks a not too bad English. I get the details. Play solo for August and September, every night until the 21st then every second night. 50 lira a night. Room and board. They need an answer soon… I ask if they can send me a message with all the details written so I can look at it and give them a decision tomorrow. He says OK.

I sit there my heart beating slightly faster. Well, well… a few days ago I had had this moment of overwhelming deep knowing that “everything was going to change” something feeling so powerful tears came to my eyes. I cannot explain the phenomenon, it’s not the first time but it’s one of these things I just “KNOW” to be meaningful. well, here it is… part of it… oha… I sit there my mind starting to race, I will need to see the details written, then I can absorb it all and decide… What should I do? I have been getting fed up with the heat, the city, the dirt, Tarlabsi’s hopelessness… I go on the internet, find Dalyan… it’s posted by a river, there are tons of trees, a little mountain with ancient toombs carved on its side… wow.

I go back to writing, finish the post and put it up. I pay for my coffee, head towards home, thinking about all this… I stop at Chillout on the way. My phone rings again…


“Hey it’s Meron…”


We chat a bit, I tell him how much I missed him, ask when is he coming back… he says he’s in Italy still, will come soon. Then he hangs up saying he didn’t want my call to cost too much. I had wondered how he could reach me here from Italy… I thought maybe it’s Skype or something… I hang up. Go back inside. Selin shows up. I tell her about the offer that came right after we had talked on the street about having no music work… Oh how strange all these coincidences. Inside I see everyone, Mehmet Can, Rebeca, then I am shocked to see Ibrahim, whom I did not identify right away, he has cut all of his glorious hair… We laugh, he’s embarrassed. I give Rebeca a massage, then decide I should go home to play my guitar.

I leave. I not quite seeing, being all absorbed in my thoughts. I’ll have to call Selda tomorrow and give an answer. Down Balyoz Sokak, then in front of Pera Muzesi… then I hear something… hmm? It’s my name. I turn around… and there on the street between TRT building and the Büyük Londres Oteli, the yellow lights shining behind him stands Meron.

I yelp loudly. AHHHH!!!!! MEROOOOOOON! We hug. I start to cry. I mean, 40 minutes ago he was on the phone in Italy…. What an incredible feeling. Friends… Friends… There he is. He’s been away for 3 months which seem like years in Istanbul time. It was a long greeting. I cannot believe my eyes, I just go on and on about it… we stop for çorba at Nizam. The waiter is all smiles, looking, acting like a boy. Turkish people are like that when they are not stressed, all smiles, jokes. We talk, eat. Just like good old days… Then his phone rings… Orçun, we will go meet Orçun at Rock & Rolla. There it’s a beautiful reunion. I even have a beer. Firat joins us… we laugh talk. Oh the night life… it’s been such a long time since I’ve felt the Istanbul night… At some point I am getting so sleepy, it’s way past my “morning person” bed time. We head home, talk some more then it’s time to quit for the day.

I go to bed but sleep doesn’t join me. My head is racing through everything… there is noise and the heat in the room is stiffling. 3, 4 in the morning… still no sleep. Then suddenly it’s 7:30 I wake up begrudgingly, time to go to work. On the way to work I notice the black clouds over the Haliç… It will rain… My windows are open… I wonder if the roof repair will work? I get to Chillout and message Meron to close the windows please and move the couch in my room away from the wall… I hope he gets this…

Chillout, breakfasts, dishes, heat, the four hours of my shift go by. Will it rain? I ask Ayna who has a smart phone, she says nope. No rain on the forecast. At 12:30 a downpour starts. Shit.. should have followed my knowingness… The rain falls like monsoon. A few French guys head out only to come back in about 40 seconds later, completely soaked. Meron calls, I ask about the windows… the instruments… my books… he is not at home. He will go, will be there in 5 minutes… Thanks!!! I say. This is a very violent storm which I learned later on came borne on a twister cloud.

In the meantime Gökhan messages me, lets meet at 1:30 PM. 1:15 PM its over. I head over to Taksim to meet him. I get a message from Meron: my guitar is completely soaked he said… Bağlama looks OK. But the guitar he says has about a cup of water inside… Oh… My… God… My guitar… a sickly sense fills me. This is all I have… my instrument, my livelihood, oh and what of my delay pedal… is it full of water too? Gökhan arrives on this. I feel like running back home to see the damage… Meron says don’t worry, go on…. But, but, but… I hang up.

What’s up? Gökhan asks.

Part of me wants to crumble… run… this out of control feeling is not good… But at the same time, I have to be civilized… don’t want to act like a twerp. I tell him. “my guitar… my guitar…” He says there is no point in panicking. Yes, yes I know. So there I decided to just accept this and go on with the day. What can I do anyways? We go for coffee. I tell him about the job offer. Show him the messages.

“What do you think?”

In short he says I should go for it. His phone rings, he goes away to answer, I grab mine and message back Selda: I will do it. Clunk. The decision is made.

She says I should book my flight. Will do.

Volga arrives, we head out to the old city for the rhythm workshop with the Spanish dancers. I learn cool stuff. For a bit I forget about this job, the guitar, the rain, and all the other things… when it’s over I head to Chillout to book the flight ticket. It takes a bit of doing. I run into credit card issues… there is so much security that most of the time the cards are unusable. I finally get this booked. Holy shit. I am going. It feels good, it feels crazy. What if??? well there is no what iffing… I think it’s the greatest good… it will pass so fast.

Today is August 3rd. My flight is booked for August 5th. I’ll start working on August 6th. Whoa. It will be the end of September when I’m done.

Change came.

Into change I plunge.


2 Responses to “and the phone rang again and again”

  1. sam Says:

    D, Please let me know about how the guitar is. Can it be saved? S

  2. Sam I think it is OK. I don’t know if something would show up in the longer term… right now it seems OK. Tough little thing it is!

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