Suspension II in Sarıyer

March 14, 2015


The quietness. I am in Sarıyer, north of Beyoğlu, by the magnificent Bosphorus. The bus wound its way rebounding between the sharp curves and narrow streets, I thought I would throw up. A woman plops herself next to me, there are a bunch of empty seats but here, women go sit with women. Out the window, it’s more like a village. There is a steep hill facing the Bosphorus and the houses hang on there tooth and nail, the old type of houses, wooden, high, with balconies and fancy woodwork, I think they are called “Yalı”

I get to the prescribed bus stop. Get out. Fresh air. Sea like air that should right my stomach. I stop for a moment to reorganize my load: guitar, bağlama and small backpack. I look at the directions on the phone message, the street is right in front of me. I slowly walk up. “In 100 meters you will see a big wooden house…” I see one but it seems too good to be true and the door numbers on the street don’t match the one written in the directions.

“Dani!” I look up, Elvan is there, on one of the balconies of the house. It is true, İ have arrived.

The last week had it’s share of sleepless nights. Dormitory life has its issues. Two nights with a thoughtless girl who made so much noise, was totally unaware of her surroundings… then last night or should I say this morning, there were two new travelers. They got up at 6 AM, I had gone to bed at 3AM, so that didn’t make for an easy room-share. They proceeded to rearrange their suitcases in the early morning and redesign the metal locker’s layout. Then they left, only to come back twice, waking me up every time. I am starting to wish for male dormitory mates. Guys are simple. They come in the room and go to bed. Granted many snore, but earplugs take care of that (well usually) Then they wake up and get out of the room. Done. Girls on the other hand, are into vast rituals of clothing, nail polishing, fragrances spraying, hair spraying, deodorant spraying, hair drying, make up applicating, multiple clothes changing and bags and suitcase re-organization, and a thing I have come to have to admit too, incredible messyness with trinkets, bottles, socks, shirts ALL OVER the room… Which means that more than likely you will not have any peace. And then, the smells… all these chemicals floating in the stuffy overheated air of a tiny room. I started to wonder if maybe I am the one who is really, really weird by abhoring taking parts in these rituals of femininity… set me free baby…

Why do I go to bed that late? you ask, If I’d get to bed earlier the “safe sleep hours” would augment dramatically… I think I’m trying to find peace and quiet. By staying up, usually crowds thin out, disappear, then I can just hang in the quietness. But lately it hasn’t worked. The tourists are coming back and with them the massive amount of drinking and partying and loud rowdy kids enjoying new found freedom in the land of “all is permitted”. So I am a wandering soul looking for a bubble to slip in. The espresso habit I think at this point is more about finding this “solitude in the crowd” than anything. I can disappear.

I look out. A freighter slides silently on the water, ghost in the night. My body is tense in expectation of blows from sound waves, in this quiet place I realize this, I feel as if muscles and skin are taut like Saran Wrap, in order to allow anything that might hit me to bounce off. Things like a sudden scream, a horn blowing next to your head, a heavy piece of metal falling on cobble stones. I wonder when they will let go.

You ask how I’m doing? As strong as I felt when I came back from the Amsterdam-Porto journey, as enervated I feel now when it comes to getting myself tracking into anything close to a plan of action. I kind of stumble in stupefied torpor. It’s a greasy brew of unclear thoughts with the occasional loud yelp of worry: You got no money! Your clothes have turned to rags! You need glasses! These rising above a thick low hum of mumbled questionning about what I wish to accomplish and if it can be done, where should I live, thinking of finding work, irritation with the ruthlessness of the place, annoyance with being ripped off, lied to, cheated regularly, will I ever learn this language, and the primal protestations of the body that requires rest and is not getting it.

Another freighter slides by, its lights reflecting on the blackness of the sea. Its pumping pistons in the night. It looks slow but it’s gone in an instant.

Could I possibly settle myself into something and glide like this for a while? In six weeks time, a friend said that I can move in his studio flat, all by myself.. May. This is 6 weeks away. 4 weeks later it will be the time to learn if my residence permit application will be successful or not. 6 weeks can be a long time. A lifetime of amazingness, of things to remember forever. or I can just flounder.

And what if the residence permit renewal process is not successful? I think I know what I will do… pack the big backpack and walk towards Bulgaria, aim for Milano and go see Meron if he is still there that is. If I get to stay, I need find my motivation, make it count, make it work either to create a peaceful space around myself. find some sort of income. Or set out on the earth, do something. Step out of this torpor.

One of the bright points lately has been this philosophy class I took online with Coursera. Wow. About a year ago I thought I would enjoy studying… I do. I enrolled in a second one now after completing this first one with a 10/10 on my paper. I could really plunge into this philosphy-metaphysical stuff. It does suit my mind. Especially the ancient Greek stuff. I just now started on a second one, “Les problèmes métaphysiques à l’épreuve de la politique” Metaphysical issues encountering politics in times of conflict and violence, this from the first world war and French revolution perspective, with Sartre, Weil and others… after that I want to go back to the classics of ancient Greece. Searching, always searching… man the brute, man the sublime.

And the world turns, with its pendulum swinging ever so strongly. Terry Pratchett died and that made me sad. His books, 70 of them, about the Discworld rocked my world, at one point I had them all read, always awaiting the next one.

And my country is facing a very serious series of challenges to its basic definition with a right wing, fundamentalist mad man at its helm while people watch TV and eat the Bush era like propaganda like spaghetti.

And the Turkish parliament came down to fist fights when a law to allow the police the right to fire live ammunition on people during demonstrations was debated. Oh the blood in this earth.

So I sit here. Thanks to the hospitality of a beautiful friend. The quietness a blessing. Still in suspension I am. Somehow though, despite the seeming madness and dwindling of my means and situation, I tend to think that it is the right course of action (or inaction) to wait for the answer a bit longer. Maybe I`m a fool and maybe I`m just buying time on borrowed money before it all comes crashing down. But then again crashing would effectively end suspension and that in itself is motion. Big-Bang myself into the next chapter.

Hi mom. Love you. Thinking of you. Don’t worry.


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