Murderers are obsessed with me

The other day I got on a terrifying metro.

Background Knowledge: I've gotten really used to Turkish style transport and I'm not going to lie -- I like it. Yes, it can be overcrowded. Sure, there is no published schedule. True, it can be so hot that at times I have actually glanced around to see if Satan is riding with me -- but he's never on board. The temperature is exceedingly high in the winter only because Turks won't open windows due to their belief system that drafts will kill.

Don't worry, Satan's at home. Just me and 3 million other regular folks on the bus today.

However, Turkish public transport is clean, reliable and best of all...QUIET. It took me a minute to get used to the fact that people really aren't allowed to speak at a normal volume when riding buses and trains. But you know what? I kind of love it.

Anyway, back to the terrifying metro ride.

My friends and I had already screwed up royally because we thought we could catch a shuttle to "the far away mall" for holiday shopping but apparently that shuttle stopped existing. So after twiddling our thumbs for close to an hour we decided to try a different method of transportation.

We ended up on the Metro, which was fine. However, on this particular day things were a little...peculiar. People were getting their stare on - standard - but there was one man specifically that kind of gave me the creeps. And that is because he was protectively standing over a box that was splattered in blood.

At first I thought I was hallucinating, my go-to response when I see something out of the ordinary. I had already put in an hour and a half of travel time to a destination that was still another 45 minutes away and my hanger had begun to cloud my senses. But when my friend elbowed me in the rib and said, "God! People are extra stare-y today," I couldn't help myself and I blurted out, "Yeah, and that guy over there is trying to hide dismembered body parts in a cardboard box."

My friend looked in the direction towards which I was nodding my head in a nonchalant manner and I heard her quietly gasp. "Holy shit," she whispered discreetly, "his box is covered in blood and he's totally staring at you." Then she added as an afterthought, "Do you think he wants to kill you?"

"Yes," I responded confidently. "He thinks I'm weak and is probably deciding right now if he should just chop me up or if he should save my skin in order to make a shirt that he can wear as a trophy."

She laughed a little, perhaps because she thought I was kidding.

Then I became distracted by a group of heavily intoxicated teenage boys whom had entered stage left. They began yelling in chant about the football game they had just attended. They were swinging their empty whiskey bottles around and stumbling into other passengers on the already full train.

(Like this except Turkish)

Then my fear turned to confusion -- not because there were drunk people yelling about football (because that is very very normal in Turkey), but because there was so much noise around me. As I mentioned before, public transport is essentially silent. So the next 45 minutes proceeded to be extremely uncomfortable for the regular reasons (heat exhaustion/close proximity to strangers) with the additional factor of obnoxious young men and the various reactions to them. It was as if some higher power had figured out what my own personal hell would look like and decided it was time for me to experience it.

Some people were staring with obvious hatred at the drunkards. A small portion of people were lip syncing the chants along with the hooligans, but looking around abashedly because they knew they shouldn't condone the outrageous behavior. A small child nearby was repeatedly saying "Shut up" in Turkish. Eventually a fist fight broke out because really, how could it not?

And in all of this commotion, the serial killer who was obsessed with me mysteriously disappeared.

I don't have much to tell after this because I had to get off at my stop. But I'm sure another murder ensued and I'm glad it wasn't me, because it almost was.

So, like, in the future? Watch out for that one guy.


A movie from my youth, revisited

A fresh jar of peanut butter -- there is hardly anything better. I can eat the shit out of some peanut butter. Sometimes I will sit with a spoon in one hand and a jar of pb in the other and just shovel the glorious, golden substance into my mouth.

I sound fat.

More often than not I will have flashbacks about a movie from my youth while I am cracking out on pb. And that movie is called The Peanut Butter Solution. Anyone remember this fine film from 1985?

The movie was super weird and I only remember seemingly insignificant snippets of it - random impressions from scenes that don't seem to match up with each other. Now I want to point out that I realize that when I reflect upon times-gone-by, my recollections are rarely accurate (some might even go so far to say that I make up my memories, untrue) but this sequence of memories seemed to be particularly mish-mashed.

So after watching The Labyrinth on a friend's projector a few weeks ago I had a brilliant idea -- I suggested we try to find the movie that has plagued my peanut butter consumption for the last two decades on the world wide web together. My buddies reluctantly agreed to look for a trailer of the Peanut Butter Solution after my description that included details like, "A kid grows really long hair which ends up fueling a paintbrush company," and "someone walks into a painting and gets scared."

I don't understand why they didn't want to watch the movie with me immediately.

Here is what we found:

Marketed as a "Hair-raising, Heartwarming Family Comedy," I was thoroughly confused.
Because I  remember this being a horror film.

Fast forward a few days and I happened to be talking about this movie again (I had been thinking about it nonstop since the trailer viewing) but THIS time my audience/friend had actually seen the movie before. Which is cray. Because as far as I can tell, anyone who possibly saw this movie in the 80's has blocked it out entirely. So she and I immediately set a date to watch the movie in full so that we could find out if our childhood memories about this film served us correctly.

1) By far the most upsetting factor in this movie is that the sister of the protagonist, who looks like a dude, is portrayed as if she were having an affair with her father while her mother was away in "Australia."
2) Next up for terrible-ness: The best friend of the protagonist decides to spread the peanut butter solution (which grows a never ending supply of hair) on his private parts. That actually might win for most upsetting, but the daddy-daughter affair is much more in your face.
3) 20+ children are stolen and sequestered into a concentration camp/slave trade of sorts.
4) Homeless people are involved and effectually stalk the protagonist.
5) Dead people are everywhere.
6) The elementary school teacher is mentally ill and as a result is abusive towards his students. As if teachers need to be promoted any more negatively.
7) All of the theme music scares me.
8) The Asian kid in the Peanut Butter Solution is stereotyped to look like the Asian kid from Goonies. (racism)

Overall, it's a pretty good film.



Common in Izmir:

  • Huge slabs of raw meat sitting on tables outside of restaurants.
  • A deep fear of drafts. Because they will make you sick. Unlike the raw meat on the counters outside of restaurants.
  • Midnight strolls around town. With your baby.
  • Staring. I've started to pick up this habit in earnest. I like that it is socially acceptable here.
  • Getting yelled at by waiters for ordering coffee before the meal begins. Apparently I shouldn't want coffee at that time. 
  • Deep, deep holes in the streets.
  • People using blowtorches on the sidewalks without any safety gear for themselves or caution tape to warn others.
  • Taxi drivers sleeping in the back of their cabs.
  • Small cakes and ice cream served for free on buses.
  • Refrigerated red wine. Everywhere.
  • Old ladies who beat cars with their canes.
  • Black Lung due to the high concentration of coal dust in the air during the winter months.
  • Sitting/standing really close to strangers for no apparent reason.
  • Walking into people (like,  full body-checks) and continuing to stroll on past as if no contact were made. My favorite was when an old woman took it to the next level with my friend Lisa -- she didn't just "bump past" her -- she did a double handed push to Lisa's stomach, perhaps to suggest that Lisa should move.
  • Every man owns and wears at LEAST one cardigan sweater with caribou on it. Everyday.
  • Pants made of sweater. (I have a pair)
  • Single serving hand wipes.
be careful?

ps: I love Turkey


it would be better if I were asleep

Sometimes I get really tired. Like, ragefully tired. Maybe you can relate. It's not always realistic to think that you can just go home when you need a nap. I've fallen asleep in many places. Perhaps you have too.

I have friends that give me a hard time about falling asleep while in social situations. But sleeping is natural and I feel that public outreach about this particular topic is a must. I'm not narcoleptic, I'm just tired. All I'm asking for is a little understanding and compassion. A friend told me recently that her doctor said it was important to take a lot of naps. So what if she's depressed and it was her psychotherapist who was speaking to her. The point is that a lot of napping is healthful.

There are so many people out there who are worse than I am about public snoozing. I tend to fall asleep on couches at parties or during movie nights. Check out these dummies:

I'm judging her not only because of the obvious but also because of the fact that she is wearing house shoes at the office. Wtf.

Get it together.

The sleeping guy needs a shirt that is one size larger and he is about to get his ass kicked. 


Maybe someone slipped them some sudafed on purpose. My sister did that to me once. She shoved it in a twinkie but I noticed that the white frosting had turned blue so I put two and two together and guessed that someone was trying to poison me. I was right! High five.

I'm not trying to be snotty about the fact that I'm better at falling asleep in public than these fools. But I win.


about kids

Sometimes kids do things correctly. But a lot of the time kids do things really halfassedly.
The other day at work (I'm a teacher) the kids were supposed to decorate the building for the upcoming holiday.

Check out their work. It's the worst.

It's not their fault. It is the way of a child to not try. Unless they are threatened by a scary adult. I try really hard to find a balance between being a terrifying adult and an upstanding, fairy godmother-like role model.

The nice thing about children is that they are really good for the self-esteem. Number one, my students always tell me that I'm pretty. At least the ones who know how to work the system. They are smart in that way -- I always think of them as a little more angelic when they compliment me on a new pair of boots or when they notice that I've done something different with my hair. I also enjoy it when they tell me that I resemble notoriously beautiful people in Hollywood. (Listen, I take my compliments where I can get them.) In turn they reap the benefits of a happy teacher who gives extra points and candy to all. I completely understand that I'm getting played but I still feel that winning is going on EVERYWHERE.

Number two, they believe everything that I say which makes me feel both powerful and wise. The only problem is that mostly, the only pieces of information that they actually retain are the lies that I tell them about my personal life. For example, I had one school year where I saw about seven awesome Monster Trucks around town within the course of a week. Naturally I took photos of the said Monster Trucks on my cell phone and then showed them to my favorite kids at school, acting as if I owned them all. (I felt as if God was asking me to do this: Why else would He place all of these majestically large vehicles in my path so suddenly?)

Fast forward six months and I found Pedro awkwardly approaching at lunch one day. "Miss C," he said to me, with a questioning tone in his voice as I silently bit into my sandwich, "I'm not sure that it's true that you drive a Monster Truck." And as my colleagues all glanced up curiously at me from across the table I solidly looked him in the eye and said, "We can discuss this later."

My students here in Turkey honestly believe that this is a previous class that I had in the states:

I wanted some street cred. This particular group of Turkish students was being excessively loud so I thought, "Hey, it's clear that they don't respect me. Maybe if I lie to them they will think that I'm cooler than I actually am and then do what I tell them to do." It worked like a charm. I even went so far as to point out the children in the video who received the highest marks in my math class. To make it seem more realistic.

Here's what Michael thinks about some stuff.

I'm not going to lie. I think about this interview all the time. I have been thinking about it for years. Every single time I say "it was ok" in response to something, it is always in a small Michael Jackson voice. At least it is in my mind.

Is that weird?

I just said to someone out loud, "I think about Michael Jackson all the time."

They didn't respond. Yet. Let them think about that statement for awhile.

I'm at work and people sometimes ignore me here, especially when I indulge in some seemingly irrelevant commentary on life. 

I'll say it again in a few minutes.



dear diary

Last night as I was going to bed I realized that I hadn't written in my diary for over a month. I have been too manically happy lately to write/reflect. But now that that's over, it's back to business as usual. Here are a few of my most recent updates:

1) The guy that I was dating ended things with me over a Facebook Chat. A new all time low in terms of venue. He used the phrase, "It's not you, it's me." Well, thank God he said that, otherwise I may have had low self esteem about it.

As I relayed the five dollar version of this story to a colleague/friend, she supported me with the requisite sad face and then proceeded to reassure me that this kind of thing was normal. She said, "Before I moved to Turkey I was never rejected. But now I'm rejected all the time. It's OK, you'll get used to it. Turkish men are incomprehensible." I love her.

2) As a result of this relationship fail, I made a massive amount of holiday food in my apartment, by myself, which influenced me to hate Glee. "The previous sentence makes no sense," you may be saying to yourself. But it actually does make sense.

Check this out: I was trying to create an atmosphere of holiday cheer in my apartment to soothe my blackened mood. So while cooking I opted to listen to the Glee versions of my Christmas Classic Faves (aka CCFs). "What a fun alternative to the regular standards," I said to myself out loud in a spooky voice. But after awhile the irrationally chipper voices of the Glee cast angered me inside, driving me to eat excessive portion sizes of stuffing, etc. The final outcome of this was me drowning in a combination of self loathing and real or imagined love-handle growth.

3) Then I Skyped with my parents. Everything was going fine until it wasn't anymore. Typical. Somehow our conversation moved from discussing Christmas presents to me accusing them of not remembering anything about my childhood. Then I laughed in an unprompted, hysterical way, which was inappropriate. But I suppose the fact that they do not remember my childhood is also not OK. The conversation ended with us all admitting our shortcomings and the promise to chat again soon.

4) To throw a positive spin on the Thanksgiving holiday update, I had a really nice staff dinner! Many friends were there and the food tasted like America. After the meal, I decided to let go of all inhibitions and eat directly out of the community bowl of mashed potatoes with an over-sized wooden spoon from the buffet table. Because fuck it. And also, because liquor drinks. Then, with the permission of nobody, I climbed up on the apartment lobby couch, barefoot, falling down twice, to attach my Jesus Gumbi doll to the top of the communal Christmas tree.

reason for the season.