Face to face with our own silly selves

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Do you ever find yourself running up against something that you have thought or said? This happened to both me and Ali today.

Ali went up to Istanbul a few weeks back to see his mother and was seized by the thought that she ought to get Digiturk (satellite TV). He has been more preoccupied lately with thoughts of how she might be filling her day; she lives alone, and is unable to walk very well, so she very rarely leaves the house. He will say things to me like, “You know, your mother should really come live here. I keep thinking about how my mother is alone all the time.” (My mother is not alone all the time, and keeps very busy in New York, but it is a nice thought…)

Ali’s mom called me up one day while I was at the playground with Kaya and told me that Ali was after her to get satellite TV, but she would rather buy a DVD player. I didn’t have much to add to the debate, so instead provided a short blow by blow of Kaya on the slides. When I mentioned it to Ali, he rolled his eyes about the DVD player and made a bitter comment about how her neighbor was talking her out of Digiturk. I overheard the topic brought up a few more times and then nothing. A few days ago I called Ali’s mother and before we hung up, I asked her what the latest was on the Digiturk/DVD debate. “Well, I ordered Digiturk,” she said, “then the neighbor talked me out of it, but I think I will order it again. Let it be a surprise for Ali when he comes up again.”

That will be sooner than you think, I thought to myself. We had noticed after Ali’s last trip to Istanbul that his passport had expired, and he received a message from the Chamber of Guides that he needed to file a petition to have his license renewed, so last week I booked him a flight to Istanbul for this coming Monday. Ali was quite breezy about the whole thing as I was buying the tickets, but as the day has approached he has become less and less enthusiastic about going. Finally this morning, he seemed to have resolved not to go after all; the guiding license could be taken care of online, and the passport could be renewed in Antalya. And off he went to the garden to feed the chickens.

This afternoon, he called and said that his mother had called him to announce that she now had Digiturk and had even had it installed in his bedroom. He could watch TV programs to his heart’s content when he came! As she merrily chattered on, Ali’s resolve not to go to Istanbul crumbled, undone by his own insistence over that satellite TV. So that’s him off to the big city next week, returning just in time for Thanksgiving dinner.

As for me, well, I have been thinking grumpily about how hectic life can be when you are living in two places at once, and how I always seem to be coming or going, and sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and I am not sure where I am. I think to myself, “Did I close the coops? Is there water running anywhere? Or is it a school night? Does Baki have PE tomorrow?” until I can figure out which bed I am in. (That, and I inevitably end up seraching for things that are in the *other* house…) This weekend it has been pouring rain, so we did not go out to the garden; Ali came to us instead and went out to the garden for the day to let the chickens out of their coops and close them in at sundown. And the day yawned before me, empty and aimless. I did a bit of shopping with the boys, we watched a movie, I tidied up around the house. But always with the thought that I really ought to have been weeding, clearing old beds, sowing lettuce seeds, or some other such thing. So I will try to remember that as crazy as it can make life seem to be splitting it between two places, things don’t feel right any other way.

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2 thoughts on “Face to face with our own silly selves

  1. Poor Ali. I see that kind of thing happening within my family — the characters shall remain anonymous — again and again. I try to stay out of it and watch it unfold. If it’s any consolation, Ali’s Mother will grow to love her satellite TV, though good luck teaching her how to use the remote control. 🙂

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