Coffee and tea course in my very veins. Each day I succumb to invitations from other teachers in the lojman. The landlord’s wife concocts the best Turkish coffee I have consumed here in İstanbul. The dregs almost demagnitized so I don’t accidentally drink them; the film is as thick as the grime on the side of a dolmuş, one of the modes of transport, a communal van. I’ve taken one dolmuş back to the lojman – because the distance was too far from Bağdat Street. We traversed to the end of the district one day – just one district – within İstanbul. The city epitomizes expansive; its very self is gargantuan.
Unfortunately with that comes the dirt, the pollution, the dry days with the air denser than bleak smoke. My lungs cake up with the toxins I won’t know existed until I am 46 and wheezing. Trash is commonplace; stray felines roam wherever there is open space; I’m swallowed up by the number of people in this city. I cannot maneuver around them. There’s no way out, no way to swerve around and anticipate a nice, fluid jaunt to work: I speed up, slow down, stop, curve around. There is the inability to figure out the flow of pedestrians. Crossing the street is lethal. It’s a calculating game; you almost toy with your life. There is almost an excitement when you make the move to go to the opposite end – the other side.
More tea trickles down my throat: I am awake. I continue to rant about the inadequacies of my job. Last night frayed my tether. Let’s see how long this fraying lasts. This evening, I will still go in and ready myself for the blow of whatever comes at me. I mıght survive this. It’s like crossing a busy street in Kadıköy at 6pm. You guess how fast the cars, this taxi, that dolmuş are going – and then you leap in front, hoping they slow or stop for you, which might not happen, even if you have a blinking green man. There are no rules; Darwin would love this.