Culture · Istanbul

There's A Kind Of Hush

Yesterday I awoke to a crazy calm. The kind of Stephen King quiet that means a monstrous clown awaits its drain birth upon my entrance into the bathroom or the coming alive of my paintings to pull me into some strange world from which I will never re-emerge.

A quiet. A crazy calm quiet. The quiet of no running water.

The water was out in Bakirkoy for 24 hours and what we were left with was the disquiet that screams something is wrong. The opposite of no news is good news. The sound of silence equals trouble.

Unnerving. I never recognized the dull roar, the hum of water pumping through our apartment building. I never even heard it until it was gone and the silence was strange. Scary. Like life had stopped moving in some way, which actually it had because life is water, without water there is no life, everything withers up and roasts. We have nothing without water.

The worst part was that we had no notice that the water would be turned off and so we hadn’t stockpiled any for flushing the toilet. When it’s yellow let it mellow is fine until the mellow decides it is ready to stand up and walk out. I felt awful using drinking water to flush the toilet. It was the epitome of luxury, to literally flush good drinking water down the toilet. Horrible feeling. Knowing there are people who are dying of thirst and there I am pouring it down the toilet. These are the moment where I realise what a charmed life I indeed do lead.

Which got me to thinking about Turkey and the EU. Everywhere else in Europe I have lived, they send a letter to everyone who will be affected by water and electricity outages so that people can be prepared. Not here. This is a moment to moment culture, and it is evident in their work style, their lack of savings style. They do not think about the future, they only deal with the here and now, and tomorrow be damned.

Yesterdays silence was the personification of my own silence here. My silence about the things going on around me I cannot discuss until I leave this place. My filling the silence with blither blather, anything to take the attention away from the very important things that I cannot talk about just yet. A crazy quiet that blocks me up in so many ways I am scared to count.

I worry about writing things about what I see and hear around me. Especially cultural and social things, because I don’t know what thing will get me thrown in jail for ‘insulting Turkishness.’ An offense punishable by jail time in this EU-hopeful nation.

They say that some of the most creative and brilliant of literature has emerged from people living without free speech. I wonder how they did it. I find the silence to be choking me. That if I cannot talk about what is real and around me, I cannot talk about anything at all. I am bound in this crazy quiet, silenced by a foreign culture and living in creative limbo.

Today, the outside quiet is over and water runs through the building bringing sounds of movement and daily chores. My silence inside feels like it will never end.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.