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Buying Beer the Turkish Way


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Yesterday, my new landlady came over to help with my DSL installation. As is the Turkish way, there were complications regarding the line, requiring one phone company worker to go get another worker so that they may gossip with each other about their respective wives.

Therefore, we (my landlady, another fellow who is either the property manager or her brother, and I) were left with a little downtime. Neither of them speak English, so the conversation was somewhat moribund. Presently, she turned to me and asked "will you drink a beer, Sunset?" Well, you know me well enough to know the answer.

I wasn't prepared for the following scenario:

Buying Beer The Turkish Way
(A drama in one act)

LANDLADY [opens window, yells, stage-right]: Bakkal!

[A Bakkal is a convenience store.]

APU [From street 4 stories below, poking his head out of nearby convenience store]: Yes madam?

[The fellow's name is not actually, "Apu"; I merely name him thusly out of habit. He is, in all probability, either a Mehmet or a Murat. Years ago, in Canada, when Ace and I would attempt to inviegle our way into parties to which we hadn't been invited, we would invariably say "I know Dave", or, failing that, "Mike". In Istanbul, under similar circumstances, one typically says "I know Mehmet", or, failing that, "Murat".]

LANDLADY: "Three cold beers please."

[LANDLADY then engages in the following bit of business: with the aid of a stout twine cord, she lowers a basket, containing 10 Lira, to the street below. APU removes the note, replaces it with a plastic bag containing three half-litre bottles of beer, and the resulting change from the transaction. LANDLADY then begins to gingerly reel the basket up 4 stories, taking care not to upset the precious cargo.]

And they all live happily ever after.

THE END

The basket, laden with cold ones

That was thirsty work!


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About me

  • I'm Sunset Shazz
  • Living the dream in Istanbul, Turkey
  • I grew up in the hardscrabble streets of suburban Ottawa, Ontario, committing petty crime, insulting the elderly - basically the classic misspent youth. When I was 19, I moved to West Philly, where I put myself through the Wharton School by dealing crack and hustling. After stints in Paris and London, I eventually graduated and moved to San Francisco, where I put in eight years hard labor working for The Man. But now I pop bottles with models, deciding cracked crab or lobster - who says mobsters don't prosper?
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