I Love a Good Fight


I have a cold.  With all the travel I’ve done over the past four months, I would have thought I would have come down with something just a little more exotic than the common cold.  I don’t know, cholera, yellow fever, Dengue fever, Malaria; just something a little more interesting than catching the sniffles on the eastern edge of Europe.

But I suppose it’s no wonder.  I’ve been watching the weather for the past few days and London has been consistently 12 degrees (F) warmer and considerably drier than it has been here.  Plus, I’m beat, baked, quick fried to a crackly crunch.  On the first day of my cold I decided that I wasn’t going to let it stop me for the entire day because I have a scarf.  It turns out that while you feel nice and cozy and warm in the apartment, and the scarf is certainly reassuring, it is only a convenient piece of cloth dangling in a very convenient place when you have a sneezing fit on public transportation.  I simply don’t understand why everyone else looks so much more elegant in their scarves than do I.  I mean the blackness against the redness of my nostril area must be surely stunning.

But I’m embarassed by my whinning.  I watched Ray battle two types of cancer, undergo debilitating chemotherapy, have huge gobs of his lungs and his prostate removed, and then (seemingly) recover with never a complaint:  he was anxious to get back to work, anxious to get on with life.  Brenda Diener and Ray Reynolds are my heroes and I stand it awe of them every day of my life.

But, I have digressed.  What I really wanted to say is that even though I was (somewhat) a shut-in today.  I still had entertainment.  I awoke to the most fantastic domestic quarrel than I’ve heard in a long time.  It was in the building next door, but moved to the street (Barbara and Irwin never, ever provided this type of entertainment in LA).  One of the most fascinating things was that the “participants” were just coming home from the “meyhanes” (tavernas) that are all over the neighborhood I’m staying in.  It was six o’clock in the morning.

Their argument went on and on.  Of course they were yelling at each other in Turkish but that made it all the better for me.  I just made up my own story based on the inflections and tones of the screams.  What made it exciting is that is was the type of argument that was just on the verge of a slap or hair pulling, but never reaching that physical point.  So, I rationalized it was harmless, especially as a spectator.  This must have gone on for 30 minutes right outside my living room window.  I was mesmerized, the adrenalin was flowing, I was rooting, I was on her side.  He was an ass in any language. 

Later in the day I was forced out of the apartment in search of sustenance.  I didn’t want to go far because I didn’t have much clean scarf left.  But as I was walking down the main pedestrian street called the Istiklal Cadessi, I happened upon an elderly coulple screaming their brains out an one another right in the middle of what is already a spectacle in its own right.  While this argument was not alcohol-laced like I suspect the first one was, it was actually more interesting. 

I found a place, just a little out of the way, to observe this interchange.  This was obviously a conservative, elderly Muslim couple (there are tell tale signs…of both the elderly and the Muslim part).  It was not the bitter, sleep-depreviation rage that I had witnessed earlier, but was more of the order of one of them (she?) put the borek (I think) in the same bag as the Fanta (I think).  Whatever it was, he was holding the borek two inches from her face and ranting about the Fanta (I think).  She was bored with the whole thing.  What I really loved was that she was just letting him rant,  she didn’t give a rat’s ass.  I was thinking, you know that scarf YOU’RE wearing could be used to strangle him in his sleep.  I mean if he doesn’t get over this “Fanta” thing pretty quick.

I’m pretty sure that in any culture or religion, it would be justifiable.  Scarves are very useful indeed.

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4 thoughts on “I Love a Good Fight

  1. Are these arguments an argument for a more-equal power balance between the genders in Muslim countries? Just wondering. Hope you had a chance to wash and drip dry that poor scarf.

  2. How cool is all that! (Randy, I can’t figure out my computer which thinks it is running on battery only – I have checked EVERY wire and cannot diagnose.) Please, please come home…. xo

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