Tuesday, May 22, 2007

RE: Who Wants to Come to Turkey Next Week?

The following post begins my chronicles of the trip to Turkey. Not so blogposty, but more like a story, so sit down with a glass of wine or maybe a mug of tea and learn all about our adventures in the land of carpets and cumin. Maybe Pretend you're Fred Savage's character in The Princess Bride and that this is the story that your nice grandpa is reading to you. Once upon a time....

“I’m in” read the body of Mickey’s email, followed by flight details from San Francisco to Istanbul--I was pleasantly shocked. Who decides to go on a trip, books a ticket and leaves the country all within a week? Well, Rob does, but he’s a self employed artist whose most recent Halloween costume was simply “French,” consisting of a black sweater, tight black pants of a polyester blend, a flowing black scarf, a baguette in hand and CamusThe Stranger peaking out from his back pocket. For him, a last minute trip to Turkey is par for the course. Mickers, on the other hand, maintains a frenetic corporate job and a relentless social calendar, continually struggling to find the time to meet with his stylist and personal trainer. I didn’t expect he’d be able to pick up and go, but I should know by now that Miss Mickey always has a trick up his designer sleeve, complete with personalized cuff link.

Rob and Mickey were the only two friends to reply to my email entitled “Who wants to come to Turkey next week?” with comments other than “Yeah right” or “as if,” and now they would both be joining me on the trip. What fun! Rereading the unexpected contents of this exciting gmail message, I exhaled in relief realizing that I had narrowly avoided yet another “You’re going where by yourself?” interrogation from my mom and dad who maintain the deluded fantasy that I would enjoy spending time at package deal resorts a la Dirty Dancing. The idea of a “safe environment for single women” fuels this painful reoccurring suggestion. Well, look what happened to Baby and her sister—a botched abortion for one and, for the other, a scandalous older boyfriend who dirty danced for a living. Touche!

At the time I learned that both boys would be joining me on the trip my life was fraught with the supreme chaos that surrounds leaving one job and beginning another. Amidst the frenzy of file hand offs and W-2 forms (or is it W-4?), it hadn’t occurred to me to think through the potential dynamic of my fellow travelers, one somewhat gritty and the other rather fabulous. Panic struck at my desk as I imagined violent arguments breaking out upon the shores of the Sea of Marmara over such questions as which Turkish bath house we’d go to—gay or straight? Oh God...

In an attempt to maximize my time off between jobs, my final work calls were conducted “off site.” Seated at a trashy bar at Newark Airport, I sipped a celebratory glass of Syrah, hoping an overhead announcement wouldn’t divulge my whereabouts. (I knew the perils of such practices as my friend EJ once called in sick to work from the airport, right before boarding a morning flight. Following a flawless fake cough, he launched into a convincingly strained voicemail message reporting the unfortunate details of a bad flu…only to be interrupted by a final boarding call over the loudspeaker for “all passengers headed to Vegas!” Ouch.)

My calls were a success and with a fresh New Yorker in hand (hoping for Jack Handy in the Shouts and Murmurs section), I boarded my flight…30 minutes before the official end of my last work day. I swear I felt extremely guilty about this and had relayed the conflicting logistics to a friend the week before, half hoping to receive the scolding that I knew I deserved. “Whatevs” she responded. Note to self: attempt to get some more responsible friends.

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