"Life in the Pen(sion)"
Here are the facts that got me 10-to-Life (I was totally framed--circumstantial evidence!):
1) We're in Turkey, hanging out in the same pension (read: small hotel run by a family, kind of a hostel meets B & B) for nine days. Because the average turnover of guests seems to be 2-3 days, our longer stay is allowing us to tap into the rhythms and arcs of our fellow travelers. Already, in this short while of ours, we've seen 'em come, and we've seen 'em go. This casts me into the viewpoint of the pension owners, who watch Sunburned People In Shorts Wheeling Suitcases Behind Them While Wearing Sunglasses on Their Heads get into and out of taxis, shuttles, mini-vans in front of the place for six active months of the year. Such a mass of clacking gawkers quickly loses any individuation for the weary native. As part of that mass of clacking gawkers in my own way, I have realized how anonymous I feel here and how that reality rather irons me flat. If I have a rare quiet moment in the presence of the pension owner, for example, I am empty, without comment, not sure how to open a conversation with her when I am hyper aware that I am just another warm body easing through her warm spaces, spaces she has created with profit--not companionship--in mind. On occasion, I start to feel I am actually flat and empty, someone who is capable only of staring vacantly and twittering about the weather; then I shake myself and chide, "Girlfriend, really. You do have things to say back home--you know, when you're not baking, and you're not spending huge parts of your day trying to find clothes for the family members, and when you have a house with a kitchen and feel like you have some control over the structure of your life. Honestly, you are someone who can ask questions and make appropriate responses. This current malaise is just a bad case of Pension Head."
2) While I am fairly uninspired externally, I am on the intake. As I watch guests flowing through the door, being introduced to their rooms and the locations of the bathrooms, booking their tours, and belly flopping into the pool, I am eating them up. But I'm here to tell you, Smiley Father from Britain with the Funky Glasses Frames Who Spent an Awfully Long Time Next to the Pool Today for Someone Who Never Entered the Pool, that I noticed you noticing my funky glasses frames, noticed you thinking--however briefly--that if we were living in the same place for any time at all, we'd probably compare frittata recipes.
3) While Funky Framed Fathers from Britain provide good spectacle (hahahahahahaha), my people watching the last two days has been dominated by a large and annoying-as-Fran-Dreschner's laugh group of 20-year-old French youth. Now, I'm trying not to swear here, as my mom has let me know she's sent out this blog address to everyone she's bumped into in recent years, along with a cadre of those she hasn't, and I would hate to offend a dedicated quilter or Red Hatter, but hell if I can stop myself nevertheless: Mon Dieu, mais The Young Frenchies are a crapass group of mo-fos. It's not the smoking that gets me, as I'm well aware we're not at The Mall of America anymore, Toto. That noted, smoking around children, particularly my children, will never cease to peeve me. What gets me is:
the jumping in the pool with a scream at 2 a.m. and at 8 a.m.;
the doing a running cannonball into the pool quite literally on top of families with small children who are already swimming;
the blocking off of every possible walkway while gesticulating wildly and broadcasting a lack of clothing;
the yapping until all hours on the balconies;
the knocking on the bathroom door when a friend has just gone in to take a shower, yelling comments and insults through the entire shower while continuing to knock loudly, as though the act of knocking loudly and yelling comments during a friend's shower somehow makes The Knocker clever;
the laying all over any seating available in the lounge area; the taking up of every breakfast table even though there are only 8 in the group;
the rumpling of every possible rug, floor mat, or curtain in the joint so that all future passers-by trip;
the careless tossing of the roll of toilet paper onto the floor so that it is completely drenched by the end of a shower (Aha! It's their friend in there, so they should make sure they knock and yell, oui?) because the bathroom is just one undivided room wherein the shower is not sectioned off in any way;
the emptying of all provided shampoo bottles before 9 a.m., which is not so egregious, as it does happen, but why leave the empty bottles stacked in the sink so that a person who might like to brush her teeth has to scoop them out before she can spit?;
in short, why are they so young, so French, so jejune, so acting like Jocelyn's last nerve is their own personal discotheque playing the extended dance remix version of "Riding on the Metro"?
4) The thing about bad manners, especially Bad Shared Bathroom Manners, is that it puts fellow travelers into a pickle, and by "pickle," what I really mean is what the bajeebus am I supposed to do about the hair in the drain that looks like a weasel crawled in from the Sahara, in search of its last sip, but it arrived a bit too late and expired from heat exhaustion right there on the grate? Seriously. Yesterday, I was sitting on the toilet, not at all having Day 5 of eye-averting diarrhoea so shut up already, thinking a shower might be in order. Already feeling a bit fragile, I quietly contemplated la douche. Wouldn't it feel good to shed the day's worries, to rinse off the dried sweat, to freshen my lank hair? Wouldn't it feel good--OH SWEET HASSELHOFF, WHAT IS THAT IN THE DRAIN? Eyeing the dead shrew clumped over the drainage, I emitted a whimper strangled by a shriek.
So, what? My options were to: a) not shower because eight French youth had just stood in line for 45 minutes outside this bathroom, knocking and gibing and gallumphing during their wait to shower...and then when each had his turn, he somehow Nair-ed off 4 ounces of bodily hair? No wonder the poolside garcons had chests smooth as air hockey tables! The hair was all laying upstairs on the bathroom floor; b) not let them Frogs' denuding clog my opportunity for Shower Happy...which would mean ME removing the hair from the drain, for no suds of mine could exit the bathroom with a dead marmot stopping up the drain.
I opted for c): go for the restorative shower, but stalk the other floors of the pension for their bathrooms, leaving the strangled hedgehog there in the drain for the poor underpaid maid to deal with in the morning.
5) The beauty of my longer-term stay at the pension is that I'll outlast The Frenchies. Their requisite three days will come to an end tonight when they gallivant off to catch the bus to Istanbul, yet I'll still be here--for a whole 'nother day--ready to stake my flag of triumph (maybe building an Arc de Triomphe would be more appropos?). As their bus pulls away from the village, I'm planning to take their breakfast forks, thoughtlessly discarded onto the floor where a baby is crawling, and stab them into the towering laundry pile of their smokey, grubby, hairy bed sheets.
Au revoir, poodles. Va te faire foutre!