Saturday, March 4, 2017

Walking My Imaginary Dog

A Turkish friend has recently introduced me to an old sport, and when I say, “old sport,” I’m not talking about terms of endearment in The Great Gatsby, although I would much prefer reading The Great Gatsby and relaxing in my recliner to participating in any sports these days. This sport isn’t tennis or discus throwing or anything that requires skill. It’s walking. Just plain old, ordinary walking. I used to love walking in Portland, back when I had a dog, and back when I lived downtown. But these days all I want to do is read. I might as well buy one of those mermaid sleeping bags that keep popping up in online advertisements. Who needs legs anyway? I can be a mermaid who reads all day.

Today I struck a deal with my lazy mermaid self and purchased three new books while I was on my walk. Now I have new books by Julio Cortazar, Margaret Atwood, and Evelyn Waugh. I really don’t need new books, but I figured after so many steps, I had earned them.

My walking buddy sends me photos of the sights she sees on her walks. Sometimes we meet up for our therapeutic walks and appreciate the sights together. We slipped into a very interesting store in Kadikoy that doubled as a woman’s home. She sold everything from action figures to furniture. A surplus of cats had taken over the home/store and the shop keeper greeted us in her pajamas and bathrobe. She apologized for the smell and told us, “I’m also living here.” I enjoy these quirky encounters on our walks.

My friend and I snap pictures of dilapidated Ottoman houses, and ramshackle gates that people have built out of found materials. For some reason, I take interest in things that are literally falling apart and deem them photo-worthy. But when I walk along the Bosporus and take in a gorgeous view of this city I love, I think about principles that are falling apart, trust that is falling apart, standards and ideals that are falling apart. Like America, Turkey has a sturdy foundation and a brave founder to whom people owe everything. Without Ataturk, there would be no Turkey. Without our founding fathers, there would be no America as we know it. I think about the strong foundation and the great minds who helped build our country and then I think about the mad man who is currently running the show. When that thought creeps into my mind, even the most beautiful view becomes clouded with melancholy.

An ex-boyfriend wrote to me yesterday to ask if I had participated in the Women’s March in Washington, DC. No, but I have the pink yarn to make a hat. A Women’s March was going to be held in Istanbul on Women’s Day, which is March 8th, but it was banned by Turkish authorities. No big surprise there. I honestly wouldn’t have participated in the march, for the same reason I don’t go out walking with a bullseye on my chest. My best bet is to take part in my own one-woman marches on a daily basis. I don’t need a lousy Women’s Day as some kind of consolation prize for all the discrimination and crimes against women. Do you want to know how to make this year’s Women’s Day really special? Impeach 45. That would be a good way to start making amends.

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