What Brought You Here?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Istanbul was Constantinople

In addition to colostomy bag guy, there were other fascinating characters populating the tragicomedy of my latest admit to that fine public institution, the state hospital. Take, for instance, the Turk. He spoke perfectly decent English, suitable for embellishing on his illustrious- and presumably largely imaginary- academic career. He claimed a portfolio spread of PhDs in the hard sciences and in literature, decorated by any number of Nobel prizes. Yet he also claimed to have been born in 1996, which was clearly a delusion. He was easily three times the age he claimed. He would hold forth with extended manifestos of silliness in his native language, but he was entirely harmless and generally friendly.

Unfortunately he stuck out like a sore thumb on this secure ward of a midwestern and somewhat ignorant state hospital and caught a disproportionate amount of grief merely for expressing himself in his native tongue- from both the more agitated and aggressive patients and- a great deal less acceptably- from much of the staff. He was repeatedly singled out as being "loud" and sent to his room several times a day for not speaking English.

I actually enjoyed him, in measured doses. He was neither hostile nor agressively sexual toward me/ the limited female population. He clearly had a good head on his shoulders underneath all the detritus. And he taught me a Turkish word- "dura"- which means "hold on/ wait a minute."

He also served endless entertainment unbeknowest to him thanks to his unbelievably high-waisted jeans.

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