Kadikoy: An Utter Perplexity


We are stuck at a red light again. It seems like ita��s impossible to be on time in this hectic city. I expeditiously get myself out of the cab. As I am trying to find my way to the pier, the heavy mist of moisture hurts my skin. My garrulous cab driver had warned me about this earlier, that it would always be this humid in mid-August. I dona��t even know why I was surprised by his gushiness that much; I had read about Istanbula��s crazy taxi drivers on Trip Advisor before coming here.

Trying to decipher the crummy, rusty, blue street signs written all around me, I wish I didna��t get off the cab so hastily and let him drop me off at my destination instead. Public transportation buses are passing so fast, so close by that I can feel the flow of air their speediness makes, winding my shirt. People crashing into each other, flocks of travelers and tourists with their luggage in their hands, backpacks on their backs; little beggar kids, who dona��t have the chance to think about anything but how to make it until the end of the day, walking in traffic, between cars in motion, almost getting their valiant acts of survival hit by one of the many polished Rolls Royce cars of a millionaire, and these carsa�� never-ending rasping symphony of horns. I scowl at this living disorder, what looks like a very poorly drawn, turbulent, sloppy painting to me. As I reluctantly admit to myself that I wona��t be able to make my appointment on time, I ask myself a�?Whata��s the rush?a�? I want to take a break from all this chaos and look up in the sky- only to see that even the disorderly flying seagulls of this city are in a hurry. I feel even more baffled, and for a second, I forget why the hell I came here.

I look for something similar, something not so foreign to me, a form of consolation, and I plod over to the sea side. I want the velvet sound of the sea waves to take me away- to a place I know, to a land far away, away from the chaotic sizzles of civilization. I dangle myself down from the worn-out, black fence at the seaside. I feel a bit more relieved as I feel the water splashes on my face. I turn my back on everything that disturbs me. I like to think that I finally managed to leave everything behind, wiping out the pain from my ears, bad choices from my mind, and bad memories from my heart. The only thing I want to do right now is to perpetuate my short-lived triumph of resolving a struggle of many years. Why not stay for a little longer if Ia��ve already missed my appointment? Why get on the ferry before grasping its beauty from an outside-look first? As much as I want to get myself out of this place, spending some alone time with the bubbly, navy blue water doesna��t seem like a bad idea either. I look at my leather watch, which had made my wrist sweat, and opt for the 1.45 PM Besiktas Ferry. I let the rusty wooden bench by the coast pull me and my weighty daze down; though, I feel uncomfortable sitting on such a creaky one. Then I think of Kadikoya��s dreadful number of homeless citizens, spending nights on these benches. All different kinds of lives, experiences, and mourns this bench had lodged arouse a nauseous feeling inside of me. I can smell the countless bottles of beer and cheap wine blotted in this piece of cherry wood. My guess is that the only unchanged element of these nights has been the alcohol that accompanied this bencha��s guests.

I unwittingly start examining the ferries in great detail. Soon enough, I have a qualified understanding of them. By now, I have figured out how much their take-off froths up, which route they take, the angle they need to make with the breakwater to maneuver the ferry to the left, and how much of the tranquil blue sky, furnished with fleecy white tiles of clouds, the flue-gas fills up. Urban discord, once again, disrupts me in my search for serenity. So I close my eyes with my palms and try to focus on the sound that the mild clash of the sea waves makes with rocks on the coast. No matter how hard I try, I cannot seem to hear anything besides Turkish non-sense. Just as I am about to nod off on a monotonous, ship-horn lullaby, I am woken up by the needy and obstinate cries of beggars and peddlers. A�I cana��t understand a word a gypsy woman is tenaciously saying to me, but I am somehow extremely drawn to her foreign words and her unfamiliar, misty, pensive eyes. Being not completely sure of what shea��s asking for, I get up and start strolling along the coastline. I occasionally go on top of the rocks and try to imitate the hopscotching kids in front of me. I feel as if Ia��m walking on a tightrope between water and land. As I slowly hop and jump, the graffiti on the rocks catch my attention. I can quickly guess ita��s been lovers who have inscribed their names here, to make their affection permanent. Symbols and colors of love seem to have a common language; apparently even a red colored dissimilar arrangement of characters can make sense to me in this dialect. The heat rising from the warm rocks burns my face; yet, I take a closer look at one of these works of graffiti: the one that takes me back to almost ten years ago. I feel like I need to escape; even the alluring seaa��s pastoral smile cana��t save me from my terminal suffocation. I aspirate the sea salt in the air, resisting its burning feel in my throat, and gaze at the glorious Istanbul skyline once again. It is hard to tell the different colors of all the skyscrapers from miles apart, but somehow very easy to differentiate every single mosque, historic tower, museum and mansion. I must have a thing for the past.

I look around and realize that it is again just me and the seagulls and their univocal composition of harmony along the coastline. But why am I hearing a million voices in my head? Perhaps a polyphony calling me back to the chaos? A clutter of perplexed thoughts and emotions, I head over to the 3.15 PM Besiktas Ferry as I try to escape from no one but myself.

Here I look back at the land of turmoil that had exiled me to another continent, realizing belatedly it had an odd sense of attraction to it. I love being here, right in between. Amid serenity and chaotic quicksand. Between my past and my present. But, I want to go back. I must belong to the Kadikoy coastline, I think to myself, where chaos becomes my remedy.




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