Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Man With the Little Head

Image borrowed from Bing

the man with the little head

there he was. standing in taksim square. a man with a normal size body and a little head. but such a nice little head. short-cropped thick gray hair. thick gray turkish mustache. selling those little celephane packs of tissues. a pleasant look on the face of his little head. passers-by zooming by paying no attention to him. the man with the little head just standing there. celpack of tissues slighly extended in his hand.

where do they come from? these people. here one day, another, and then gone. not like the little old lady in the long brown coat and the brown and orange head scarf who has sat day after day for at least the last seven years (that's how long i've been seeing her). seated on her little wooden stool. a plain bathroom scale at her feet waiting for someone to come by and use her scale. i've never seen anyone use it to weigh themselves and pay her for the service. i only see her sitting there, hunched over, occasionally adjusting her headscarf, tucking a recalcitrant strand of hair back under her scarf. pasty-skinned and patient as a buddhist monk she waits daily.

the changes she must have seen. sitting day after day on istiklal caddesi. watching the raging river of people spill past. ebbing and flowing like a tide. in winter bundled up head to foot in black. umbrellas bent, pushed against the winds that hurl themselves off the golden horn and the bosphorus. in summers of most recent years, scantily-clad girls in provocative european styles: short shorts and high boots, low-cut tops and plenty of eye-liner and lipstick. In years past, men walking hand in hand like innocent young lovers, women arm in arm in twos and threes. little ma and pop kebap shops now replaced with dazzling western restaurants. mac donalds. burger king. kfc and three starbucks where the trendy walk past our little old lady who waits in vain, while the youth of istanbul sip double mochas, their knock-off prada sunglasses lying on the table next to their foamy drinks.

and the man with the little head offers packs of tissues, then disappears into crazy gray night.

Diane Caldwell

Posted on Facebook and on her site Diane in Istanbul

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