Saturday, January 12, 2013

Saturday, January 12, 2013 - No comments

The Dolmuş Detectives

We’ve been having very un-Mediterranean weather this week, with temperatures consistently dipping below freezing at night.  It’s the sort of cold that’s been forcing me to wear long-johns just to survive in our un-insulated house and prompted us to pick all the lemons from our tree to prevent them from dying sad deaths as lemonade slushies.

On Monday, there was a particularly vicious wind blowing, so I bundled up in a hat, scarf, and extra layers before heading out to do a few errands.  After I finished my grocery shopping, I sat a minute at a cafe for a cup of hot tea to fortify myself before braving the elements again.  (I know, that sounds wimpy for a Canadian, but I’m telling you, my blood has turned Mediterranean and I am not built for this!)  I fought the icy gusts all the way to the bus stop and was relieved when I only had to wait a minute for my dolmuş.  

Swiping my card, I squeezed my way back to the middle of the crowded minibus, secured my bags between my feet, grabbed a handhold and settled in for the half-hour balancing act that was sure to do my abs a lot of good.  

This particular bus was full of respectable looking older folks and thus rather quiet.  But just after we’d pulled away from the curb, one gentleman’s voice rose above the polite hum of conversation with great urgency.

“I want to report a robbery.  I just saw some kids steal a motorcycle!”

All heads swiveled in his direction, and I turned to look, too.  He had his cell phone up to his ear and his nose pressed to the glass.  From where I stood, I could just make out two dark heads of hair outside the window, keeping pace with the bus.

“They didn’t have a key.....They rubbed those contact thingies together and - whoop - off they went......Yes, I can see them - they’re right beside me!” he continued.  

A pause, then an exasperated laugh.

“No, I can’t stop them.  I’m on a dolmuş, for the love of God!”

By this point, several passengers had crammed themselves onto the right side of the bus and all heads were craned towards the window, straining to see the action.  

““The brand is a....uh....I don’t know.  It’s white!  And old, really old.  One of those little ones.  We’re on the 30A heading away from Real towards the Mevlana intersection.  They’re going the same way as us.  There’s lots of traffic, so we can’t keep up with them.”

“Tell them what they’re wearing!” shouted an older lady with bleached blonde hair sitting in the front of the bus.

“Officer, there are two of them.”  He spoke with authority, clearly taking his role as “witness” very seriously.  “The one driving is wearing a black coat, the one in back is wearing a white coat.  Teenagers.”

“I can see the license plate!” exclaimed the pink-lipsticked grandma beside Bleached Blonde.  “It’s 07 HR....I can’t read the numbers underneath.  They’re rubbed off.”

Mr. Witness repeated these details breathlessly into the phone.

We slowed to a halt as the light ahead turned red.  The motorcycle, along with a laughing Black Coat and White coat, veered in front of us and snaked its way through the stopped vehicles.  The driver cursed.

“They’re getting away,” lamented Bleached Blonde.  

“Okay, they’re turning left!” the driver, his head out the window, called over his shoulder.  “Tell him they’re turning left onto Kızılarık.....and they ran a red light!  Tell him they ran a red light!”

“That’s two crimes now,” said Pink Lips to Bleached Blond amidst much tongue clucking from the rest of the passengers.  

The light turned green, allowing a mere five cars through the light.  Our driver laid on his horn.  

“Well, they’re gone now,” Mr. Witness said.  “Down Kızılarık, away from town.....You’re welcome.”  He hung up the phone.

“Eh, let ‘em go.  It’s cold out,” said Bleached Blond with a chuckle.  “Serves them right.  They’ll freeze before they get too far!”  

We all laughed.

“If I were going to steal a motorcycle,” piped up a man in the back, “I’d do it in the summer.  Only an idiot steals a bike in the winter!”