Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday, April 27, 2013 - 4 comments

In the Market for a Father-in-Law

I parked my scooter in my usual spot beside the old shoe shine guy and the man who sells chicks out of a cardboard box.  Stashing my helmet and sunglasses in the baggage compartment, I locked the back wheel and, with a nod to the shoe shiner, headed into the covered Thursday Pazar to buy my fruit and veggies for the week.  

My strawberry guy didn’t have any this week (I’m not usually fussy about “organic” but his truly are the best) so I had to settle for cheaper ones that will likely turn to mush by the weekend.  My greens guy had some nice spinach that, while its muddy state caused me to inwardly groan at the thought of the work it would take to clean it, I bought out of loyalty.  I was happy to find one stall still selling broccoli, as well as some sweet red peppers that didn’t look too squishy.  I’m excited about all the fruit that summer brings, but I grieve the end of the season for my favourite winter veggies.  I just don’t know how to plan a menu without red peppers.

When I’d loaded my arms up with as many bags as I could hold, I headed back to my bike to deposit my purchases and head back in to look for carrots and cucumbers, the last two items on my list.  Imagine my surprise when, as I approached, I discovered a man of about sixty perched quite comfortably on my bike, leaning over the handlebars and chatting happily with the shoe shine guy.  

As I got closer, I tried to think of a polite way to ask him to please remove himself from my scooter so I could put my veggies away.

Amca, müsaade eder misiniz?”  (I figured “Uncle, could you please make way?” was more respectful than, “Gramps, what makes you think you can just hang out on my bike like that?!”)  I raised the bags in my hands, indicating that, if it wasn’t too much trouble, I’d like to have access to the compartment under his bottom please.

“Of course, of course,” he accomodated, not looking the least bit embarrassed.  He smiled in the shoe shiner’s direction.  “We were standing guard for you.”  

I decided that playing along would be better than making a scene.

“Ah, thank you,” I said as I fit what I could into the “trunk” and the hold under the seat and hung the rest off the handlebars.  “No one tried to steal it, inshallah?”

“No, no, we would never allow it!” he replied gallantly, revealing a mouthful of crooked teeth, some gold, the others belying a lifelong tea habit.  “Are you leaving or do you have more to buy?”

“I have to grab a few more things.”  I motioned to the seat he’d been keeping warm.  “Carry on, carry on.”  Another nod to the shoe shiner and I made my way back into the crowded hubbub.  

When I returned a few minutes later with the last of my purchases, my sentry immediately rose from his place atop my bike with a sweep of his arms and a “Buyurun, buyurun.”  (Literally meaning “At your command,” but often used more like “Right this way, please.”)

I half expected him to ask for a tip for his services.

“Where are you from?”

Here we go, I thought.  The dreaded conversation I could have in my sleep because I have it just about every time I leave my house.  Or, at very least, every time I come to the pazar.


“Do you live here?”


I unlocked my scooter and arranged the bags so they wouldn’t fall off.



(I could’ve mouthed the next sentence along with him.)

“Don’t you think about getting married?”  (Duh.)

“Of course.”

“But he hasn’t appeared yet?”


By this point, I was wishing my fingers would work faster on my helmet clasp.  I knew what was coming next.

“My son is single.”  (Of course he is.)


“He’s an accountant.”


Helmet on, kickstand up.

“Do you want to meet him?”

“I’m very picky.”

“He has a car.”  (Oh, well, why didn’t you say so?)

Key in ignition....

“No, thank you.  Have a good day!”

And off I went, the shoe shine guy laughing in my wake.

I think I’d better park somewhere different next week.  Otherwise I might come out with my veggies and find an accountant sitting on my bike.....