Karagöz is ecstatic. He is swinging along the mavi boncuğu evil eye beads hanging off of the car mirror. “We’re on a date! Let’s riot, let’s rock the house! Let’s get wild and woolly! We’re on a date.” Hacivad interrupts his meditating on top of the neutral tab on the gear shift, “no, Karagöz, YOU are not on a date, they are on a date, just let them (and me) commune with nature a bit.” Hacivad does not seem to realize that careening off of Storrow Drive and onto the Fenway at breakneck pace does not constitute what I would consider communing with nature, but that’s where he’s at, so what can I do? Though we don’t have children of our own, we have lots (and lots) of children, youth and adults in our life, especially during the summer, and it’s been a while since we have done something fun, just the two of us. Squinching his face into a twist, Hacivad barely opens an eye, maintaining his perfect meditation posture “just keep breathing, ok?”
As usual, I am breathing deeply in order to make it through the Turk-driving-in-Boston experience. While Boston drivers are well-known for their insane driving, Istanbul drivers take the cake. They are nowhere near Roman drivers, to boot. But before I completely malign my beloved, he is an amazing driver, and, knock on wood, has never been in an accident. Once I drove in his passenger seat in Turkey, I completely understood why he drove the way he did, and I felt very secure. Translating that back into our life in the States has been a bigger challenge and we have certainly had our share of driving-related arguments. My therapist laughed at this, “do you know how many people have hum-dingers in the car?” she snorted when I expressed my concerns about this. Today, however, the deep breathing seems to be working, maybe the heat is helping or maybe all of these years of practicing life together have helped, either way, I am feeling pretty calm. Hacivad chuckles in approval as he can read my mind. I wonder how his waxy, paper self can fold into the lotus pose so easily.
We are heading for the Chihuly exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for our date – an exhibit which holds some special meaning for us as Chihuly is part of the reason we began dating. Dale Chihuly is best known as the shaggy haired, pirate eye-patched eccentric glass artist who creates glass environments all over the world. Many Americans know him as a result of seeing his ostentatiously delicious glass ceiling in the Belagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. I was first introduced to Chihuly’s glass art by my cousin, who gave me a book about the famous installation in Jerusalem, “In the light of Jerusalem, 2000.” It was the curious, undulating shapes that stayed with me once the book landed in my storage space – and led me to choose an image of Chihuly’s for the Internet dating site profile that connected us.
It was the Chihuly, my husband jokes, that made the online profile catch his eye. Although not a major fan, my husband is an artist, and was happy to see that I had some interest in art, something that was apparently lacking in the other profiles he came across. I hear Kenne and Khadijah swoon from inside of my purse. I wonder why they are hiding there. Karagöz screeches with sarcastic delight. “What a lovey-hovey-dovey story!” Hacivad does not bat an eyelash. “Was it love at first click?” Hacivad’s arm turns into silly putty as it stretches out to grab Karagöz off of his swinging beads, tossing him out the window. “Chihuly – it’s all for loooooooooooove…..” he cried as the wind pulled him away into the tunnel behind the speed of our car.
My attention is split three ways between my Chihuly memory lane, the Karagöz slapstick show in my brain and my husband’s narration of whether and how he can break parking rules. On our third roll around the block after finding the parking lot full. “We should have taken the subway,” I protest. I then try to pre-empt each potentially illegal parking attempt by shouting out “hydrant,” or “resident parking only!” I hurumph each time he stops where we have failed to find a legal parking space before. “Maybe if I back in like this, it will not SEEM like we are breaking the law,” he says, ignoring my dark look angled his way. Lather, rinse, repeat – this is how the next 15 minutes are spent. My main goal is to be able to compartmentalize the grump long enough to not ruin this nice date, our first out in a long time.
Seeking the solace of the sun on my face after we finally park, about a half mile away, I grab his hand and commence discussions of all that has been on our “back burner” during these busy times. As we amble up to the museum, drenched in sweat from our walk on the hottest day of the year, M. begins to plot ways to jump the line snaking around the block. I turn to the proverbial camera in my head, otherwise known as Karagöz, and throw my hands up in despair. You can take a Turk out of Turkey, but you can’t make them avoid trying to cut the line.