It is 5 a.m. and though exhausted still after 7 hours of sleep, I am fitful. Before I realize that I am semi-awake, I sense the puppets. They are all lined up behind my head, up on the windowsill behind my bed…and they have chosen Hacivad Bey (the learned, Rumi-quoting Ottoman era gentleman) to begin my indoctrination for the day.
It starts with just one word, followed by the pleased buzz of the Karagözis.
“Şekerleme.” You say it like this: (“shehk-air-lem-may”).
“M’lady, wake up just a little bit, we need to talk with you about our prescription. You can’t be getting in these near car accidents. When you are fully well, ok, maybe then you can eat a meatball submarine sandwich on the road without getting into an accident, but not now. We have decided that part of the answer while you are trying to finish up the last 3 weeks of teaching, is Şekerleme.” Hacivad Bey delivers this friendly and straightforward missive into my left ear – my right eye is slowly opening in the deep dim blueness of daylight savings time mornings in New England. All I know is, this puppet man in my head is talking about something sweet – something sugary. Şeker refers to sweetness, or sugar. Well, I can go for that for sure – being the rebellious child of a diabetic, health-conscious on and off vegetarian hippy who did not allow sweets or junk food in the house (barring the sugar lumps in her purse for fending off diabetic comas in the grocery store while trailing two toddlers) anything with sugar fits the bill in my book, to mix metaphors yet again.
Hacivad Bey is speaking again, and this time, he is breaking out the professorial explanation. “This word, m’lady, is not really about sweets. Take sweet to another level. This word comes from “Şeker” (“shehk-air”), which means a kind of sugary candy…and then imagine a nap. Aren’t naps the sweetest candy? Especially during the day? I guess a nap is a really nice thing to take, akin to something sugary! I and the rest of the puppet troupe think it would be pretty “sweet” for you to take a nap right in your office tomorrow – even several naps! And for this reason, we have dislodged the spare pillow in the linen cabinet, and taken the significant effort of carrying it, as a group, to the side of the door. Do not forget to bring it with you to work so that you can nap in your office.”
Karagöz, unusually restrained, only makes one half-hearted rhyme, and doesn’t even spin. “Beep beep, on the way to sleep. Trucking into work, there’s gotta be a perk, don’t be a jerk – on your pillow please lurk.” The little ladies in the dancing troupe, well, they just roll their eyes, but let it be.
As I think about their prescription…my mind wanders…I find myself dreaming about curling up in a tiny ball, like my beloved dog, nose to tail, in a modern-looking white and red leather chair…and as I fall asleep in the dream…I fall into deeper sleep in reality…maybe this will help me get through the day.