Before dawn even thought about setting out its electric blue cloak, those puppets were at it again. Having given up sleep after a couple of hours, and having given up spinning in the Sufi style they usually adored, those puppets had snuck into my handbag, and rigged up a stereo contraption to my ipod, and were playing Madonna’s Vogue over and over again. Who knew those puppets understood the concept of “repeat” to listen to a song over and over, and over again some more.
All I could hear was “Come on – Hacivad – strike a pose!” and “Nice striking of pose, Zenne, work it girl!” I’ll be damned if they weren’t practicing their dance moves for tonight’s dance party hosted by the Sultan of Nutcrackers. I had some feisty puppets in my head, that’s for sure. M. snored on, oblivious to the puppet parade going on in my head, but our dog looked at me with a wary set of eyes, moving his head back and forwards as if to find the exact location of the tiny animals that were masquerading as Karagoz shadow puppets over on the lazy susan in the dining room.
Sneaking out of the bed so as not to awaken M., I closed the bedroom door, and inquired as to what all the noise was about – at 4 a.m., no less? Remembering that we had no water – I ignored the fact that I had to pee and decided to watch the puppets instead. Feeling footloose and fancy free – the puppets were vogueing around, movin’ and groovin’ and havin’ a great old time – all while engaging in some great debate. As the puppets, uncharacteristically, did not respond to me, I pulled up a chair to the dining room table, and leaned in to listen to the debate.
One of the as-yet-unknown chorus of dancing lady puppets was making a vociferous argument. “I vote no. Why should we stick to traditional attire? We may be representing the Ottoman empire of the puppet and doll universe, but why can’t we be fashionistas about it if we want to? I think we should each wear what we want. ”
Kenne replied with a sharp tongue to this little lady, saying “Safiye, you must remember your honor – not like this Madonna woman – you must guard your honor and not bedeck yourself in a way that besmirches our own Sultan! I am wearing traditional garb in turkuaz.”
Safiye, the now-named puppet, stalked off at full vogue clip, planting her feet on the ground and sashaying better than any modern-day model on the runway, carrot-legged in stance the whole way. “I am my own puppet, and I will take no fashion guidance from you – of course I will not lose my honor! I intend to wear the Star of the East house tonight – the best of the Ege Deniz (Aegean sea)!
Jumping over to my dormant iphone, Safiye started jumping up and down on it, trying to find a particular website, and she soon did. All of the puppets gathered around to see her fashion choices – apparently puppet Fedex delivers from Turkey in less than 12 hours – I didn’t ask. Apparently, Safiye is somewhat of a bohemian type. Here were her fashion choices….an Ottoman-era inspired dress from an Italian designer named Matthan Guriwho sells on
etsy.com as well as sea urchin earrings, ring and necklace from the Star of the East jewelry store on etsy.com– I wasn’t sure it really coordinated – but she shot me the death look and said “freedom of choice for all fashionistas – get your fashion laws off of my body, m’lady!”
Wow, I thought. These little puppets, usually so devoted to me and my comfort, they are going a bit wild here! Kenne stomped off to attend to the steaming of her traditional dress…mumbling under her breath. Safiye rang up Star of the East on skype to arrange immediate delivery through the puppetsphere, talking as loudly as she could so Kenne could hear her.
Eventually, the hubbub led to some consensus, and everyone decided to wear what they would – a true diaspora of fashionistas…Khadijah decided that she would wear her wedding attire, as she loved it so. Celebi was deciding between a red silk suit in modern style – and a moss green suit of silk shantung more like those worn in Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s time – although not in that color or fabric! Hacivad Bey decided on wearing a pumped up turban, to use the modern parlance, perhaps best described as being akin to Sultan Sulayman’s fashion choice in his Venetian portrait.
Even Karagoz was getting into the action, fashioning a ridiculous suit made of tin foil, saran wrap and prosciutto – after watching Lady Gaga in her meat dress, no doubt. How were these puppets getting exposed to 2011 culture, I wondered? I guess they could see all that I saw, whether I was aware of it or not. I wondered if Kenne would worry about Lady Gaga and maintaining her honor. I decided that that would be a fiery meeting, for sure.
Tiring of watching the fashion debate, I minced my way downstairs to the garden, and responded to the needs of nature – hoping the postman wasn’t up early. This peeing in the garden thing was not going to last long in my book. I hoped that we would get into the garage soon – and be able to turn our water on (little did I know that it would take us half a day to determine that the problem was a rusty-almost-kaput-battery about the size of a penny that we overlooked for hours while bickering up a storm).
But for now, I was happy to have a place to pee – and head upstairs to try making tea with sparkling water from a bottle. Upon returning to the party preparation scene, I set to making my own cup of tea for the first time in weeks – the little ladies were way too busy to do this work today – they, after all, had a party to go to. Sparkling water, it turns out, is just fine for tea. Slurping down my tea in a somewhat unladylike fashion, I quickly readied to take my dog for a walk, as the dawn light was moving into a pink stage. “Is it always pink light around here, m’lady?” asked one of the chorus puppets “you know, like last night with all of the pink lights?”
She turned out to be the only puppet not busy with fashion preparations who was willing to accompany me on my morning walk. “Tell me, mademoiselle,” I asked, “what is your name – we haven’t really met before?” Beaming with pride at the chance to be introduced and to have some one and one time with her human, she answered “I am Esma, m’lady, at your service.”
As Esma and I set out, with our dog in tow, we basked in the early morning glory of pinkish orange light flowing all over the last roses of the early winter season – all of them pink. “Ah, perfect,” Esma sighed, “I know what I will wear, a dress of rose petals in this bright, happy fuschia pink.” I smiled at the little hippie puppet, satisfied with the joys of the natural world around her, and walked on into the breeze of the bay.
- Walking through Ptown at night: LGBT civil rights symbols and the Sultan of Nutcrackers (slowly-by-slowly.com)
- Gecekondu: The puppets protest at the Ptown digs (slowly-by-slowly.com)
- A strange, (spinning) journey to pink paradise with the Karagöz (slowly-by-slowly.com)
- Ottomans in America: 99% of the Karagozis occupy my armchair with music demands (slowly-by-slowly.com)