Karagöz came into my mango room to have tea with me today at teatime. He was unusually calm and collected – not in trickster mood at all. This surprised me. Hacivad Bey called up the stairs, “We sent Karagöz because we thought you might take the news more seriously from him.”
Sensing a puppet coup d’etat, I turned away from my newfound love (pinterest.com) and faced the tiny wax paper puppet, who was standing on the windowsill, the late afternoon grey-orange dim light of February illuminating him in what could only be called a very serious way…
“Karagöz,” I ventured, clearing my throat ever so carefully, “what is it that you have been sent up here to tell me?”
“Well, m’lady,” Karagöz began carefully, “we see that you have been distant and hiding out for the last day or so. We see that you are exhausted from work and that your back and neck hurt and that you are sad. We also saw that, well, how shall we say, you had a tone and twirl moment with M. the other day – something about a disagreement on terminology and remembering stuff.”
Sighing, I just nodded my head in defeat, and turned to the Ibuprofin bottle sitting next to me, pushing down the cap to twist it and shake out my medicine booty. Downing two of the dull coral circlets with vibrant orange carrot juice, I turned back to him.
“M’lady,” Karagöz continued, this time with more confidence, “your disagreement aside, what you need to understand about M. – and indeed many Turks – but I would HATE to make a generalization – what you need to understand is that tone – be it loud or louder – does not mean the same thing to you as it does to them. Tone is not such a consideration here. You need to let the tone thing go a bit – although we plan to whisper into M.’s ear at night that just as you, M’lady, are trying to be cross-culturally sensitive and aware, perhaps he should understand how he is perceived as well.”
Shifting in my seat, I looked at Karagöz directly. “You make a fair point, Karagöz. You are, after all, King of the Screech, Whoop and Holler – so maybe I do need to think a bit about that. Cross-cultural sensitivity – and what to do once you understand that different people may have different standards for tone – well – that is hard. It is just hard.”
“We agree, M’lady, we all agree. And that brings me to twirls. OK, in case I am being too obtuse, twirls in this case refer to the shaking of hands and arms in gestures. We Karagöz shadow puppets, we LOVE to twirl – and if you think back to your knowledge of the streets of Istanbul, for example, think of all the twirling going on there in the form of hand movement. Don’t get upset at the twirls, M’lady, you have your own associations with them, and they are separate. We promise, though, to whisper into M.’s ear at night so that HE can work on his side of it all as well.”
“Well, Karagöz, I never would have thought of it even though it is so obvious. I agree,” I said, sighing.
Concluding that his serious business was done for the day – neigh the year – Karagöz hopped off of the windowsill, resumed banging his davul and marched on down the stairs just as the dog marched up the stairs, his leash in mouth, with the entire troupe of Karagöz shadow puppets regally riding on his back to congratulate me on completing my first formal Karagöz puppet marriage counseling session, all by myself.
- Karagöz: Consider this a formal introduction to himself (slowly-by-slowly.com)
- And on the 12th day of Christmas: Meet Hacivad, the inimitable and learned Sufi leader of the puppet troupe (slowly-by-slowly.com)
- On my writing about cross-cultural marriage (with the Karagöz puppets) (elizcameron.wordpress.com)