Coffee and tea course in my very veins. Every day. I succumb to invitations from other teachers in the lojman for a cup of one or the other. The landlord’s wife concocts the best Turkish coffee I have consumed here in İstanbul. The dregs almost de-magnitize so I don’t accidentally drink them; the film is as thick as the grime on the side of a dolmuş. I’ve taken one dolmuş back to the lojman because the distance to walk was too far from Bağdat Caddesi. A few new friends and I traversed to the end of the district one day — just one district — within İstanbul. The city epitomizes expansive.

Unfortunately with that comes the dirt, the pollution, the dry days with the air denser than bleak smoke. My lungs cake up with the toxins I won’t know had existed until I am 55 and wheezing. Trash is commonplace; stray felines roam wherever there is open space, yearning for a pet or for some milk; I’m swallowed up by the number of people in this city. I cannot maneuver around them. There’s no way out, no way to swerve around and anticipate a nice, fluid jaunt to work: I speed up, slow down, stop, curve around. There is this inability to figure out the flow of pedestrians. Crossing the street is lethal. It’s a calculating game; you almost toy with your life. There is almost an excitement when you make the move to go to the opposite end — the other side. And you succeed.

More tea trickles down my throat as I type this final paragraph: I am awake! I continue to rant about the inadequacies of my present job. Last night frayed my tether, almost to the final thread. Let’s see how long this fraying lasts. This evening, I will go in and ready myself for the blow of whatever comes at me. I mıght survive. It’s like crossing a busy street in Kadıköy at 6pm. You guess how fast the cars, this taxi, that dolmuş are going –and then you leap in front, hoping they slow or stop for you, which might not happen, even if you have a blinking green man.

There are no rules; Darwin would love this.

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