V: Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople

21st September, 2013

Pulsano, S.Italy

Dear You,

Maybe I spend too much time dreaming up new ways to use 1000 island dressing or planning my outfit for when Montel Williams finally comes knocking but I wasn’t aware of just how sheltered an existence I’ve led until an incident in Istanbul made me sit up and smell the (Turkish) coffee.

Whilst wandering the alleys of the Grand Bazaar, the restrictions of my luggage capacity and porte-monnaie freeing me from any thoughts of shopping, I was invited to a game of ping-pong by some entertaining well-spoken locals.  In my innocence I thought this was no more than an amusing conversational parry and a day later we met for some fine Anatolian cuisine.  More worldly travellers may have spotted the intended destination of this B-road but it was some time before I got the map the right way up and realised I should probably take a side road back onto the highway.  There was a certain amount of debate with the passengers as on any unplanned detour but after all I am nothing else if not a good motorist and adept navigator.

I must confess though, in altering that particular journey’s end I told my back seat drivers that in games of ping-pong I bat differently, drive on the left, you understand?  Admittedly not the most imaginative way of escaping a game of carnal tish tennis but effective and after that we had a gay old time in the older sense of the word.  This wasn’t the first time I’ve felt the need to be inventive with the truth – in an unavoidable interaction with an Albanian policeman I intimated that, alas, my husband had died before we had the chance to have children which simultaneously raised his eyes from my chest and my chances of crossing the motorway illegally.

Lines get blurred on the road.  As a well brought up girl I learnt that lying is wrong but when the truth could land you on the hard shoulder, or worse, down a cul-de-sac, I’m a strong believer in its flexibility, and the potential creativity therein.  And so, with my honour intact I continue down the crooked path quietly confident that the needle in my compass is true.

Yours, wiser and stronger,