Transportation and traffic are a large part of my life here in Istanbul. It is inescapable. I spend at least an hour everyday on shuttle buses going from my dormitory to one of the two campuses in which I have classes. I can always expect to find the shuttles very crowded and much too warm for my comfort levels. Many times need to actively not think about how claustrophobic and irritating they are. But today as I rode the shuttle from Dolapdere back to the dorm, I realized the opportunity they offer to see life on the sidewalk without sound. I can put whatever song I choose on my iPod and have a soundtrack for each day, every store front and face

There was a man holding his son’s hand. At the moment I beheld them the father shook the boy’s hand from his. His face caved into his nose like a triangle. His eyebrows arched with anger and aggravation. They stopped walking. The boy began to cry. The father seemed disgusted and appalled. He began talking down the to the boy, but why had he so upset? Did his son’s steps exceed his? Maybe I was witnessing the boy’s first verbalization of a curse word or, maybe there was a level of respect that was violated.

A crowd gathered outside of a store front—window shopping for hardware and appliances. The back of a man’s head, his hair dark and peppered gray. A wedding band around his finger. He scratched the bottom of his head with a credit card. Was he contemplating a purchase?

Two young men standing in a recessed area of the sidewalk underneath an awning. Both wearing bright red tops. The thinner of the two had a matching jacket—just as bright, red beating into the overcast sky. If they were objects they would have been stop signs.

A teenager walking briskly, singing. No audio in the shuttle, but the shape of his mouth told me he was belting something.

They sweep water from the streets with brooms and elongated window wipers.

 

 

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