Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Flashback to Turkey: A Fight in the Cafe

Interesting story. We were sitting online, minding our own business in a nice little café on the end of town in Goreme. There was a soccer game playing rather loudly, which made what we were doing a little difficult, but we were no worse for the wear.

Suddenly, a late teens boy started pushing an earlier teenage boy outside. By pushing I mean forcibly dragging/pushing, and the younger boy was clearly terrified. I was a bit concerned for his safety, but about five other people jumped up to intervene shortly thereafter. They almost fell onto Trina, which got me a bit riled up as well.

The other guys there separated them, as they yelled back and forth. The younger boy was yelling in a manner that made me think he was fighting back tears.

More interestingly, the older boy came back to us and apologized. Apparently he worked in the coffee shop! He clearly felt pretty embarrassed. It was a little weird—I don’t mind being forgiving, but sometimes it feels more like people are asking you to make them feel good about their bad behavior, and I wasn’t really interested in doing that. Whatever the case, we were gracious. He also had tears in his eyes.

Then he told us—"that boy was saying many terrible things. He said he was going to (insert bad word here) my mother."

Honestly, at that point, I really had to work hard to suppress a giggle. Really? A fight over a your mom joke? I figured maybe the younger kid watched too much American 1990’s TV and didn’t realize what he was saying.

An interesting side note—I asked a tour guide who was about my age about this later. He said that in Turkey, it is well known that when you insult someone’s mother, the argument is about to come to blows. He said the younger boy absolutely would know that, that everyone knows that, and that he probably just crossed the line in taunting the older boy. Go figure.

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