Went to Ruifeng Night Market recently. Bypassed the grilled chicken feet and stinky tofu, headed straight for the doner kebab. Actual Turks working the stand. Love, love me some shawarma, or dürme, as the Turks call it.
Get to chatting with the guy slicing my chicken from the rotisserie. Mentioned that I’d been to Turkey several times. He asked me where exactly. I told him. Then, I mentioned I had a Turkish in-law. Now we were practically related.
And he’s asking me all the standard questions, including, Where you from?
New York, I say. America? he asks. Yep.
Then, he arches a formidable eyebrow, scrunching up his forehead, like he’s choosing his words carefully, and says, Your president’s a crazy man.
It was somewhere between a question and a declarative statement.
Don’t I know it, I thought. And I would add: an imbecile and a tyrant, and, quite possibly, an agent of a foreign government. But look who’s talking. You guys have that Gollum-like creature you call Erdogan running the country.
But for once I don’t say the quiet part out loud. Instead I tell him, Yeah, but don’t judge me by my president. Good one, I thought. He did too.
He laughed and clapped me on the back, like he knew exactly where I was coming from.