Our children are growing up. Fantastic, we are so lucky to see them grow. Then why say, ‘I can’t believe he/she is 26, where have all these years gone?’ as if it really was unbelievable and we wanted them to turn into babies again.
Despite feeling special on our birthdays we still say, ‘Another birthday!’, rolling our eyes, especially as we steadily become more senior. We say it with expectation that the recipient will respond with something positive. What would happen if the answer was, ‘Yeah it sucks’?
Sometimes I get invited to have dinner with friends who say, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll make something simple!’. One, I am not worried at all. Two, why say you’ll make something simple, it’s not my problem what you make and why not make something not so simple? If you think I will say, ‘Oh no that’s too much work for you,’ then do not invite me in the first place.
I hear on the media the sad news that ‘It is Monday again!’ Well, yes, it does come 52 times a year. Many people hate that day so why do we need the reinforcement of this idea that Mondays are bad? Or the euphoria that it is Friday? How about all those people who have no weekend plans, month after month, and dread the weekends like a plague? Why rub it in? When I was a mature student in London, aged 27, my fellow student friends were of course much younger and did their own thing on the weekends. I had done all the partying etc. so was not interested. The other group I knew were mainly couples who had dinner parties to attend to and I, as a single woman, was not really part of their weekend activities. Not always but often. I sometimes did feel lonely and looked forward to Mondays.
What would we talk about if we removed the topic of weather from our conversation? Mind you, it is a really great ice-breaker. We don’t need introductions before we launch into all sorts of observations. Well, I have news for you. Winter is around the corner and England is not a tropical country so yes, it will be dark, it will be grey, it will rain and hopefully snow, and it will be cold. And of course, since we are not used to bad weather, the traffic will be awful!!
I actually prefer all this banter to, ‘You have put on weight’. Yes believe it or not Turkish people are obsessed with other people’s weight. It is perfectly OK for them to express it too. Two years ago I was looking for a house to buy in the south of Turkey. On my last day my brother, who had come to see me, said he had a friend in the real estate and she wanted to show us a house, now. My brother also said I had met this friend about 20 years ago. So off we went. The girl in question was there when we arrived and as I stepped out of the car I heard her say, ‘You have put on weight!’. I could not believe it or maybe I could as it is so Turkish to make such a personal remark.
Talking about weight, I am grateful that in this country people seem genuinely not interested in your weight. Upon seeing you after a while, a month, a year, they often say, ‘You look good,’ and of course they ask you how you are. Unless you mention your weight i.e. ‘look at me I put on loads/ lost loads’. No there is never a mention. But, after eating a good portion of chocolate cake, they often say, ‘I should not have had this’. Actually this reference to weight already starts when the menu is presented. Comments like, ‘I will only have a main course because I put on weight,’ or ‘I have been a good girl so I will have dessert today,’ are just two of many things they say regarding weight. So it seems that this weight issue is always at the back of our minds ready to surface any moment. Where is the connection you might say but, I had an amazing Public Speaking lecturer at university. One of the first things she taught us was, ‘If you make a mistake during your speech, do not say sorry because there is a high chance no one would have noticed, so why draw attention to it.’ I salute you Sally you were and are so right.