So I work in a high school up in the hills on the Asian side of Istanbul. It's a little like being back in high school (or in a sequel to Heathers). There are eight women in the office with me and they have, according to some evolutionary imperative, divided off into cliques. We have a cafeteria downstairs and free seating. If I sit with one group, then the other snubs me for the rest of the day. If I sit with the other, then I get side-long smirks from the first. If I sit alone, everyone wonders who that dork is. The first group is generally the cool girls, and the second would have all been geeks in hich school and are just normal now, so I tend to lunch with them. Gossip is always on the agenda. Or at least that's how they translate "dedikodu" into English. I'd be more inclined to call it "backbiting and conniving."
(Today's menu, chicken nuggets and fries, tomato soup, pasta, baklava and a salad bar that includes yogurt salad, bulgur salad, green beans, and raw red cabbage. There are no sweet lunch ladies, but kindly lunch gentlemen.)
It's odd, but I'm in Muslim Turkey, among descendants of the great Ottoman Empire and the wild invaders led across Asia by the Khans, and yet you would never know the difference if you could have a translator-implant in your head. You have the dikey female PE teachers. The overzealous drama teacher who behaves as if every school function were her shot at the Oscars. The pot-bellied male P.E. teacher who tools around with the female teachers and tries to be the students' friend. The spinster English teacher, and the airhead whose class is like a jail cell full of coked up gorillas.