Thursday, January 21, 2010

Last Days at Fenerbahce High School

This is the week after finals, the week before winter vacation. School is a little bit like an Apocalyptic wonderland. The halls are empty. Papers and abandoned notebooks litter the floor. An eerie silence pervades. Most classes are empty, but the students who are here have reverted to a more primitive state, maddened by the shortage of lessons and books. The loosening of rules and regulations plunging them into a state of primeval chaos. They can only be handled with tranquilizing darts or perhaps, stun guns. They command the classrooms with a sort of rabid fanaticism, and teachers only enter at risk to their own lives or when ordered to stop sleeping in the teacher's room by the principal. The Lord of the Flies dawns upon Kayis Mountain.

It's snowy outside in the hills around school. The rooftops are all white triangles stacked on top of each other with black chimneys in the middle spouting smoke. The minaret is coated in ice, the railings frosted over. Fog and flurries hide the sky and hill behind. Seagulls circle around, white wings on white, like shapes broken free of the snow.

In the park, there are 'excercise machines' that result in the exertion of not one single muscle cell in the body. For example, you step onto two metal plates, put your hands on a rail, and then swing right and left. The machine offers no resistance. There are no weights. No stepping up and down. You could do this for all eternity without your breath speeding up in the least little bit. During the day, the covered ladies take walks to this "sports park". They wear head scarves and long dowdy robes that hide their feet. They flock to this machine and one after the other, swing the afternoon away. Against the white snow, their dark dresses make them look like Scooby Doo ghosts floating and twitching over the park, or like spastic Star Wars jawas, maybe.

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