Going upon the recommendation of a friend, I now have a possible student who is actually the Turkish Consulate. Sounds fancy, but more importantly sounds like money dropping into my empty piggy bank, and this particular investor must possess some heavy coins! Seems like a simple task, speak English. I think I can do that- in fact I do do that... A LOT.
Arriving at an unimpressive, immigrant-home-like "office" of the consular, I felt put at ease. Oriental rugs, Turkish coffee pots, tea kettles from the middle ages, lace curtains. Its like the Turkish grandparents home I've never had. Joining him by his 40 year old beat up desk, in front of some flags and posters or mosks, I introduce myself to Tahsin. As suspected, he was a Turk. Dark skin, dark hair, dark eyes, even a dark little mustache. His nervousness makes me feel pretty important, in my little button down shirt and slacks. So. We make a plan. We head off. Where do we go? He's Turkish.. we go for coffee that's where.
Walking along looking for a place, I still, for some reason, felt like a teacher. This was my student. A man in his late 50's, in a cheap suit, with a shitty office. I am his ticket to enlightenment. But once we were situated in a dark little corner of some busy Viennese coffee Cafe, I suddenly felt the weight of my task. As smoke filled our little corner, and after a little bit of a brooding silence, we began to talk. Politics. Oh boy. Should I play the Moldavian who sees the flaws of American society, or should I play the Moldavian who became the American who sees that everyone has flaws and AmericaNS are no different from any other people who are judges by their governments.
It actually didn't matter what I play. I am up against literally thousands of years of history of brooding men sitting in dim and foggy bath houses, smoke and steam mixing and clashing as much as the opinions of the men sitting among it. It was strange to feel the transformation. I felt quickly humbled, because his cheap suit and silly mustache was no indication of his mind. Some prejudice? Yes he had, some anger? That as well. But that aside (and I am quite satisfied in my ability to put him at ease), we had a great intellectual dual. Like two old fat men in white towels wrapped just beneath our sweaty bellies, whipping each other with branches, as we discussed our vision of the world. Slow and calculating, he is a master to my fast and easily rising blood pressure. And we sit, throwing around a dictionary here and there instead of whatever it is they threw around in the bathhouses- maybe women, but me, I'm the little grasshopper, with those little beanies, fetching more coffee as I watch the masters decide the future of economy and community. Maybe I did not feel that young, because after all, I have been known to be philosophical, and I did impress him with my wit. But damn, his rhetoric, metaphors and general outlook of the ideological universe was a bit impressive. Besides his "Do and Americans actually read?" or "All of your best doctors and engineers and thinkers are actually imports from other countries...you buy off your geniuses", other than those irking questions, I am now both scared and awaiting to receive my own enlightenment from this darkish man.