Being a human being in Istanbul

Blue Mosque Under Spirograph Skies
Blue Mosque Under Spirograph Skies, Istanbul, Turkey | Art by Todd Berman

I think we’ve been traveling too long. Todd and I have gotten too used it being just us two. It’s our last morning at our hostel in Istanbul and a politely ballsy woman asks to sit with us at breakfast. Even though neither Todd or I are morning people, we manage to have an interesting conversation with Valerie, a smart Québécois who has spent the last two years in Paris earning her Masters in international relations.

After breakfast, while Todd heads off to try to rescue our laundry from the shop that’s been holding it hostage, Valerie asks me if she can tag along with us on our last day explorations of Istanbul. I hesitate. I make excuses. I’m non-committal.

A few minutes later, Todd returns triumphant with our cleaned unmentionables. As I’m folding socks and repacking my bag, my brain snarls at me “What’s wrong with you? That nice woman, traveling on her own, wanted some company and you brushed her off. Go be a human being.”

Later, after we’ve skipped aimlessly along the Bosphorus on local ferries and before we slip out of our shoes to strain our necks looking up at the Blue Mosque‘s dome, Valerie thanks us for inviting her to join us saying, “I’ve gotten so tired of myself.”

Todd replies, “That’s okay. We’re tired of ourselves…” and I quickly add “and each other too!”