Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mental Patient Escapes to Istanbul

Kazantip, Ukraine

“Are you crazy?!” It’s not so much a question as a statement you’d make to someone who’s wearing his Bellview Mental Hospital sweat suit, while you listen to a radio report about an escaped mental patient, while watching him use a Chihuahua as a towel to dry himself from the fierce rainstorm he's hallucinating. I mean, for Christ's sake, at least use a bigger dog man!  
“Booked a ticket to Istanbul yesterday. All accommodations here sold out from tomorrow night on.”
“Well Jesus, stay with us already. Making the trek all the way out here, and leaving right before opening night would be like wining and dining a super-model for a month, and getting up to leave during foreplay,” comes his response.
Since he puts it that way ... I certainly don't want the derisive scorn from my mates associated with making a such an unmanly mistake! That plus the fact that he’s already on the phone with Bellview authorities trying to return them their rightful property ... I readily agree to his offer.
I had met a Turkish girl in Odessa who seemed quite excited to show me around Istanbul, but right now I am seriously considering missing my flight, something I’ve never done. It's unlikely I’ll ever be out all this way to experience this party again.
I return late from my meet-up with the Russian Models and receive a text telling me the offer of accommodations is void, that they are truly unable to fit any more people into their overstuffed room here in Kazantip.
Internet has been down all day, not an uncommon occurrence out here, and I have no place to stay tomorrow, and I have nothing prepared for Istanbul, and no way to book. 
I wake-up a few hours later. Still no Internet. I have little choice, I get in a cab, drive two hours to the airport. Convince the VIP Lounge to let me use their Internet. I log on and there’s a Facebook message from Gamze (Turkish girl) stating that she’ll pick me up from the airport, “write me back to confirm you’ll be here,” I excitedly start to reply, when my lap-top crashes.
Since May the hard drive has told me it was planning to self-destruct. Every time I have logged on I get the warning, “Hard Drive Failure Imminent,” and now apparently was as good a time as any to follow through on the threat.
My computer won’t come back to life. Great, now I am going to show up in Istanbul with no computer, no place to stay, and Gamze refreshing her Facebook page, thinking me a rude, monstrous putz for not even bothering to reply.
I tinker with my computer as long as I can, zero success, race downstairs to my plane, becoming the last passenger to board. 
Bye-bye Kazantip
I'm flying by the seat of my pants yet again, an hour and a half later landing at Atta-Turk Airport. I think to myself I leave too much to fate, that a little preparation would go a long way. Now I have wasted all this time, energy, and money getting to a city I wasn’t inordinately fond of last time I was here, and the reason that I came likely won’t even want to speak to me. Stupid Internet. Stupid computer. Stupid me. Maybe I do belong in Bellview.
With all these thoughts circulating my mind, I take a few conscious deep breaths, hoping to delay my own imminent hard drive failure. I have weaved my way through the long passport control line, and walk out into Big Bad Istanbul, trying to predict which scam the taxi driver is going to try to pull on me ---
“Richard!!!” comes the voice.
I turn to my right and look. There’s Gamze! Oh my God, she came to the airport! What if I hadn’t come?! Now I'm excited. Who cares about organization. Who cares about preparation. Everything works out for me. I live charmed life. I give her a big hug and dance around for a second. Happy feet!
As we walk away together, a commotion ensues behind us. I turn around and see some burly authorities with "Bellview" stenciled on the back of their uniforms affixing a straight jacket onto a struggling male they've pinned to the ground who's yelling, "You've got the wrong guy! You've got the wrong guy!!"

It's a near certainty he's right.    

Mental patient rides lion in Istanbul

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