Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Today was one of those days that just didn't go well. It could be that I was a slacker and didn't get the endorphins flowing with my usual morning jog, or the fact that I started the day behind because of an unplanned "all day" outing to a government agency yesterday, or it could just be the changing of the seasons, (yes, I woke up to much cooler temperatures this morning) which signal a beginning to shorter days and longer periods of darkness. Whatever it was, almost everything annoyed me. But the kicker, the icing on the cake, the metaphor for my frustration is the effort it's taking (notice present progressive verb tense..) to pay a simple bill.

As you may remember, I changed internet providers to a snazzy new service with fiber optic cables and super high speed service about a month ago. It's all been good, but what I didn't realize is this provider also has a modern way of paying bills..You see, I've gotten so used to not having a bank account and just walking the mall and paying all my bills in cash at the store with the bill's name on the top, that I've forgotten how to do things electronically. Well, I haven't really forgotten..I just don't know the difference between a "fatura", a "musteris No." and a "hizmet", so I can't set these things up on-line. Plus, when the web site translates the banking instructions to English, a pin number may mean something different, and my customer number may be my name or my Turkish resident number or any myriad of other things that I don't recognize. I just feel like numbers are swimming in my head and I can't make sense of them. Plus it's money (my money) so I don't want to send the money to the wrong place, nor do I want to ask my teacher friends for help because then they know my banking stuff and it's not private, and they share everything with their friends...not in a bad's just that "privacy" means something different, etc. (Actually, I'd be curious to know if there even is a word in Turkish for "privacy.")

So, you can probably tell, I went to the bank. I deposited money into my Turkish bank so I could cover the bill since the firm where I got the service didn't want cash. I asked the teller to help me pay the bill but she said I have to use the ATM. I inserted my card into the ATM...luckily I remembered the pin as I haven't used this card since August.  I tried to guess if my bill was a "utility" or many other categories..none of which made any sense in English.  After 3 attempts...luckily there wasn't a line behind me....I found my company..I entered the number I though the machine was asking for...and...drum roll please....nothing happened.  Even worse, I couldn't tell how to get back to the home screen, how to get my card out, or how to get my question answered. I pushed lots of buttons and finally settled on the red "x" with the raised button for blind users. Bingo! My card was returned (not eaten, yeah baby) but nothing was paid. I think the due date is tomorrow.

But two things happened to make the day seem good. 1)After my unsuccessful 3rd attempt I might add to pay this bill,  I stopped by Starbucks where American music was playing (I needed this) and ordered a 1/2 kilo of coffee which then entitled me to a free drink of my choice.. (Never mind that it was now 7:00 p.m. Bring on the caffeine. (Eric suggested I counter it with a Tylenol pm for sleep.)  and 2) I read Mark Wright's blog post (you know the guy I was biking with when I had my accident in Malatya) and he arrived in Hong Kong today at 16,500 + kilometers on his bicycle ride from London to Hong Kong. Cool huh?

As for the blog posts title...I stole the acronym from an American friend living here in Turkey. It means: Things Take Time in Turkey. OK, so time to chill and relax.

1 comment:

  1. Speaking of which, do you still have my copy of The Design of Everyday Things?

    I'm convinced that even if you spoke Turkish flawlessly, these interactions would be unnecessarily difficult. Hopefully you can figure it out!