I’VE BEEN WORKING ON THE RAILROAD
I would go down there with my friend CJ, armed with huge plastic bags, and pick up the trash, something the railroad only did about every three months, despite the fact that every housewife in every kitchen overlooking the railroad would throw plastic bags of garbage down into the train bed every single day. We had a fine time cleaning it up. People thought we were crazy.
Having braved Mehmet’s dogs to climb into the railroad, we would not be able to alert Mehmet before getting bitten on the way back through the wall, so we had to leave our huge bags of collected trash under the bridge– where the railroad could find it– and walk the rails until we came to an exit and boost and pull each other out.
After CJ went home to Canada, I did it alone but couldn’t get myself out. So I walked under the gaze of bewildered scarved housewives and screaming children, under the arc of a hurled garbage bag flying out of a window, at last coming to a low railroad bridge over one of the innumerable streets through the city wall.
So homeless Mehmet set up housekeeping in the Boukoleon Ruin, which was a major pain. Mehmet was friendly but his dogs were not. They prevented my forays into the Palace, and interfered with my walking through it to climb through a hole in the wall to the railroad bed.
There I was able to hail some local guys who produced a ladder and a cup of tea. I pantomimed trash pick-up and we went through my sketchbook and several more cups of tea and that was a good Saturday.
One reason I live here is that you never know what’s waiting outside the door. It’s also the reason I think about leaving here every so often, when the thing outside is a butchered tree or some other atrocity rather than a pleasant adventure with friendly working stiffs remind me of my dad, only in Turkish.