The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.


Two small boys track the line of workers trimming the palm trees. The men in green jumpsuits stare up at the man-lift. The boys nod at each other with tight-lipped smiles and start in motion. The slightly smaller of the boys unfolds the large package in his hand. He takes out a gruesome mask–a green and red face, half pig and half monster. The mask has a tuft of black hair at the top. He tugs the rubber mask over his face, despite the August heat, and roars as he approaches the first few workers.  Large fronds fall around the men and boys, but most of the men ignore the growling, gaze right over the boy’s head at women passing by, or sometimes briefly glance at their work. Finally a man near the middle, caught off guard, gives a small leap and a double-take on account of the costumed boy. The boy’s unmasked friend is delighted! Success! The boy wants a high five, but his friend’s mask blocks all peripheral vision so the celebration settles into a solo fist pump. Though they only come up to the elbows of the men chopping the palm trees, the boys rush away triumphant, as though they could have done the job without the lift.

–Izmir, Turkey.

Ataturk IzmirMosque Izmir


14 comments on “Palms

  1. turkischland
    August 30, 2012

    Reblogged this on turkischland.

  2. Marcella Rousseau
    September 3, 2012

    I had a cup of Turkish coffee once at a party with mostly Greeks. It was very thick! Beautiful building above. What is it? It seems small.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 3, 2012

      The first picture is an Ataturk statue in the İzmir Kültürpark, and the second is the Konak Cami, both in İzmir, Turkey. The coffee can inhibit one’s sleeping patterns, for sure! When I’m here, I stick to instant Nescafe, just to be on the safe side.

      • Marcella Rousseau
        September 3, 2012

        How is it that you became interested in those parts of the world (and the others)?

      • thenicethingaboutstrangers
        September 3, 2012

        Hmm, trying to remember… 🙂 I moved to Austria because I liked their novelists. I went to Bosnia because I had a fantastic student from that country. I came to Turkey for vacation, and opted to return for a lovely young man. Literary/romantic reasons, it seems!

      • Marcella Rousseau
        September 3, 2012

        Media reports were that the crowds at Madonna’s concert (where she exposed her breast) in Turkey were that they were enthusiastically wowed. What do you think?

      • thenicethingaboutstrangers
        September 3, 2012

        I’m not too sure. I’m not running in “Madonna crowds” in Turkey these days. Several of the big pop artists here are women in their 50s and 60s! Adja Pekkan is 66 and making club music, but I don’t think an act like that would be part of her shows. People respect her voice. The voice really matters. 🙂

      • Marcella Rousseau
        September 4, 2012

        I just wondered if you had heard anything through the grapevine or newspapers about it. It didn’t ring true for me. I’ve heard and seen some of these big pop artists on programs like 60 minutes. Well, if the voice really matters, then that’s another reason for me not to believe what I read; Madonna never had much of a voice.

      • thenicethingaboutstrangers
        September 4, 2012

        If people are going to pay big bucks to see her live, I don’t imagine they can afford to be disappointed. 🙂

  3. M-R
    April 28, 2014

    Do you ever wonder how Turkey ever managed to produce Ataturk, Paige ? I do, quite often …

  4. Arpon Files
    April 29, 2014

    No solo se trata de viajar, sino verdaderamente conocer donde se está y tu conocimiento sobre los lugares que visitas me impresiona. Excelente post. Un abrazo

  5. Arpon Files
    April 29, 2014

    Reblogged this on Espacio de Arpon Files.

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This entry was posted on August 29, 2012 by in Europe, Happiness, Inspiration, Mischief, Observed, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , .

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