Sunday, 1 August 2010

Habits and Rituals

I think the majority of us are creatures of habit.  I believe we develop little daily rituals, and get into the habit of doing things a certain way, because it feels somehow comforting and reassuring.

I was thinking about this today as I was travelling...yet bus over to see Mr Ayak.  I'm almost always too early for buses and have to wait around.  In fact I'm an "early for everything" kind of person..I have been all my life. I just hate being late.

The buses back from Bodrum to Milas, run every 20 minutes.  The journey takes between 40 and 50 minutes, depending on the driver and the traffic.  I always catch a bus at 10 minutes past the hour, and when I'm dropped off at the road to the village to get the dolmuş, I have to wait..usually at least half an hour.  I know that the village dolmuş leaves Milas on the hour and that it will take anything from 20 minutes to half an hour to reach me.  While I'm waiting, the next bus which leaves Bodrum at half past the hour, arrives...and of course I'm still the blazing sun.   So why do I keep catching the earlier bus?  I keep telling myself I should catch the later bus, but somehow I can't bring myself to risk it.  It's crazy, but it's become a habit that for some unknown reason, I'm reluctant to break.

And talking of catching the Bodrum bus, Mr Ayak now has a little ritual.  He takes me to the bus station, then he pops into a shop and brings me a bottle of water for the journey, and an energy drink which he insists I have to drink as soon as I arrive home.  Even though my "too-early" bus was about to leave today, Mr A told the driver to wait while he rushed to the shop to get my if something terrible might happen if he didn't!

When I finally get back to the village, I encounter another little ritual...every time.   It's really exhausting walking up to the house in this heat.  Half way up the hill lives a little old lady.  She sees me coming and she leans over her wall with a glass of water for me to drink.  I suppose if I had refused it the first time, she may not have offered again, but she is just so sweet I didn't want to offend her, so I accepted.  So even if I don't want it now, I can't possibly refuse can I?

There is another ritual which any English-speaking person in Turkey will recognise.  If Turkish children know you're English they have to call out "hello" in English.  Of course the kids are on school holidays now so there are a fair number out and about in the village and on the way to the house, so I don't expect to walk past them without being called to.  They have a standard phrase "Hello...what is your name?"   You answer...but the conversation doesn't develop.  They just keep repeating it...."hello...what is your name?" ad infinitum...until you just have to make out you can't hear them.  I've discovered there's very little point in trying to say anything else, because they just giggle and start all over again..."hello..what is your name?"   aaargh!

As I'm doing this bus journey quite regularly now, I'm beginning to notice things.  A couple of things amuse me.   There is a house at the side of the road in Guvercinlik (on the Bodrum to Milas Road) which is called "Pentonville".  I wonder who owns it?  Is it perhaps English people with a strange sense of humour, or is it owned by Turks who just picked an English name at random.   (For those of you who aren't English, or familiar with the name...Pentonville is a prison).

There's also a boutique hotel just outside Bodrum called "Sedative".  I don't know why that makes me chuckle...but it does!

Anyway...back to the subject of this post.  Do any of you have any little rituals or habits that you just can't break? 


  1. My father was always early for things like am I.
    I prefer to be sure, so I'd be out there with you in the hot sun...just to be sure!

  2. Fly: I'm glad its not just me! It is infuriating though when other people get off a bus just in time to catch the village bus, without having to wait at all.

  3. I tend to throw a book in my bag and sit and read whilst I wait, I too am a 'too early' bird but we don't have the heat to contend with!

  4. another "too early" person here. I get too stressed if I have to think that I have to rush. I never liked to get to work right "ON TIME" but had to be early so I could settle in before the work hours arrived!
    Can't get into a bed that hasn't been made up....sometimes i I haven't got around to it during the day, I just get it all made up and tidy at bedtime, then crawl into it. Habits....habits.

  5. Kelloggsville: That's a good idea. I always take a book when I'm flying, because I'm always at the airport much too early..but I'll take one next time I get the bus.

    Charlotte Ann: Oh me too with making up beds! I can't stand wrinkled sheets.

  6. Love the litttle old lady on the hill bit .... I have too many rituals to mention ... Ill have tothink of some of them lol xx

  7. I am not a ritual type- as far as I can see. But I do know that the time before my morning coffee is critical and if something the slightest bit annoying happens- like spoilt milk, for example, then I am very wary for the rest of the day. That isn't really a ritual is it?
    By the way, your story about the children reminded me of something. Once time I was walking near an army base here in Izmir and the guard was eager to practice the half-remembered English lessons from grade school and said in a burst, "Howareyoufinethanksandyou?"
    I just blinked at him, not knowing how to respond.

  8. Bomb: Yes the little old lady is kind.

    Nomad: Difficult to know how to respond really..actually I'm not sure we're expected to..I think they just like to practise.

    The coffee thing sounds like a bit of a ritual to me.

  9. Village children are great. Once we were greeted with "Ey up!", said with a midlands accent, which was very strange!

  10. Jan: That's very funny! We do get some of the market traders here in the tourist areas speaking with various British dialects. Also one of their favourite sayings when trying to sell their wares is "It's cheaper than Asda"


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