Well, if it’s any indication of the sort of fun I was having last night, I woke up at 15h00 today. Hooray, weekends! You see, I am a morning person—I just like to go to sleep afterwards.
Anyway, I had place on a guestlist for the Daniel Bell / DBX night at Batofar, which was good until 1h00, but I also had a pile of work I needed to take care of, not least of all blogging for the past couple of days. I sat myself in front of my laptop, killed the internet connection, and got to work, churning out posts for Wednesday and Thursday before finally realizing that it was nearly dinnertime. Not wanting to break my flow by cooking dinner (and realizing that I had no food in the apartment to cook with), I headed out for some food to-go. I discovered last week that the street just next to me, rue St. Denis, has a number of grocers and bakers and so on that stay open on Sundays, so off I went to see if I could get me a kebab.
I sauntered into a restaurant/sandwich shop across the way and ordered my sandwich in Turkish from the surprisingly cute guy working there. As he began to cut the meat for my sandwich, he asked me a question that I couldn’t understand. When I said that I didn’t follow him, he switched into French and asked, “Do you know Salmek?” (I think that’s the right spelling.) The French verb “connaître” means “to be acquainted with” and can refer to, people, places or things, so I wasn’t sure if he was talking about a particular person or a kind of food or a bar or his pet dog. I shrugged, and he started singing a song in Turkish that had “salmek” as the refrain. He looked at me as he carved meat off of the Magic Mediterranean Meat Stick (I really wish he would keep his eye on that blade and his hands) with an expectant expression on his face, as if I would soon recognize the song and enter into his intimate sphere of allusion and citation.
No dice. I shrugged and smiled sheepishly while he finished my kebab, and then off I went. He was cute, about my age, very friendly (especially for a kebab-stand-guy) and kept on addressing me in the familiar, so I was a bit gutted that I couldn’t decipher what he was trying to say with his reference to Selmek. Hm.
I went straight home and started looking up the word online, but I couldn’t find anything in any of the Turkish dictionaries that I could find. What I did find, was a “teach yourself Turkish!” webpage with a hilarious sample dialog (no, really, click on this and read it) and a Paris-based blog that considers itself the “Guide of Kebabs.” He also reviews junk food and fast food, but if you click on this link, you can see his blog filtered for just kebab joints. His reviews are based on a 5-point scale of Appearance In-Hand, Meat, Fries, Taste and Stuffing (in the sense of portion-size and how long you stay full after eating it). Oh, and he rates the kebab joints with his oignons d’or (golden onions), from 1 to 5. I considered checking out the places that he’s checked out, but a quick scan of his blog posts revealed that we have different ideals for a good kebab: he wants something super-greasy and messy—like a sloppy joe—with fries stuffed on top, while I want something fresh, stuffed with crisp vegetables and no fries, thank you.
Anyway, that was about all the excitement for today. I went back to writing up my blog post for last night, read a bunch of stuff online (including parts of the transcript for the hilarious / depressing interview between Sarah Palin and Charlie Gibson) and then got to bed around 6h00.