Missing in action

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- Of course it had to happen eventually. It was my own fault. Everybody brings their garden furniture indoors over the winter, but I was foolish enough to leave mine outside. So, surprise, surprise, when the sun came out and I sat down on one of the wooden seats it promptly fell apart beneath me.
Things may have improved greatly on the shopping front around here, but still Göreme is hardly awash with nice garden chairs for sale. Nor did I recall having seen any in NevIehir. Kayseri was bound to have them, but, boy, what a hassle it would be to have to go all the way there just for a seat.

Sitting on the one surviving chair and surveying the wreckage of the other one, I let my mind flit back to the day, some seven or eight years ago, when I’d originally acquired it. In those days even Kayseri wouldn’t have been able to rise to a garden chair, so a group of four of us had piled into a van and off we’d gone to Adana where, in one of the then new and exciting shopping malls, we bought so many consumer durables that two of us had to sit on the floor on the way back.

“Why don’t you order a new one online?” a friend suggested. “I’m sure KoçtaI will do them. And they deliver to Göreme.”

So off I went to the Internet and was delighted to find that it was really very easy to order and pay online, and to nominate a hotel to receive the parcel.

Delivery in two days, the site promised, and sure enough two days later I received a phone call from a deliveryman who was somewhere in Göreme but was having no success in finding me. Again and again he called, even though Göreme only has a population of 2,000 and all the hotels are clearly signposted. The third time, he put me onto a local who I’ve known since I first came to live here. In other words, someone who knew where I lived and the hotel right next door.

It would have been no more than a drive of five minutes to get that chair up to me. Three-quarters of an hour later I went round to the hotel to fetch it. “No,” they said. “There’s been no delivery.”

I tried calling the deliveryman. No answer. A friend tried calling from a different number. No answer. “Turks can be tricky like that,” he said to me. “His van will have broken down or his phone will have been stolen.”

Next day there was still no sign of the package. The deliveryman seemed to have disappeared with my parcel into some Göreme version of the Bermuda Triangle midway between the center and my house. But he did at least answer the phone now. “Tomorrow,” he said. “InIallah.”

That inIallah didn’t fill me with much confidence so I waited another two days before returning to the hotel. There, happily, was the parcel. I carried it home fully expecting some flat-pack thing with 500 pieces and an assembly booklet crudely translated from the original Japanese. But, no, it was in one piece. It was just that it was in one piece that I could find no way to unfold. Really. No matter how hard I tried.

Now the chair is leaning against the wall. Tomorrow I’ll drop by the hotel again and see if someone can help me.

Pat Yale lives in a restored cave-house in Göreme in Cappadocia.

PAT YALE (CihanToday’s Zaman)