Last week we went to the mainland to meet a friend of Elif’s from high school named Nasl?. Her name means “someone who plays hard-to-get, saying no before actually giving in” – a very interesting name for a woman! However, what is even more interesting to me, given the fact that I am an extremely subtle and sophisticated person, is the fact that she has a huge nose – this lets me call her Nostril, which rhymes with her name, and therefore provides me with much amusement! In fact, I sometimes call her Nasal, which doesn’t really rhyme with Nasl? but it sounds just fine to me! What makes it even better is that the woman is actually insufferable – something of a party girl, giggling her head off, tossing her terrifying bleach-blonde hair. Now, if I were God, one of the first decrees I would pass would read: “Thou shalt not have blond hair if thou hast Mediterranean blood.”
A few days ago, Nasl? called announcing that her birthday is coming up and that she was going to have a party on a boat, so we said, of course we’ll come! Then, she called back and said that the boat was too expensive to rent, and that we’ll all meet in a loud smoky nightclub instead – wouldn’t that be great? But suddenly, Elif at the last minute felt too sick to come, so we couldn’t go! And as soon as she hung up telling the bad news to her friend she felt 100% better!
Now the reason I’m going into this story about Elif’s friend, Nosehair, is because of the following interesting tidbit which she mentioned about Elif’s ex-husband, Mehmet Gun, when we were together. He’s a brilliant artist and a was a thalidomide baby; they were married for three months back in 1993. Not only was his mother Elif’s vocal coach, but his father was the opera director – so after Elif got divorced, she left her singing career in the Turkish opera (after rocketing to stardom and get the lead in the Entfuhrung performed at Topkapi Sarayii) and came to America. The first thing Nasli told us is that he and Jacques Derrida have finally started their university in Paris, and he’s there teaching right now; the second thing we heard is that his new book, published in Turkish and German, is, according to Nasl?, about my wife. Elif wants no part of it – she’s sure it’s a combination of his art (I’ve been flipping through program books from his exhibits: extremely interesting stuff – lots of burnt objects, glasswork, engravings, writings, piranhas) and his art-philosophy (undigested Nietzsche), which are intertwined in his work. She doesn’t care whether the book is about her, or her philosophies of life, or their relationship, or if it’s an angry rant like Philip Roth’s book about his ex-wife, or if she’s barely in it at all. My German and Turkish aren’t quite at the point where I could get through such a book. But the voyeur in me (that is to say, me) is curious.