She Who Must be Obeyed

It was a breezy but sunny afternoon. We decided to take advantage of the benign climate and sink a sherry or two in Yalıkavak. We sat at a sheltered table outside a restaurant and ordered a couple of Efes’ (the ubiquitous Turkish brew). Sitting at an adjacent table was a small clutch of emigreys; one woman and two men. The woman was a skeletal, severe looking creature with angular face, beady eyes, austere short cut home-highlighted hair and a shrill voice. As she held court, her emasculated companions attended her silently, nodding in submissive deference as required. She complained stridently of all things Turkish. iam innocently lit a cigarette, provoking her immediate high octave wrath.

“I can’t believe” she screeched ‘how people can smoke while I am eating. How disgusting. It should not be allowed!’

We had hoped that we’d left sanctimonious anti-smoking fascists behind when we migrated. Alas not. We tolerated her invective for a few moments but when Liam could bear it no longer, he coolly but firmly asserted

‘Excuse me. Would you mind not bitching behind my back. If you have anything to say, please say it to my face.’

Clearly, a woman unused to such a direct challenge from anyone, she stuttered out her request lamely.

‘Fine,’ he replied.

Once she had finished her meal, he lit up again and chain smoked. The contest of wills that followed descended into an undeclared war of attrition to see who would leave first. We ordered a second drink, then a third. Finally, she conceded defeat and departed with one of her companions following meekly behind. As the clicking of her witches heels faded into the distance, her liberated second companion sank into his chair and lit a long-awaited cigarette.