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Tag Archives: Addiction

The 1st Scroll: Turkish Delight

Hi, my name is Taf and I am a nostalgia junkie. Sometimes when I get high off nostalgia I see hieroglyphs in my minds eye. On even rarer occasions lost in the midst of these hieroglyphs my fingertips start to write. In this dalliance with Thoth the ancient Egyptian God of writing. I am able to navigate around my way around my memory’s museum. On a good nostalgia high the fire of inspiration burns brightly and I can eloquently decipher these hieroglyphics onto the page and in turn share the many different artefacts my memory has curated.

Allow me to be your tour guide. If you don’t enjoy the tour. Oh well drumroll please. Ladies and gentleman. (Plays Afromen. ‘Because I was high’) Sue me.

I remember my very first job ever , which I got at the end of my first semester of my first year of uni. It was a job in a Turkish restaurant. Cafe Istanbul. It was a pretty hands on job. It covered everything from doing the dishes to waiting on tables to grilling the kebab meat. It was a job born out of necessity rather than any innate work ethic. If anything it was fueled by a desire to fund my burgeoning social life. It wasn’t my first choice either.

As it was I had my eye on a gig with the local music store which was part of a grand plan to build my CD collection. Mind you this was before the proliferation of iPods and iTunes and lets just say I considered myself a bit of a lime-wire snob. Fate had other plans though and it conspired to lead me into a friendship with a Turkish student, who in turn put me onto the job at Cafe Istanbul. Again this was before the days of LinkedIn. Sigh.The ‘good old days’. Damn you nostalgia. P.S. Has anyone ever got a real paying job through LinkedIn anyway? I digress.

As the first semester had drawn to a close I had also increasingly started to get more and more nauseated at the mere thought of two-minute noodles. Something that an upgrade from the standard supermarket issue to Nasi Goreng had not alleviated.The glamour of student life. So this job was a welcome reprieve. It was goodbye noodle diet. Hello gourmet Turkish food. Balling. Need I mention the extra cash it freed up to allow to fund my quest to become the ultimate brother to the night.

Little did I know that my my new employer would over the course of time often act as my surrogate Mum. She was a charming, unassuming and nurturing Turkish lady. Kader was her name, which actually means garden in heaven in Turkish.Seeing as my own mother was on another continent over 12000km away her role as my surrogate Mum during this transition into adulthood proved invaluable. Even though I was just an employee she fussed and hovered over me with a maternal sincerity I didn’t fully appreciate at the time. She made me feel part of the family.

Also being a full time student and only being able to work part time meant that I worked mostly nights often finishing late after the buses had stopped running without fail and even though it was out of her way she would always drive me home late at night after work. Then there was the coffee. Not just any coffee but the traditional turkish coffee (Türk kahvesi). She would always sit me down and make us a cup after we had shut shop right before she drove me home.

If you have ever drunk Turkish coffee you will know that its served usually in very tiny cups with no handles so have to handle it with your fingertips. It is very thick and syrupy, very different from your regular cappuccino. Turkish coffee is normally prepared using a narrow-topped small boiling pot called an cevze (basically a tiny ewer), a teaspoon and a heating apparatus. The ingredients are very finely ground coffee, sometimes cardamom, cold water and sugar .

It wasn’t so much the taste but the sentiment this after work coffee ritual facilitated. For during this time she would drop the whole boss act and put on her surrogate Mum hat. Then go on to inquire about how I was doing with uni.How was I coping with the homesickness. Always tempering the incquistions with light hearted jibes about the girls she always claimed came in to just flirt with me to which I would feign ignorance. Which would often result in her actively trying to embarrass me and if she was feeling quite chirpy pimp me out. Fun times.

But my favourite part of the whole thing was the fortune telling part. Every time you drink Turkish coffee, when you are done , because of its syrupy nature there is always some residue which is a thick layer of sludgy grounds at the bottom of the cup. Kader would proceed to make me turn over my cup (with the left over coffee ground) over into the saucer to cool.It is this residue she would proceed to diligently analyse the unique pattern of the coffee grounds that resulted and with it read my fortune.

I know what you are thinking. “Fortune telling. Really Taf?”. I know. “But you are a man of science.” I know. When you done rolling your eyes allow me to explain. Her particular brand of fortune telling never really was about making predictions per se , more like subtle suggestion, gentle nudges of guidance and often practical advice or affirmation of things I was going through all disguised as fortune telling. As a consequence I indulged her. There was a quite comfort in the whole process. For which I am still grateful. In a way now equipped with the power of hindsight I realise that the whole experience was very much a nostalgia hit for her as well. We were both foreigners in a strange land as and she would often reminisce about her younger days back in Turkey.

I later discovered much later on that as well as being an ‘every day’ beverage, Turkish coffee is also a part of the Turkish wedding custom. As a prologue to marriage, the groom’s family must visit the bride’s family to ask permission for and blessings upon the upcoming marriage. During this meeting, the bride must prepare and serve Turkish coffee (Türk kahvesi) to the guests. For the groom’s coffee, the bride uses salt instead of sugar to gauge his character. If the groom drinks his coffee without any sign of displeasure, the bride to be assumes that the groom is good tempered and patient. This just might explain her attempts at ‘pimping me’. Maybe.

Anyway it was with this need for a nostalgia hit that earlier in the week i set set about hunting down a Turkish restaurant in the Mother City. The Culture vulture was on the prowl.

As soon as I walked into Anatoli just about every one of my senses were assaulted. I was enveloped in ts warm and seductive ambiance. The familiar smell of donor kebab meat blended with the aroma of the freshly baked flat breads.The laid out meze trays of assorted hummus, cous cous . eggplant, tabule.The coffee would seal the deal.

No sooner had I settled into my Türk kahvesi, the most angelic voice interrupted me. A voice that perfectly mirrored her striking face. “Is this seat taken?” Mesmerised my voice betrayed me and embarrisngly gestured for her to take the vacant seat. Her eyes gleamed softly with life. She smiled. A beautiful enigmatic smile as wide as fields of jasmine and glover. As she sat, the heavens opened up outside and the rain poured outside. The next thing I know. She said one thing, I said another. My voice allied with me this time. It was the perfect storm. Our conversation meandered and flowed through our different narratives on how we had met Türk kahvesi. Bliss. It felt like we were dancing in the rain. Effortlessly. I didn’t want the rain to stop I wanted to stay soaked in that torrential downpour.

Lost in that rain dance we had lost all sense of time. Minutes had turned into hours and the restaurant was closing up. So rather reluctantly we got ready to make our leave. It was now or never. “Will I see you again?” Before she could answer I stopped her “No don’t answer that.”I said then channeling my inner Love Jones. I continued “Because rather than deal with the fallacy of this dry ass reality I would rather romance and dance with you in a wet dream.”

Well that’s what I wanted to say and should have said. Instead I just helped her with her coat. Then I chuckled to myself. What would Kader make of this little encounter. I could use her fortune telling skills right now.

I grabbed my dogie bag with my Turkish delight and proceeded to walk her out. We get along really well for a couple of virtual strangers I thought.

To be continued

Written by Tafadzwa Tichawangana

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iPhone Addiction Disorder

So when I first started this blog the premise was do write a quick write up. Short and sweet. Just list Ten reasons why you hate your iPhone. (Her name is Delilah ). How hard could that be? However true to form the words took on a life of their own ( Brevity is not my strong point).The result of which you are reading now. Firstly allow me to bring you up to speed. A few days ago I found myself screaming at my iPhone irrationally all because it had gone flat and dared to take fifteen minutes to charge up and switch on again. (Yes a whole fifteen minutes, I know!).

Anyway as I attempted to navigate my way out of this fit of rage that threatened to completely overpower all my faculties, reality came to my rescue. Well, sort of. It smacked me in the face. The fingerprints of reality leaving an imprint, whose contours and ridges seemed to outline a map , leading to clarity. I couldn’t deny it anymore. I was totally dependent on this pocket-sized gadget.( She is sexy as hell though) As I glanced and then did a double take in the mirror , the imprint had seemingly vanished.In its place I recognised an unwelcome mask, embarrassment. I was ashamed of my dependency. I had grown to resent my iPhone. In my minds eye I had begun to view and subsequently treat it as if it was a sentient being bent on making me weak and incapable of functioning independently. The Delilah to my Samson. I hated it for that. I made a mental note to blog about this hatred (OK, I lie, I put a in a reminder in my iPhone ) .

I set about frantically typing in quick ideas, pressing aggressively on the touchscreen ,almost as if to punish my iPhone. I would show her who was boss! As I begin to taste what I thought was victory, my palate was in for a shock. Bitter-sweet. Victory wasn’t supposed to taste like this. As I finished I could spy defeat on the horizon. She had a smirk on her face.In response I muttered an expletive under my breath. She knew she had made me succumb again.It dawned on me then that what I truly hated was that I didn’t hate my iPhone at all. Not even close. Not even a little bit. Not even at all. How poetic. What is it my English teacher used to say about poetry. That’s right “Poetry can be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings”.

Fast forward to a couple days later. I decide to tackle this love/hate relationship the only way I know how. Write about it. Writing has often proved a cathartic and therapeutic experience for me. So there I found myself in my writing space.

Did I have to sign up to one of those support groups, I thought to myself. ” Hi my name is Tafadzwa and I am addicted to my iPhone “. At this exact moment I realise that I have just had a sudden case of verbal diarrhea. My thoughts have just pulled a prison break on me. I felt helpless as I watched my voice trail off into the coffee shop.There I was sitting, wearing a stupid look on my face. My thoughts had just done nude run in Mugg & Bean. Classy Tafadzwa. Real classy. I don’t get much time to indulge my self loathing though.Through the corner of my eye I spot a couple nearby,presumably on a date, ( No wonder he is alone they must be thinking to themselves). Hang on some respite they both had placed their iPhone’s next to their Double chocolate lattes. Almost as if it were part of a regular display of utensils poised for immediate use. I am in good company I see.They smiled at me knowingly. Comfort in numbers. We could start a support group right here in this Coffee shop. I chuckled to myself. Resisting the urge to tweet what had just transpired. This addiction thing is going to be harder than I thought. Addiction?Yes.

So I am an addict. Great. I silently say to myself. This time resisting the urge to put my hand over my mouth and gag myself (Although my lips tightly pursed together just to be sure ). Fool me once. Ha. My current train of thought is interrupted abruptly. She lights up. That retina display is quite something ain’t it. Its a notification.(Such an attention seeker). I make a mental note not forget to Google addiction.The light seems to be beckoning me. Come into cyber space , your eternal safe space. I dont put up a fight . I follow the light.

One definition of ‘addiction’ is when other people and other activities in your life begin to suffer because of something you know you should cut back on, but don’t.You always have all the answers, don’t u Delilah. I knew I was hooked emotionally. As with addiction to drugs or cigarettes or food, the chemical driver of this process is the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. I often find myself waking up in the middle of the night and automatically reaching for my iPhone to see if there are any new e-mails, text messages and what’s happening in the world of facebook/Twitter.I do the same at meetings at work, surreptitiously checking out my phone under the table. What can say,I need my fix. I am an addict.

Now addiction to the iPhone is not something that should be greeted with a sardonic wink. Oh the classic roll of the eyes . I see you judging me. Stop it!This is serous business. As a matter of fact psychiatrists In Taiwan have diagnosed a few people already with iPhone Addiction Disorder (IAD). True story. Google it.

As acceptance slowly settled in. I reflected.I cant stay offline I had never been able to resist the temptation to turn on and check my iPhone. I always have this nagging feeling that I was unable to disconnect. Did I own my iPhone or did it own me? I am perfectly OK with being out of sight, but being out of site, now that’s a problem. I find myself , creating status updates or Twitter feeds in my head. How pathetic is it when you realise you have lost the ability to live in the moment, and have become conditioned to feeling like you have to instantly share it electronically while it is still going on.

Surely I should be spending less time in the virtual world checking and rechecking my iPhone, and more time taking part in what used to be regarded as real life? There is something inherently wrong when being separated from my iPhone, makes me feel nervous, irritable, tense. In other words, when I begin to exhibit classic withdrawal symptoms?

There is a strong case can be made that when a person lives too many hours a day in the digital universe, that is when he or she is really missing
something. Missing the things that are taking place in the flesh-and-blood world. We are all guilty of it to some level and as a result have become less sociable with people in our presence but ever more present (online) with each other even though we are physically nowhere near one another. How ofen have you been texting even while your partner /friend is telling you about his or her day at school/work, and realising later that you can’t remember the details of what they said to you.

Its sad isn’t it. We are living in an age of immediacy. Always in a constant sense of urgency. We spend our days with our head in the high-tech “clouds”. It is worrying an indicator that present company, for example at a the dinner table or in what is passing for conversation, is less relevant to what is currently being communicated to them via iPhone babble. Despite our unprecedented connectedness, we sometimes feel more overwhelmed and, ironically, disconnected, than ever before. To quote one of my favourite bloggers Khaya Dlanga on the impact of social media “We had nothing before it, we had everything after it; in short, everyone heard us, but nobody listened to us, we were all friends, we were all lonely”

Researchers on the brain have begun to imagine theories that postulate that the brain, the organism itself, is somehow becoming dependent on the machine( iPhone) as if it were an auxiliary attachment becoming essential to its functioning. Frankly, it sounds bizarre, although my own experiences have indicated a dependency that appears deeply embedded in myself and many of the people I encounter in my daily life.

Taking all this on board I think I can argue persuasively that there can come a time in a person’s life when he or she is a good candidate for iPhone detox. A process that would involve reconnecting with people. It’s all about indulging in a healthy manner. Rediscovering the art of conversation. No one is forcing us to become so overloaded and overwhelmed.

So what is the way forward. Re: Think, Re: Boot, Re: Connect and Re: Vitalise. I need to start changing my ways now. I am going to fight this addiction with a vengeance. I have to. Because right now my addiction is irritating me more than it is those around me. This is Sparta!

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Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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