Chapter Thirty-Two: Rules (Mersin-10, Turkey)
Forty-four Rules for North Cyprus Living:
- When driving, throw everything out the window. There’s already trash along the road. It can’t hurt anything to throw out a little more.
- When going on a picnic or to the beach, leave all the refuse at the site of the picnic. No one will ever see it again.
- There are some great places near the beach to get rid of beer cans and bottles. This is also a good place to put unwanted building materials, or just about anything that one cares to throw away.
- Do not build any new roads. Just make sure that you buy a car that is big and powerful enough to go anywhere regardless of the condition of the roads. The biggest Mercedes, a Land Rover, or big four wheel drive jeep is recommended. You won’t notice any of the holes in the road. Try to get up enough speed to get airborne.
- Rules for building roads: Turkey will do it.
- Rules for electrical power installations: Turkey will do it.
- Rules for Post Office, Telephone, Telegraph: Turkey will do it.
- Rules for other infrastructural projects: Turkey will do it.
- Rules for sidewalk construction: What are sidewalks? They are to walk on in England and America and to park on in Turkey. Turkey will do it when more parking space is needed in North Cyprus.
- During construction of new buildings, the building materials can be stored on the side of the road, even in the road. No one will mind and in any event, remember that what you are doing is more important than anything else.
- Rules for driving: “Me first.”
- Rule for left turn: “Me First.”
- Rule for Right turn. “Me First.”
- Rule for continuing straight ahead: “Me First.”
- Rules for passing. Yok. There are no rules for passing.
- Warning: When approaching a “STOP” sign, make sure that you do not stop. It is extremely likely that the person immediately behind you will not expect you to stop. If you do, he will not and guess what. BAM! This may have something to do with the fact that there are not many stop signs in the country anyway. And it is a damn good thing!
- Rules for issue of telephone directories: The country should, if at all possible, issue a new telephone directory every seven years, but it is not very important if they do not.
- Rules for home delivery of mail. There is no home delivery of mail.
- Rules for distribution of electricity: Those people who have some importance may be able get government officials to give them free power. Foreigners will be overcharged, even when the electrical power is off most of the time. They can’t do anything about it anyway. If there is going to be a power cut, by all means, do not let anyone know, at least not the public. Cut power at the most optimum times. Like just when it gets dark. Cut the power from time to time to save fuel. The savings will allow the state to hire more people to cut the power. If there is any program on TV that people especially want to see, make sure the power is cut during that program. In case anyone asks about it, explain that the power failed because the insulators were covered by fog.
- Working hours. Go home early, preferably at noon. Better yet, don’t come to work…unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Other rules for driving: The principle of “me first” is paramount. If one is making a turn and sees a car coming, quickly cut in front. The son of a bitch will stop or slow down, or at least he better. When pulling out when another car is coming, try to get out on the road before the other car gets there. If he has to slow down, that’s his problem.
- Old cars should be parked along the main road in Magosa, forever. Make sure to park them for the very last time ever in a prominent place. Like in front of the Rector’s office at Eastern Mediterranean University. No one will ever notice they are there. And if they did, it wouldn’t matter anyway. This is Cyprus.
- Rules for reading books: No one reads books. The more you talk, the more you know. Well, at least the more you talk.
- Rules for holes in roads. Turkey will do it. If you have a big Mercedes, no problem.
- Rules for standing in line: Learn to develop the technique of clandestinely sliding and worming in front of others. However, sometimes boldness is the best policy. Firmly walk to the front of the line and get the attention of the person behind the counter and do your work. The hell with everyone else. Remember, your work is always more important than that of anyone else. And you are more important anyway.
- Suggestion: If someone is doing their work at the counter, try to get your work started in the meantime before his is finished. This will cause more confusion. Even better, is the situation where the clerk starts doing a third person’s work before she is finished with the person who is interfering with yours. Just remember the principle that no matter how many people are waiting in a line or how long they have been there, your work is always more important than anyone else’s. Besides, you are a very busy person. All Cypriots are very busy persons.
- Rules for dogs. Dogs should be tied at a strategic location where they will keep up a continuous barking, howling, and general taking on, creating a disturbance so as to be heard by the maximum number of people. Your neighbors will appreciate the noise you so generously provide for them day and night, continuously. The dog will appreciate it too, being treated like a piece of property and completely neglected. This will prove what a great animal lover and regular person you are. It will also prove that you are civilized. Don’t forget your necktie.
- Rules for cleaning ladies. Your primary purpose is to train people to walk on wet floors, including steps. This can best be done by making sure you lay down a layer of water in front of them as they walk, throughout the day. Be sure to make sure it is good and soapy. You love see to those sons of a bitches ski, ski, ski right on across, out the door and down the steps. Splat! Get rid of their sorry asses. You bet! As soon as enough people arrive in the building, break out the vacuum cleaner. Demand to clean all the rooms. Especially the rooms of those people who are obviously busy. Other rooms can wait. The hell with the rooms where no one is working. What good is it to clean a room without disturbing someone? A vacuum cleaner will stir up an inordinate amount of dust. This is another purpose for which you have been hired. When you see a professor in his or her office, this is the time to wield the solvents, those lovely sprays to shine desks. Not only do they cause headaches and cancer, but they are known to damage brains. The institution’s budget may not be large for books, but it will certainly be large for solvents. Go after those professor’s brains. First things first!
- Rules for heating: Remember, Cyprus is a country that does not need heat. It does not matter how cold and miserable the buildings get in the winter time, it does not need heat. The sun is warm when it is shining, therefore houses do not need heat. Cyprus is a country that does not need heat. Remember, Cyprus is a country that does not need heat. Again, houses in Cyprus do not need heat!
- Rules for use of automobile horns: Remember to always use your automobile horn. Always. Regardless of how inexplicable the reason for using it, always use it. Make sure you blow the horn three or four times whenever you take off. Others might not know you are leaving and it is certain that everyone in the vicinity of your car is interested in knowing that you are leaving. All those in the vicinity, beyond, if your horn is loud enough, must be made aware of the fact that you are leaving. They will think you are cute and a swell guy. This is especially important in the middle of the night. Others might be sleeping and not know you are leaving, so blow it good and hard several times. If there is no response blow it again. At three or four o’clock in the morning, this is a fine time to be doing this. Remember, you’re a swell guy. No doubt about that. You are sitting behind the wheel of a car and you know how to make it go down the road. No one will ever object. No one will ever say anything about it. Don’t even think such thoughts.
- Rules for tending a shop: Open the shop. Sit down. Smoke a cigarette. Have a coffee. Smoke another cigarette. Have a tea. Check the clock. If a customer comes, push him back and protest “We’re closed.” In the case of a coffee shop, if someone asks for Turkish Coffee, protest. Say firmly with finality: “That will take half a day’s work.” Try to get him to drink Cola instead.
Never dust the items on the shelves. Cyprus is a dusty country. So it is natural that the goods should be dusty. If a customer remarks about dust on the items, say “Dust? Where’s the dust? I don’t see any dust. Anyway, Cyprus is a dusty country. I just dusted them yesterday.” After the customer has paid, lay a plastic bag near the items. Oh yes, make sure the isles of the shop are piled full of such items as washing powders, sodas, and so on. That way the customer will have to climb over the items to get to the shelves. This will give you more time. You can go on playing backgammon till time to close for lunch.
- Rules for eating. Eat kebabs, preferably Seftali Kebab. Vegetables are not recommended for Turkish Cypriots.
- Rules for earning a living. Find a way to get the money rolling in without doing any work. Work for the government. You will not actually have to work, but they will have to pay you. You will retire early with a nice income for the rest of your life. Remember, you have earned the rest. Last resort: Drive a new Mercedes taxi. The back seat is very roomy for sleeping in the hot parts of the day.
- Rules for investing money. Best investments are land, houses, gold and Mercedes autos. Never invest in the North Cyprus economy. You can put your money in a bank in London.
- Rules for being a patriot. Remember your motherland: England.
- Rules for National Heritage. Demonstrate all the negative traits of all the peoples who have ever ruled Cyprus over the last 100 years. Take whatever is easiest from all those who have ruled you, including their holidays. All the negative traits, but be careful to avoid the positive ones, especially hard work.
- Rules of building: Provide plenty of water under buildings so there will be a plentiful supply of mosquitoes. Avoid using screens on the windows. Say: “Mosquitoes? Mosquitoes don’t bite me.”
Make sure the windows and doors do not close tightly. This will provide plenty of ventilation in winter months.
- Rules for Rules: Make lots of rules. But never follow any of them. Remember, when making rules, for every rule you make, you must make another rule that is an exception to that rule, in case you do not want to follow the rule for some reason. Nay, because you never have the slightest intention to follow any rule, except the rule that you will never follow any rule. That way you have the best of both worlds. Lots of rules with the appearance of following them. Remember that rules are for others and not you and there are also rules as to who they apply to, but never to you. One can be both modern and traditional at the same time. One can seem modern, strictly western, and use the old feudal personalistic methods at the same time. That’s the beauty of it. In any event, never attempt to apply any rules to the important people. In case you do, it will be your ass, and that defeats your purpose.
- Rules for becoming civilized: Step One: Put on a neck tie. Step Two: Buy a car, even if it is a Tofas. Step Three: Buy a cell phone. Step Four: Get a picture of Ataturk and put it on your wall behind your desk. Step Five: Sit down behind a clean desk. Step Six: Order a Turkish Coffee. When it arrives smoke a cigarette. Smoke another cigarette and call your friend. Now you are civilized.
- Rules for how things work or “The institutional order of society:”
Actually when it comes to most things, the principle that “Turkey will do it” covers almost everything you will encounter in day to day living. It makes life much easier. Convenience is measured in the fact of not having to do anything.
- Rules for bank clerks: Make sure all your friends and relatives call you while you are at work serving customers. That way you will never have to finish any work for any customer. If the phone does not ring during this time, start a conversation with the person nearest you. Become so absorbed in the conversation that you forget all about what you are doing. By all means, never, never look at the customer. If a document or form is needed, make sure that item is kept as far away from your work station as possible. Better yet, make sure it gets misplaced or, better yet, destroyed. That way you can pretend you are looking for it when you are just shirking your work.
- Rules for Managers: No one does any management in North Cyprus. Principles of Management are to be studied in the classroom. They are not to be applied to real life. The singular importance of this rule cannot be overemphasized.
- Rules for work counters. Make sure the work station is behind a very wide counter. This will discourage individuals from forming a line. With individuals spread out laterally, it will be impossible to determine who came first. This is important, because you are not to serve people in the order they arrived, but in the order which you and you only choose. The important people, your friends and relatives, those who you recognize, those who butt in, and who call you by name. Those who wait their turn need never be served. They have clearly not learned the rules. Another beautiful aspect of this system is the grand confusion and frustration it causes. This is so lovely. You can go right on calmly, ignoring everyone and the ensuing confusion and that way your half-day of work will pass much faster.
- Parkinson’s Law (for North Cyprus): One working in a bureaucracy need not ever be overburdened. Parkinson’s law states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. In North Cyprus it is just the opposite. Work contracts or disappears altogether, while leisure expands and is never completed until one breathes their last. Learn the simple procedures for making work disappear. If it is morning, say, “Oh, we only do that in the afternoon.” Of course, there is no afternoon because the office is closed. If it is paperwork, say, “Oh, your paperwork will be completed next month, and so on.” Ask for additional obscure documents from long ago and far away. That way you will not see the son of a bitch for another coon’s age, if ever! Present a long list of rules, which must be followed, but which are, in fact, impossible to either understand or follow. You get the point. Require revenue stamps, even if such a thing does not exist. Especially if they do not exist. Over time you will develop the necessary skills to make work disappear and leisure expand. Place the document firmly on your desk. Take a solid oath never to touch it again. It will remain right on your desk through countless cups of Turkish Coffee, simits, teas, lunches, days, weeks, months and years and so on way past your retirement date. Don’t worry. If all else fails, it can be arranged to lose this paper work at a later date when sufficient time has elapsed. Let it get blown off your desk. Some employees are accomplished enough to lose paper work forever. Over time, the public will expect that the wheels of bureaucracy will move very, very slowly. This will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. That they do not move at all is known to only those with a need to know such highly sensitive and classified information. It is a matter of national security. There is one exception. The only time you need to move the paper is when you get clobbered from above by a son of a bitch with some political power. Then you better move your sorry ass, post-haste. Every second counts. Otherwise, just relax. Take it easy.
These rules may not cover everything, but if one has mastered the above rules, this should prepare one reasonably well for North Cyprus living.