This morning I boarded a bus in Izmit to cross a continent* to walk past Çırağan Palas where there was no one on the street save for a few couples and men pushing carts, where after leaving Beşiktaş only a block or two down the road on my way to Ortaköy there was a fire that a man hobbled in front of wearing a worn-down green sweater. The fire looked like muddy leaves aflame, the kind where brush and tree branches and leaves got swept together into a great or not-so-great pile and were lit to remove debris or clean out metal garbage cans.
Until we realized, all of us on the street, including a police officer at the police station across from the fire that was just staring at it while talking to another man quietly, until we realized the small fire had started shooting up another floor.
This is a real fire, I thought, and kept my head craned towards the orange spit canvassing the stone exterior until a headwaiter in a suit and tie emerged from a restaurant with a fire extinguisher, and the sound of “ssshhh ssshhh-ing” filled the nearly empty Sunday morning street.
Triumphant, he looked around while all along the street valet attendants were on their cell phones doing what, not calling the police because the police were already politely watching the scene, and I didn’t hear a fire truck once.