Kalkan is a small place. It has a population that London exceeds by 9 million, yet both feel like toy villages. I was there this time last year, and my job was ‘holiday’. My tasks were to swim and tan, to eat out and bar hop, to collect the bartenders and the restaurateurs on Instagram and Facebook; one big hand had positioned them in the paths and the doorways; only it knew how many times they were going to say what they always said, and the number of holiday dollies that were going to hear it. The world’s smallness is exacerbated by tiny islands, where people’s lives loop flawlessly. Even so, I still asked myself ‘what are the odds?’ upon discovering one of the bartenders and I have a mutual friend, one who’d visited Kalkan in August.
The odds are high, because British people holiday in Turkey, Londoners are escapists, and the world is governed by routine. Every place becomes a plastic town rooted in a big table in a fur-lined room. I’m a guest toy in one model town, and a permanent feature in another. When I’m in London, I am confined to the places you expect to find me. When I’m anywhere else, my routine is validating yours. It’s quite cosy. We were all enrolled into someone else’s schedule at birth, there was no ‘argue’ option. So naturally, it is one of those things you will attempt to reject at some point or another. But unlike other rebellions, there is nothing on the other side of the door.
I have a four page routine written on the back of my eyelids. On an individual level, a routine is less of what it means to be alive, and more about the bore of it. That is why I ‘bow out’, sometimes. Rebellion works for me, in theory. It’s supposed to be a holiday. But really, it is a dive off the edge of the table. It’s a painful discovery, to find no life outside of repetition, of being predictable. But it’s better to accept it, to serve people with your willingness to repeat, to perceive life as a looping of different songs. Zooming out, it is all fascinating to look at.