Wednesday, May 07, 2008


The street janitors of Koşuyolu are special. This attribute arises because of the structure of the vicinity which is mostly houses with small gardens and relatively large deserted streets. In fact, the janitors of all the vicinities in Istanbul are special.

I have always been amazed by the magic of the janitors since I was a small child. The first individuals that I had a chance to meet out of my family were the street janitor, the postman, the ‘simit’ seller and after that the icecream seller… A little bit further, the grocery shop owner tha sold me breads, the butcher and others…

It was very difficult for me to depart from my mother for a whole day when I began to the primary School without going to the kindergarten first… It has been carefully noted in our family jargon that I had cried “I won’t ever go to school, I will become a janitor!” in response to my father’s military officer smile mixed with a ‘shining golden tooth’ in it, which generally indicated an intrigue. As far as I could see at that moment, being a janitor was the closest job that I could perform ‘closest’ to my mother.

Being a janitor has its magic like any other job. A service job… Our vicinity’s janitors have always been people who clean up around silently, avoiding personal contact and they used to disappear in an unknown time as they appear… Carefully, they give succinct but not predominant answers when conversed…. What matters in their relation with the inhabitants of the street is their service.

I love to watch how the janitors perform their jobs since my chidhood… These ‘guys’ are masters of the ‘let it go’ philosophy. As you know, our people in Turkey are not brought up with personal discipline of cleanliness yet, unfortunately. So, the janitors have a lot to do every day… I can observe that the janitors in Istanbul have it ‘ab die Nase – up tp their noses…’ The thing that most excites me is to watch how these heavily loaded janitors manage to confront this difficulty.

Working discipline, to protect their own health and patience, to preserve his energy for his family and the people themselves they serve… Choices between all these are reduced practically to choosing the various types of rubbish that lie on the side way or the street and sweep them into his handheld bucket with his broom. Janitors are masters of ‘let it go’ or ‘may it stay’.

Sweetly… The janitor stands on the street with an inner peace, grace and confidence
that mar s,
if he leaves something on the street, he will find it somewhere close the next day.

Ali R+
April the 23rd 2008(Turkish Children’s Day), Koşuyolu