Risk-taking in Turkey

Those of you who have been following me on Twitter http://twitter.com/loadedbrushwill know I have been in Turkey for the past month, drinking tea (to which I am addicted), eating eggplant (more addicted) and smoking the odd cigarette (shhhh! Not remotely hooked). I am proud to report I won at least one match of Backgammon against a local.

Now granted, he had to slow down considerably to match my tedious pace and continue to remind me that the blank face of the die was the worn down four, but a win is a win! Naturally he claims he allowed it to be so, hospitality and all! Of course I know this not to be the case, as at the beginning of the second game we made our very serious bet!

Feeling I had already taken somewhat of a risk merely being female, alone and fraternising with men in such a place, I was not altogether keen to press my luck with further gamble. However my opponent insisted. I countered with,

“Why can’t we just play to play?” After all, I thought, isn’t that what I do so well? As author of The Play Ethic, Pat Kane, wrote “To play is to express one’s full humanity.” It was amusingly pointed out to me that with a bet on the table, I was far more likely to play in a way that reflected my true nature.

There is a moment at the beginning of an Art Jam, when the silence of the blank canvas calls for participants to roll the dice and the risks are perhaps greater than any bet. I could not deny the precious value of this moment. I quickly agreed to what turned out to be a rather tame wager of a bag of pumpkin seeds.

But of course, as my friend also knew, the real game begins when the paint is flowing or the dice are thrown, and tea and talk and new understandings emerge. “If our immediate social universe is about risk, openness and opportunity, then our personal lives must be about energy, enthusiasm, health and optimism, all those capacities needed to enter the fray.” P. Kane

Stay tuned for more reflections on Turkish time and enjoy the games.

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