Teenager: “Where are you from?”
Me: “I’m Turkish, but I spent most of my life in the US.”
Teenager: “Oh wow. Did you meet anyone famous?”
For the love of Jesus, son of Mary, please stop asking.
I’ve thought about how to respond. Here are my options, in order of preference:
- I should just lie. Give the people what they want. Tell them all about lunch with Brad Pitt and shopping with Paris Hilton.
- I should empathise. Try to understand why people make the association of celebrities with the US. Or drugs with Columbia. Or bootlegged products with China.
- I should say something else they want to hear, like, “I only met drug dealers in New York” (because seeing them outside your window counts as meeting them).
- I should point to some distant spot, and yell out, “Oh my God? Taylor Lautner’s here!” When they stare away, I should run away.
- I should be honest, reply in the negative, and watch the interest drain from the other person’s face as she eyes some other person she could talk to.
This is where I lived in New York: 55th Street, under the train tracks in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood. And they don’t exactly have gangs or drug lords. Moreover, I don’t think George Clooney would come shopping for kippahs here.