Getting to Düzce
‘Baby, I started counting down the number plates today.’ I know, this makes no sense to anybody who never had a Turkish lover in the army, but for any woman that ever did, it’s clear what this means: only 81 days left till army time is over.
Okay, I’ll explain. Number plates on cars in Turkey always start with the code of the city where the car is registered. Ankara is 06, Istanbul is 34, and so on in alphabetical order up to Zonguldak, 67, and after that some newly founded cities, ending with number 81, which are cars from the town of Düzce. Solders use these codes to keep track of the last 81 days they have left in the army. In other words: if you have only 81 days to go, you’re ‘in Düzce’ and you can start counting down to 01, Adana. Many Turks know all the numbers by heart, I even heard once that they learn them in school (very important information of course). Anyway, my guy is in Düzce now. It may sound a bit childish for adult men to count down the days with city names, but I tell you, a fifteen months term in the army is f*** long, and you clutch at just anything that makes you feel that time is passing. So getting to Düzce is really something. Let alone arriving at Adana – but let’s not get ahead of things.
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