J.A. McCarroll: GRAND, BIZARRE #2 An Inside the Box kind of weekend: Halloween and Occupy Istanbul


An Inside the Box kind of weekend: Halloween and Occupy Istanbul

by J.A. McCarroll


October 27: 11 46 P.M.

?It?s not pizza, John.? My girlfriend stands in the doorway of our house holding nine Domino?s Pizza boxes. She is responding to my gleeful cry of ?You really do love me!?

?They?re just boxes.?  Quickly it becomes established that A) The boxes are here for Halloween and the Occupy Istanbul Rally, B) My girlfriend, who has a job, an apartment, and a college degree, was not aware that all forms of cardboard boxes can be folded down for transport, and C) It is extraordinarily impolite of me to mention this after she carried them all the way from Galatasaray (!) to our flat.

The boxes have never held any pizza, but I spray them with windex just in case. ?John, ? she says from the spare room we leave all our stuff in, ?think about what you want to be for Halloween.? I know what I don?t want to be: infested by cockroaches.



October 28: 9 47 P.M.

From the back, I look like a Domino?s Pizza advertisement. I cannot quantify how many people have told me that today. For the record, this is not intentional. The pizza boxes are the medium, not the message. From the front, I?m a bit harder to guess. I?ve gotten two rubix cubes, several legos, and a ton of references to things I?ve never heard of. Listen people, I?m a god damned Tetris piece; don?t get it twisted. If you?ve already got it twisted, fucking stop, alright?

The costume was my girlfriend?s idea, beating out my trifecta of ?slutty Pokemon,? ?slutty ghost,? and ? the personification of loneliness.? She is currently dressed as a ?T? shape, which is infinitely more charismatic than a square, although she has a hard time going through doors (As a result of the costume, not because of any existing deformities).

On the other side of the room, my friend is dressed like Abraham Lincoln. So far, everyone at the party thinks that he has dressed as a ?Jew? for Halloween. There have been several suggestions for props to make his costume better.  The number one suggestion is ?those weird dreadlock things.? I?m a bit surprised that no one in a room full of overly polite Americans seems to think being a ?Jew? for halloween is at all tasteless.

Thank god there?s booze.


October 28: 9 53 P.M.

I?m currently explaining the pizza boxes to a South African girl I strongly suspect is not wearing a costume, although it?s possible she?s dressed as the ?80s? or ?emo? or whatever quitters do these days. ?Yeah, she,? I point to my T-shaped girlfriend over by the punch bowl, ?brought the boxes home. I don?t support Domino?s at all. They aren?t pro-choice. Who wants more babies?? I?ve had to explain this several times tonight. Surprisingly, no one seems to find it very persuasive or interesting.

She?s not looking very convinced. ?Did you buy them?? she asks, clearly assuming I?m the sort of person who would have eaten six boxes worth of sub-par pizza just for a halloween costume in a country that doesn?t celebrate halloween, ?because it really looks like ??

??Nope.? I cut her off. I?ve had about four beers by now, and I?m sick of this banter. ?We stole them.? (We didn?t.) ?Yeah, we stole them. Occupy Istanbul, tomorrow morning. You goin? or you ho?-in?? She excuses herself for the bathroom.

Over to my right, I hear the following snippet of conversation: ?We shouldn?t drink anymore, we don?t want to be hung over for church.? My friend, Abraham Lincoln, lurches in and demands, ?Wait, you mean like religious church??

I?m not sure what he meant by that, but it?s explaining a lot about the party.


October 28: 10 12 P.M.

A partial list of comments I made at the party that I wouldn?t have if I knew at the time that everyone except myself, my girlfriend, and my friend dressed as Abraham Lincoln belonged to the same Methodist church:

1) ?The less babies the better, am I right??

2) ?He?s not just any jew, he?s Jesus! Yo man, show them your wicked stigmata!?

3) ?What if we can?t kill ourselves because we?re already in hell??

4) ? I love to steal shit.?


We have just got into a cab, and the taxi driver has assured us of two things- he likes America (?very much well?) and also, Domino?s pizza (?Me favorite?) . Up in the front, Honest Abe is explaining exactly why we are wearing silly clothes. I interrupt them, displaying my extraordinary control of the Turkish Language.  ?Bugün Şeytan ve şeker bayramı!? This roughly means, ?Today is Satan and candy holiday!? The taxi driver doesn?t miss a beat; ?I am Satan,? he says in English. It?s an even draw whether or not this a better or worse scenario than the methodists.


October 29: 12 17 P.M.

In a strange feeling of Deja vu from the parts of last night I remember, I am again only one of the three who is adequately prepared for an event. The event in question is the Occupy Istanbul protest, and unsurprisingly, my prepwork is in  the form of a modified Domino?s pizza box, a hastily assembled leftover from last night?s costume. When I hold it as a sign, it displays a Wu-Tang quote that I think might get me into the front page of a major news outlet. It says, ?C.ash R.ules E.verything A.round M.e,? which is the kind of deadpan black humor I favor when I?m so hungover breathing hurts.

Currently, it is folded up as a pizza box, and isn?t sending the kind of message the Occupy Istanbul team wants to send. A delegate from their officer cadre, a group of men wearing cable-knit sweaters and brown cargo pants, hurries over to me. He has a beard that will no doubt be wizardeque later in life, and is carrying a plastic bag full of shelled walnuts.  ?Merhaba,? he begins, pointing at the box rather aggressively.

After I unveil my work, he takes my picture with an Iphone and offers me a walnut. I have no idea how he?s shelling them.


October 29: 12 31 P.M.

After 20 minutes of standing around and watching, I still am not sure how he?s cracking the nuts. He keeps doing it whenever my attention is elsewhere. My working theory is that he?s using the shells of the last nut to open his next snack, but again, that?s based on nothing but a feeling.

I?ve had my photo taken by literally everyone with a camera at the event. I don?t want to be chauvinistic, but there is no way that any of them understand my sign, because instead of laughing hysterically, they frown at me in solidarity.  Then again, it?s possible that they just don?t bump Wu-Tang here. I probably should have gone with a Nas quote.


October 29: 12 37 P.M.

From behind me, two French people are talking about the back of my sign, ?Ironique ou stupide?? one whispers. ?Stupide,? the other answers, far quicker than I?d like.  I guess no one has considered that I might just be too lazy or too cheap to buy paper.  C?mon world, give me a little credit here.


October 29: 12 50 P.M.

Occupy Istanbul by the numbers, compiled five minutes after being asked to sit around in a circle and literally ?discuss our feelings? instead of protest / march.

2400: Confirmed Guests on Facebook

30: Protesters at the park

.0125: Percentage of confirmed guests who actually came

9: Pairs of ?Crocs? shoes in the crowd

37: Median age of protesters, as determined by looking around

3: Number of signs brought to the protest

100: Percentage of people who brought the signs that I personally know/am.

1: Amount of V for Vendetta Masks in the Audience.

9: Police officers with automatic weaponry surrounding the protest

13: Number of Japanese made digital cameras held by protesters

8: Number of times the woman currently speaking has used the word ?dream,? in reference to a ?world without money.?


October 29: 1 15 P.M.

We left the ?protest? slightly after it became clear that there would not be any actual ?protesting,? but rather, an informal airing of grievances among like minded people. After eluding the walnut-eating organizer?s pleas of ?why?? and ?stay,? we set out for some lunch. I kind of thought Pizza Hut would have been a fitting ending, you know, ?edgy? and/or ?irreverent,? but really, have you ever been there? I?d literally rather kill myself (assuming I?m not already in hell).

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