On the heels of every great event lives a period of discontent. It’s an unsure time in our lives when the afterglow fades and we ponder the simple question: “What’s next?” Whether you just sold your business, graduated from school or drove home from Summer camp, the next day finds you adapting to a new routine and thinking fondly back on the fun you’ve had.
Turkey was my Summer camp. Considering I never expected to be there in the first place, I treated each of those 18 days like they didn’t count. I bought 11-Lira beers and basically paid the Ibis Hotel’s electricity bill with all of the spaghetti Bolognese I ran through. Save one jog in the rain down to a netless basketball court to shoot a lopsided ball I purchased at the Grand Bazaar, I did not exercise. There were days when I saw the sunrise before I slept, and Istanbul’s 8,000 mosques calling the city to prayer made their ways past my cracked window and into my room. I found out that some hotels don’t do wake-up calls past noon, seriously challenging my plans for daily exploration and ensuring that I’d see very few complimentary breakfast buffets. One night Gasper Videmar would cart me around the rain forest on a Hookah-powered bicycle, the next I’d be playing cards in an elevator with Marcelo Machado. When a single theme consumes you for three weeks at a time, it tends to affect your dreams.
On the flight back, I slept for the first 16 minutes and was wide awake for the other 688. To pass the time I decided to catch up on some movies I’d never intended to see in the first place. Steve Carell and Tina Fey were my first victims in Date Night. It induced mild chuckles that might never have existed if I weren’t tired and slightly delirious, but on a shelf next to Get Smart and Evan Almighty, Carell’s performance was near Oscar-worthy. Next on my list was The A-Team, and I was rewarded with some cinematic fun and Liam Neeson’s irritatingly subtle accent. Not certain I’d see the sequel in theaters, but if someone offered to pay I would consider. After contemplating Letters to Julia I decided it was wildcard time, and Please Give looked like one of those indie flicks that I’d be able to say I saw when it’s nominated for some awards in a year. Anxious to call myself an early adopter, I tapped my touch screen into lights, camera and finally action. Though buying furniture from the children of dead people and reselling it may not sound like a heart warmer, it was a very thoughtful movie. I wouldn’t hesitate to call it the best of the four I took in thousands of feet above the ground.
Yes, unfortunately there was a fourth. Friends is one of my favorite shows and I saw 300 three times in theaters, so you’ll have to forgive me for thinking Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler could pull it off in The Bounty Hunter. Not the case. Given the chance to do it again, I would’ve spent those two hours trying to count how many tiny lights lined the bottom of the aisle in my Boeing 737. That would have been far more energizing than the awfulness I witnessed on the four-inch screen embedded in the seat in front of me.
When I landed in New York City around 5 PM, it was still as light out as it had been 12 hours earlier in Istanbul’s noon. A four-hour layover preceded my 40-minute flight back to Syracuse and when I drove back on to campus the day got no shorter; it was my roommate’s 21st birthday, a very important night for any American kid and one which brings with it certain…rituals. I finally fell asleep at 11 AM Istanbul time, a friendly 4 AM back here in ‘Cuse.
Elsewhere in the world Milos Teodosic and Vassilis Spanoulis were trading their Serbian and Greek garb for Olympiacos red and Joaquin Gomes was enjoying a hero’s welcome back in Angola. ESPN’s Chris Sheridan and the BBC’s Chris Mitchell returned home to their families and some well-deserved time off. Coach K flew back to Durham to turn his attention to another Duke national championship while his assistant Jim Boeheim followed me back to Syracuse to try and stop him. And for me, an incredible stretch of basketball is owed ample time on the back end for reflection, so that’s why it’s taken six days to put my hands to the keyboard once more. Unbelievably, the Euoleague officially starts in only three days so I can’t afford to drag my feet or my fingers.
So there it is. ELA is back at it. And The Bounty Hunter sucked.