Yok (adj.: not existing; absent; unavailable)

Yok is a word that, like many Turkish words, has many uses and different meanings based on the usage.  At its core, it means ‘does not exist’.  But with that definition only, Turkish seems rather odd…  If I were at a store and handed the cashier a 20 TL note for something that cost 2 TL, the cashier would most likely ask me if I have anything smaller (I say “most likely” but it’s almost always the case and usually accompanied with a rolling of the eyes… what is it about making change in the Balkans/mid-East?!).  The appropriate response would be, “Yok.”  That is not to say that smaller bills don’t exist anywhere, just that they don’t exist in my wallet.  Same thing goes for asking about siblings, pets, homes, etc.  So a good additional definition for us English speakers would probably be “not have”.  Especially since when using yok, it is generally paired with a possessive pronoun — spoken or implied.

Today’s subject of yok is aptly applied to our running water tonight.  Su yok (there’s no water).  Despite having lived in Turkey before and having grown re-accustomed to resetting our clocks every other day or so due to (usually) quick power surges, this evening I find myself thoroughly frustrated with the lack of water.  Was I cooking/doing laundry/showering?  No.  I was just rinsing dishes which I don’t mind not doing, but the idea of being without water, for however short a time, bothers me in an almost irrational way.

Why irrational You ask.  Well, because there is nothing I need it for this evening.  We have almost a full 19 liter bottle in the kitchen since we don’t drink the tap water here so it isn’t as though I won’t have water if I need it.  I suppose it’s just because I didn’t expect this when moving from still war-torn Bosnia (yes, 20 years and still war-torn) where we always had potable, running water to what the World Bank and IMF rank as the world’s 18th largest economy based on GDP.  (Yes, I used Wiki again…)  Or from what most people would consider a luxury apartment — even by Western standards.

I find that I am more annoyed with myself and my frustration than I am with the lack of running water.  Why can’t I just go with it?  Why does it actually bother me?  Why can’t I just take a deep breath and realize how incredibly fortunate I am for everything I have?

And just like that… the water is back on.  I know it was probably an issue with the city supply or a water main nearby, but some days, when things like this happen, I feel like the universe is giggling a little.

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