So I questioned BE last night about what exactly Nazar is. He wasn't 100% sure, but he told me in all seriousness he believes in it. Not as much as his mom, he pointed out, but he definitely thinks it's a concern in life. When I questioned him about specific ways that he believes in it, he got mad. I asked, for example, if our house is protected at all times from Nazar because of the boncuk sticker the previous tenants left on the doorstep and he said "Yes." Then he said "No." Then he said "Mostly." I asked him what kinds of Nazar could get us even with the boncuk sticker and he got mad. A lot of our conversations go this way. I feel like Mr. Spock, all coolly logical but clearly missing the point.
Anyway, the salient points about Nazar according to BE are as follows:
1) Nazar gets you when someone talks a lot about how much they like something you have. Even if they're not jealous, it can get you. This is the kind of Nazar that's brought about unintentionally, because the person giving the compliment isn't harboring any bad feelings towards you. I asked if this means Nazar is always listening for someone complimenting things and BE got mad.
2) Nazar gets you when someone compliments something you have and they harbor bad feelings in their heart. They can be jealous of you for another reason, like your money, but give your baby Nazar from saying he's cute. Again, this Nazar is pretty much unintentional. I asked if someone can give it on purpose by giving lots of compliments knowing it could draw Nazar, and BE said yes, probably, though he'd never known anyone that did that. I asked if this was why MIL didn't want LE to go to the funeral dinner, because there would be people there who are jealous of BE's branch of the family because of money or their seemingly blissful existence, and he said, yes, that was definitely the reason. I think this says a lot more about MIL and certain of BE's family members than it does about Nazar.
3) Nazar can be given on purpose by people with magic powers who know how to give Nazar. These people are considered evil. I asked how they give it, and BE said they do it with their eye. "Like this?" I asked, closing one eye and opening the other really wide, trying to look evil. "Not like that," said BE, because my open eye was inadvertently fluttering. "More like this," he said, opening both eyes really wide and staring intently. If that's Nazar, I thought to myself, then Turkish men have been giving it to me on a daily basis every day since I moved here. I didn't tell BE that, however, because that gets him all riled up and there's no one specific for him to go manfully bump chests with and shout at.
And here's another thing. Since LE and I are going to the States tomorrow, we sent him to spend the night with MIL. The ILs are convinced that, besides my cavalier attitute towards Nazar, I also don't care if LE gets sick. I don't take enough pains to prevent illness, and I don't rush him to emergency room or fill him up with medicine for every sniffle. A couple of weeks ago, FIL started harranguing me that we have to change doctors because ours wasn't fixing LE's cough. "Have we taken him to the doctor for his cough?" I asked BE, because he doesn't always keep me adequately informed about the bullshit he tells his parents. "Three or four times," he said. News to me. Anyway, the ILs are certain that LE has had a serious lung infection for like 3 months, because every sniffle he gets at school dribbles into his throat from time to time and makes a noise when he breathes. It doesn't matter how many times we tell them it's not his lungs, or that he's clearly thriving and not in the least bit sick beyond the sniffle.
So LE was coughing again at the ILs this weekend. Without asking us, they took him to the doctor. This was not the kind of doctor to let two fretful grandparents go home with a simple "He has a wee sniffle" diagnosis. Oh my, no. We have pus in the throat and an ear infection and a near case of bronchitis. Wow! All without symptoms beyond the sniffle. Naturally he prescribed antibiotics, pediatric pseudoephedrine, and antibacterial throat spray. And here's me about to get on a long-haul flight thinking, "Is he sick for real? I don't know. I wasn't there. Is he going to get sick for real? Have I mentioned on my blog yet that I have some serious fucking issues with doctors in Turkey? Because I don't think I can stress that enough." So I'm giving him the goddamned antibiotics, all right? I don't want us to fail any swine flu screening.
But the way this all relates to Nazar is this: BE said his mom thinks, no, KNOWS that LE got sick because of Nazar. I asked him if she had a guess which Nazar it might have been-- the funeral dinner or the neighbor or what, and he didn't know. And then he got mad because he's the only one who's allowed to make fun of his mom's Nazar thing.
For my part, it reminds me of dogs marking territory. Whenever I send LE to MIL, he comes back in different clothes than the ones I sent. It's only because I don't like her that I read a shitty motive into this, like "He's my territory too, you ignorant yabancı." More often than not, he's wearing a sweater or sweatshirt tucked into his trousers (Ew. Does anyone actually think this looks good? Even on a baby?) and lately, a vest. So now it's like "You don't take care of our grandson, you ignorant yabancı, so we'll do it for you and take him to the doctor and get him all the medicine we think he should have." If MIL were nicer, I'd think they were trying to help and save us some money, but there you go. I'm trying but I can't.
It's always about trying to solve the bullshit behind the bullshit and never quite getting it right.
So when the ILs roll in about an hour from now, requiring me to stop packing our suitcases and not wear pajamas and also wear a bra and get bitched at for being barefoot with more than one window open in my own goddamned house, the person giving the Evil Eye will be me. So take that, Nazar.
It's probably a good time for me to go home for awhile.