After the 1980 coup, the ten o'clock curfew constrained my intervals of inertia. But martial law could not cure my affiction; indeed squeezing my relief into a shorter parcel of time made the suffering more intense. During the curfew hours, the crisis of immobility would intensify from half past nine, and I would be unable to stand, no matter how furiously I told myself "Up now!" As the countdown continued relentlessly my panic would become impossible to bear by twenty to ten. When I finally managed to propel myself downstairs and into the Chevrolet, Çetin and I would panic as we wondered whether we would make it to the house by the curfew; invariably we were four or five minutes late. In those first minutes of the curfew (which was later extended to eleven 0'clock) the soldiers would never stop the last few stragglers racing down the avenues. On the way home, we'd see cars had crashed in Taksim Square and harbiye and Dolmabahçe in their haste to beat the clock, and the drivers were no less quick to get out of their cars and pummel each other. One night a drunken gentleman emerged with his dog from a Plymouth, its exhausted pipe still apewing smoke, and it reminded me of another occasion when after a head-on collision in Taksim, a taxi's broken radiator was producing more steam than the Cağaloğlu Haman. One night, having navigated the macabre darkness and the deserted, half-lit avenues, I reached home safely, and after I had poured myself one last raki before heading for bed, I pleaded to God to return me to normal life. I cannot say if I really wanted this prayer to be answered.
The Museum of Innocence, Orhan Pamuk