Thanks to my pal Liz in San Francisco for this one. . .
Uh Oh. I’m ONE OF THEM!!! June 8, 2008
You know when you first move to a different country or state or city how you’re painfully aware of all the differences?
All the things that were “done like that” in the place you just came from but in the new transplant place aren’t “done like that” anymore? Now they’re done “like this”.
Which is infuriating.
– “What do you mean you just went over there for a minute to get something but you were really standing in front of me in line?” You were not! Okay. Okay. Maybe I’ll go down the street to pick up my dry cleaning and catch a movie on the way back and then come back here and reclaim my place in line! What do you think of that, hmmm? You don’t care? OMG!!! Where in the hell am I?
– Is that guy going to move out of the way or is he going to keep walking on MY SIDE of the sidewalk and run me down? By God he IS going to run into me! But he’s on my side of the sidewalk! Right Side! Right Side! It’s like DRIVING! He Ran Into Me! OMG!!
– Honey can you go into the kitchen and get a new serving spoon? Why? This one’s fine. Trust me. Just get a new one and keep your voice down will you? The guests might hear you. What’s going on? The Vassberger kid – Noah- tasted the egg salad directly from the serving bowl, alright? Ooohhhh! You’re kidding! Did he double dip? No, thank god. I grabbed it out of his hand in time. His parents saw the whole thing and they didn’t say a word. Is that something people DO here? God, I dunno. Please. Just get a new spoon and don’t make a big deal out of it, okay?
These are but a few samples. And yes, they’re real.
I think, however, what’s more frightening than the above is suddenly realizing you’ve morphed into one of them! “When on EARTH did THAT happen?” you ask yourself.
And no, I’m not slandering Israelis. I became “one of them” in San Francisco when I took up meditation and Yoga, in Colorado when I planted skis on my feet and took to the hills and in the Sinai Desert when I resigned myself to languishing on the beach, snorkeling, languishing, smoking a cigarette or two, languishing, eating dinner, languishing and playing backgammon in a languished pose.
I must’ve been morphing all along these past few years in Holy Land Central but I wasn’t paying attention. Until last week. . .
– At the supermarket, the checkout ladies were having a helluva struggle with the new computerized cash registers. “ITZIK!” they’re yelling for the duty manager holding the magic register key. “ITZIK!” the customers in the snaking down aisle 4 line are calling after the manager with the magic register key. In fact, it’s one big chorus of ITZIK! ITZIK! ITZIK!
And instead of getting angry and fuming over idling in the 10-item only speed line for 20 minutes, I start laughing. In an uproarious sort of way. And the cash register lady pauses between “ITZIK!”‘s and asks: What are you laughing at? And I don’t know what to tell her. So I bust out some more and internally dialogue: this scenario is SO absurd it should be a sketch or episode of something somewhere. I’m not upset about “them”. I’m laughing.
– Or, as we’re exiting the pediatrician’s office in a posh Tel Aviv neighborhood, my 6-year-old steps into the nearby bushes and begins tugging at his trousers. “ABSOLUTELY NOT!” I roar. “MARCH RIGHT BACK IN THERE AND USE THE TOILET! AND DON’T YOU DARE DO THAT WHEN WE GET TO GRANDMA AND GRANDPA’S IN AMERICA!” My lord, he is morphing too.
We’re a regular comedy tag-team act we are.
Clap. Clap. Clap.
Kansas It Ain’t June 1, 2008
One evening last year while I was hanging out with a few friends in a Tel Aviv mall I got a phone call.
A particularly “not good” phone call from my lawyer who was calling to share some particularly “not good” news.
I started crying right then and there and turned away from my friends. Alas, however, they picked up on my tone and demeanor. They knew I had been expecting the call.
A few minutes later I hung up and turned around again to discover all three of them speaking into their respective cellphones. They were all on with their attorneys, trying to find out if there was anything to be done about my situation.
I’m not one to gush about living in Holy Land Central. Really I’m not. Ask anyone who knows me.
But the lasting impression from that evening has remained with me since.
Welcome to Israel, where…
1) Most friends have attorneys and
2) Friends don’t wait to be asked for help