Stefanella's Drive Thru

Israel, U.S., conflict, war, peace, humor, travel, romance, fashion, fun

Martha & Snoop November 24, 2008

For Shizzel, my little Wizzel.  What is the world coming to when Martha hosts Snoop?


Breaking the Label Maker: Going up Against the Brand November 23, 2008

When my 16-year-old nephew Omer posted this commentary on his Facebook page a few weeks ago, I was blown away by his poignant writing style and maturity.  Check it. . .
I am commonly thought of as a “gamer,” or a “nerd,” or anything else that has to do with preferring technology over human contact. And while this has some root in truth, it is not in itself true. If it hasn’t yet become apparent, I am not what my label thinks I am.

If given the choice, I would always prefer to be with real people, especially friends, rather than sitting in front of a screen alone at night. It is true that I enjoy technology, but not to any greater extent than any normal 16 year old guy does. The fact that I am good with computers and such should not have any bearing on the type of person I am, nor should the fact that I am good at school.

However, this is evidently not the way society feels it should be, and therefore I am packaged, sealed, and labeled as a person with no life. The point I am trying to drive across here is that I don’t want this label, I don’t want to be any one kind of person, I just want to be a person. Period, end of story.

If only it were that simple. This branding that I have has had consequences just as any other branding would. Not only has it confined me to a certain social class, but it has made it damn near impossible to escape. Up until now, I have dealt with it in one way or another; compensation, overcompensation, withdrawal, denial, the list goes on. But I’m done. I’ve had enough of this already. I’m tired of my label defining who I am, what I am, and as a result what I can and can’t do.

I’m 16 years old, and I’ve never been to a real party. I’ve never been out of my house doing stupid stuff past 10 p.m. I’ve never been in a relationship I truly enjoyed. Hell, I’ve never even had the courage to tell a girl that I really like her, all because of this stupid, idiotic, pointless label. No more. I have my inspiration, I have my dream, and I have the willpower to accomplish it.

And if anybody ever wants to label me again, I say screw off, I don’t want to deal with you anymore.


Purse Snatching November 16, 2008

These days I sometimes forget I’m “living abroad”.  I made the move back to HLC (Holy Land Central) three  years ago making it pretty much impossible to retain the heightened awareness of small nuances and cold water douses to the face marking differences between here and there anymore.     

I still do, however, get the odd jolt on occasion.

Like last week when my electric bill arrived.  It was $300 or triple the usual amount.  Granted, it covered the tail end of hot season here – the end of August and September when air-con use is at a premium – but I scratched my head in earnest pondering how the figure could possibly be correct.

So I phoned up the electric company.  And the rep advised:

Go out in the hallway and look at your electric meter.  Read me the numbers.

So I did.  And she responded with: Yeah, the bill you got is incorrect.  We didn’t read the meters this time around.  We estimated the amount based on average annual use. Throw that bill away and we’ll send you the revised one based on the figure you gave me.


“What would have happened had I paid the guestimated bill?” I inquired, restraining my incredulity.

We’d have eventually sent you the difference – once we did a meter reading.

Gee, call me skeptical but. . .

And on a totally different, marking the differences between here and there track, I was on the boulevard near our house last week attending an outdoor street fair for kids with my 7-year-old.

It was great.  There was a sand pit “archaeological dig” with planted coin relics for kids to unearth, a dark treasure cave for navigating with glow sticks and a treasure chest hunt with pirates and live parrots.

While waiting on a park bench for my young “Indiana” to uncover the lost grail, a total stranger approached.

Will you be sitting here for 5 minutes?

I didn’t answer.  I was sort of waiting, New York or Tel Aviv style, for her motive.

Can you watch my purse?  It’s getting in the way and I want to help my son.. .the woman continued, promptly plopping her leather bag beside me and traipsing off to the dig pit.

I sized up the woman, internally confirming that she was indeed accompanying a minor and not an incognito terrorist handing me a  ticking time bomb intended for doing away with a few dozen archaeologically inclined Israelis on a Friday afternoon.

And then I did that thing in my head that I assume most people would do. Geeyad, lady.  I could walk away with your house and car keys and your cash and credit cards.  Not to mention a nice leather purse.  You don’t even know me!!

But I didn’t.

Definitely, 100% without hesitation, fully guaranteed I can say that type of thing has NEVER happened to me in the U.S.


And it never will.


FREE CANDY!!! November 11, 2008

Municipal elections were held today in Israel and in order to accommodate voters, numerous schools were transformed into polling centers for the day, my son’s including.  So he had the day off which was great for him.   

En route to the park with our new companion “Butch”, a black lab & I dunno what mix, I explained to my son that I’d soon make my way to his school to cast my vote for Tel Aviv mayor. “The person who is the head of the city,” I explained, and continued: “If I were mayor, there’d be free candy for everyone and no teeth brushing ever!”

“YAHOO” my son-turned-instant-fan encouraged.  “Will you be the mayor?”

I chuckled and shrugged my shoulders.

The thing about almost-7-year-olds is that they take things kind of literally.

“My mom’s going to be mayor,” he told his best friend later in the day.  “And then she’s going to give us free candy and we don’t have to brush our teeth or go to school!”  My son has learned to embellish already.  Bless.

“YAHOO!” he and his friend hooted, stomping their feet and waving their arms wildly.

I chuckled again.

Later in the evening, as my son and I walked home from his art class he asked: “Did you win yet mom?  I’d sure love some candy.”

“Too early to know sweetie,” I replied.

Quick.  Send ideas. What to tell him tomorrow morning?  On second thought, it’s not important.  Just as long as the child continues believing his mayor-elect-mom is 23, everything else falls by the wayside.

Thanks anyway,

Your Future Mayor and Candy Contributor. . .



Obama in the HOUSSSSSSEEEE!!! November 5, 2008

It’s funny to wake up in Tel Aviv and suddenly rush to turn on the presidential victory speech and realize that the fact that it’s happening has dawned because you’re hearing the speech in stereo throughout the neighborhood.  In Israel.

Yup, we watched the elections closely on this end.  Of course we would.  High stakes, vested interests, etc..

And this morning, as I penned an election related piece for a U.S. based website, I traipsed through the blogosphere to find out what my neighbors in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iraq are saying about Obama.

The consensus is a collective sigh of relief.  Duh.  George W. isn’t liked in most of these parts  – except for in pockets of the part I live in and in the wealthier oil industry associated countries.

One Iraqi blogger, aptly titled neurotic Iraqi wife wrote of Obama as a savior.  She colorfully described anticipation of new chances & renewed hope while thanking Allah for the Bush exit saying he essentially trashed her country.

A Palestinian blogger despaired.  Who cares anyway? he wrote.  All regimes are the same.

Many mentioned the historic significance of Obama being elected to the White House.  A man of color.

My personal fave?

From Saudi Jeans:

Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States. Congrats to Abu Hussein