Tel Aviv Diary April 12-16, 2008 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - April 12, 2008

If you plan to have a seder you have to do your shopping now. If you plan to eat bread next week you have to do your shopping now. I don't have much of a head for shopping now but the fear of the last minute crowds is so engrained in me, I know tomorrow should be the final day for major food shopping. Even though in our situation it is hard to plan ahead.

When I saw the loquat tree outside full of fruit, I ran home to ask Ezi to take pictures of it - but he wasn't up to it. When I went out later, I saw the next door neighbor sauntering out of our driveway, spitting out pits. I did get a picture after that but it wasn't as effective. Anyway it reminded me of the poem i'd written a few years back about the tree, although I can't remember if I published it.


Bhagavad-Gita: "You have the right to work, but for the work's sake only.
You have no rights to the fruits of work. Desire for the fruits of work
must never be your motive in working."

The loquat tree outside my window must have grown
from a pit one of the children spat in fun from the kitchen.

It just emerged one day in the sandy ground,
reaching up between the kitchens of our neighbors,

and every year fills with fruit
so high no one can harvest without a ladder
so narrow we are timid to climb.

Birds come
from all over the world
to eat these orange ovals.

I stand at the window
and watch

I must have been written at the same time of year as now - but the mood suggests to me that it was AFTER Passover.

(Pre-Passover is always stressful for the housewife)

April 13, 2008

Because there were no crowds of waiting patients in the halls, I knew the doctor wasn't there. And we were to have the day off. I'll bet it's because of the coming holidays. Our GP is away too. In fact, now that I think of it, everyone's going away except us. We'll have the city to ourselves.

April 14, 2008

"What I like about living in Tel Aviv is that you don't have to say hello to your neighbors," my relative said. He's in his mid seventies and has always been crochety and funny at the same time. I always said the opposite though, that Tel Aviv was a much more intrusive town than any I'd ever lived in. I used to hang my laundry on the balcony outside (can't do it any more because of a neighbor who insists on hanging her dripping rags just as my white sheets are dry) and when I'd open the window, someone would be there to give me the gossip of the last few hours and 'read' my washing. "Oh, you've been at the beach again! How was it?" or "Your son's back from the army! It looks like he was gone for two weeks!" And there is that old story about why the passionate people of Tel Aviv don't make love on the streets - because someone would always be stopping to give advice. Anyway, my little observation today is about the crimes of child abuse and marital murders that have been multiplying lately. Too much privacy. We should be in each others' faces, We should be helping each other out more and reminding each other of what is out of the norm.

Or at least reminding us that there may be other options - I'm even not unhappy about Jimmy Carter's visits to Hamas - makes me rethink and reconfirm my own position.

April 15, 2008

"Inti Omri" calls out one of the patients to the nurse passing by, "I love you." She turns and gives him a hug, says a few words to his wife, and speeds off. I wonder whether Oum Khaltoum could have imagined this situation in which the song she made famous is used.

There is a rubber duck sitting on the roof of the municipality. Really. And today they filled the pool in Rabin Square with rubber ducks. I think we have to go there just to take a picture.

It's a little bare, but you can find the link for Panic on Amazon here. It costs $15 and if you are in Israel you can go to the Ozen on King George Street and Ben Zion Blvd and buy it there for 50 shekel.

April 16, 2008

We have the holidays off from the hospital and just may spend some of the time taking pictures of the city. it is an usual passover this year for many reasons - and creates a strange atmosphere I'd like to capture.

In the mean time the local grocer showed me his certificate - official - he sold all his hameitz through the rabbinate as of today. Of course all the hametz is on the shelves - and just as available as before. But after the holiday the Rabbi will come back and take back the certificate and return the money (I think he said $1000),

My first day off from the hospital and I take the dog to the vet for shots. We can't take a chance on her getting sick now - and she has mastered the art of picking garbage off the street without our noticing. Sometimes, with an innocent face and a tiny bone-end sticking out from her closed mouth, she looks up at me as if I am the one who should be blamed for even considering her guilty.

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