Tel Aviv Diary Au,gust 22-26, 2020 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - August 22-26, 2020 Karen Alkalay-Gut

August 22, 2020

we're trying to keep social distance here, and last night the dinner we shared with our friends was four people far away from each other. It looks something like Buster Keaten's movie where they use all kinds of ropes and wheels to pass around to the food from one corner to the next.

this morning a friend came by and we sat like strangers in the living room. no hugging, no kissing, no trying on clothes.

now some kids will come by and I'll lower a cake from the window and they'll go home.

then a zoom midrash lesson with Joe.

then an appointment with a friend to edit a video they did of us before corona that is too long to put on tv. she doesn't have much mechanical ability and i have no patience, so this will be interesting.

And then there are the demonstrations. I'm too chicken to go but I try to encourage them and be with them in spirit. I believe more in voting than demonstrating but right now i'm praying there won't be elections - not until after the corona. but we've been with this government for 6 months and there hasn't been one cabinet meeting. so it's clear they're not functioning.

One sign I saw on television was particularly significant. "Pfuya" (the closest i can come to in translation is 'gross' or 'shame') i would have hidden my head in shame had i been accused the way the government is being accused.

Ezi goes to hospital tomorrow - i am not allowed to be there to pretend i was calming down a nervous patient. first off Ezi is not nervous and second i never calm people down - i just do my best to distract them. my goal posts are not all that high - not in my personal life, not in my politics.

August 23, 2020

Yesterday I heard a song on tv, and the words sounded very familiar to me. why did i think that? wait, i translated it! but it must have been years ago. but it can't be. yet here it is - in march this year - Zalman Shazar

Zalman Shazar

A Person's Good

It is good for a person to be sometime forlorn
Without a book, without a friend, not social or sole
Just one with one's heart, with one's heart alone.
Sometimes it is good for a person to be forlorn.

And it is good now and then to lose all one has,
Homeless, without a plot, neither needing nor owing.
Just to listen to the heart and know great silence
And it is good occasionally to empty his fortune,

To listen to the heart and understand one's life
And will know what there is and feel what is owed.

So if i don't remember my passwords or whether i answered your email or not - please forgive me. i've never had much of a memory, and now it's worse.

August 24, 2020

Gantz didn't surprise me tonight - he managed to get Bibi to postpone elections by 90 days and stopped being a nice guy at that moment. i have been expecting nothing less from him.

everything in my email got mixed up today, making me confused about life outside my computer. i thought i knew what my day would be like tomorrow, but i got so messed up i stood up my grandchildren.

i'm hoping to recover tomorrow.

August 26, 2020

When i mentioned to our trainer that people seem to have lost their ability to communicate accurately, she had a quick response. I had said that because she had not seen me grimacing on the zoom screen when she gave me an exercise that hurt my knee. But how could she see my face if she wanted to see how both of us were moving? Anyway she answered: For those who couldn't communicate before, it is even worse. For those who could, it is better. I think she misunderstood me and maybe was thinking about her own experiences. But it was so strong her voice and tone are still ringing in my mind. Not that it's totally true. i was thinking about waiters talking to customers through their masks, recognizing acquaintances from far away, the worry that people have about social distancing and whether they should trust their friends or not, invite them over, let them get close, etc. etc. but what she went on to say is also true - there are kids who have lost all contact with their parents and others who have drawn closer to them. some old people are taken care of by their offspring who call and make sure they have company as well as their medications. Other kids don't know what the medications are.

in my desperation to escape from all this we started watching Nevsu - situation comedy series about Ethiopian immigrants and their integration conflicts. Amazing. socially impolite because it addresses real conflicts with humor. i must be losing my cultural values, but today's episode about getting used to dogs struck a chord. how many times have guests from different cultures feared our terrier - and how many times she jumped up on the couch to sit next to them? so many different cultures - Religious jews, Muslims., even Ethiopians..

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