Tel Aviv Diary December 8-15, 2016 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel -Aviv Diary - December 8-15, 2016 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

December 8, 2016

I decided to open a new page because the last one seems to be unresponsive. Let's see how it works.

Two antithetical letters from readers came out in Haaretz today - one said the Palestinians lost the war and so they lost their right to return, another said we fought the Romans and lost and got exiled, but we came back. I don't see how we can get around that fact that we have to accept the fact that we the people who lived here in 48 have to be allowed some rights.

December 9, 2016

I know it is winter because I don't want to get out of bed. This is the week we turn on the central heating. Ezi is in charge of it but puts it off until it is absolutely necessary, and my complaints only remind him that he has to wait until the other tenants feel the freeze. Because we live on the first floor, and the house is built on stilts, our floors are the weather gauge. And my slippers are wet from last night's swim. so obviously I am not in a hurry...

Exercise, make a course for tomorrow's lunch, make lunch, advise a student long distance, advise a student in my study, make a birthday cake, revise a failed frosting into pudding, etc. etc. In between I got to read Sayed Kashua's column and fell once again in love. I've been saying over and over again - and probably in these pages - that the only good thing that may emerge from Trump's victory is that maybe Sayed Kashua will come home. But where is home for a boy from Tira who lived in Jerusalem until it got too scary for him? I would like hom to come to live in my neighborhood and every other day when he buys his pack of cigarettes I'd meet him at the grocery and maybe strike up a conversation. I would like his kids to go to school with my grandchildren, and bring them home. I would like him to blossom from the soil of the local excitement, and I would like him to give up reading newspapers like me for a while and concentrate on enriching his friendships. And today he mentioned the longing. he mentioned it and a tear actually fell on the page and blurred the text for a moment. Such talent! Such a need for deep connection! I suddenly feared that he would get lost in the midwest. that he would bury his intensity there.

December 10, 2016

Four years ago today my daughter gave birth to a daughter - after a pregnancy replete with medical suspicions and tests. Today we had a birthday party for her and her step-sister and I pretended it was just like all other birthdays but it was fraught with feeling. She is so much like both her grandmothers it seems their spirit inhabits her. All the talk we had today of geneology was only theoretical, but she is the embodiment of the persistence of geneological heritage

December 11, 2016

we ended a very busy day with a walk around the port. Dan was looking for the right place to hold his next event interviewing Mira Awad, and we found a few clubs that looked promising if impractical. And then we passed a big window of a perfect hall that seemed like it fit hundreds of people, and it was streaming video and a woman was lecturing something about religion and zionism. i walked around to the door and discovered it was a government hall.

Outside the hall was the old statue of the worker that had been erected for the international fair in 1934. it was a modernist depiction of the socialist palestinian dream of reclaiming a wasteland, and the worker was carrying a heavy board for building. But suddenly we noticed that the board was missing. the worker wasn't carrying anything. We asked the guy who came out of the next-door gourmet cooking school for a smoke if he knew what had happened to the board, and he shrugged. "Maybe they're making room for a tray. he should be carrying a tray," I said. he shrugged again.

December 12, 2016

Somehow I can't seem to get rid of this cold - it goes away and comes back. today it came back with a vengeance. but i used the bedrest to make a scarf for Tamar with her name on it. My girl scout leader sixty years ago would have failed my embroidery but it was comforting for me nevertheless. And now I'm well enough to go out to dinner and a play. Pretty cool.

December 13, 2016

Last night seemed amazing. "the pianist of willesden lane" is a one-woman show/concert about the success of a child in the kindertransport as a pianist, and the retelling of it by her daughter. it was amazing, and I should be the perfect audience, as one who was born right there, right then. but maybe it was my defense mechanism that made me look at the production through professionally critical eyes. i kept asking myself about what i could use in staging, where the slips were in her accent, how she synchronized the music with her playing, where she got the newsreel videos that kept changing in the background, stupid questions that took me out of the experience. The audience went wild, and I went wild with them, but i was still outside the experience.

Maybe it was the gin I had before at Pastel.

Today as I stood before the stairs leading to my grandson's class and waited for him to put all his papers into the heavy backpack i would soon be carrying, I watched all the grandparents panting as they also climbed up the two long staircases to the three first grades. It seemed like all Tel Aviv was populated with little children and grandparents. Even my printer I visited before going to my granddaughter's kindergarten was in a hurry to pick up his grandchild.

So we picked up the kids and went out for coffee and cake. Somehow I over-sugared myself trying to keep up with them and felt the drop afterward so badly I had to get home and into bed as soon as I could. Dreaming of cream puffs.

December 14, 2016

I crossed Dizengoff River this afternoon. It cost me wet boots and socks, and wet jeans, and earned me nothing. There was a meeting in which nothing was accomplished and I felt I had to save the afternoon by buying clothes. The Dorin Frankfurt shop closed the shop when I left, satisfied it had made its quota.

It had been a great effort to get to that meeting and by the time I got home I was ready for bed. But then I remembered that our doctor was having a goodbye meeting after having decided to leave the health clinic and we had promised to be there. so once again I wrapped up and went out into the night. now it is 10 p.m. and the supermarket has delivered the groceries and I'm pretending to be asleep so they won't demand to be put away.


December 15, 2016

Sick sick sick. I haven't been breathing for weeks, and today it got much worse. so our doctor prescribed inhalations and medication and i'm in bed. if i can't read or work I'd like to watch tv, but the antenna got knocked down in yesterday's rain storm and won't be back until at best tomorrow. all my plans have been seriously messed up. no swimming tonight for sure, no meeting with Hagai, no fun. fortunately i've got all these clothes i could wear if i felt better.

and i watch on netflix a live camera on Aleppo, looking for the woman i believe is my double - my age, my vanity, my family situation - but she's going through true hell while i lie here in luxury with my inhaler.

To Karen Alkalay-Gut Diary

To Karen Alkalay-Gut home