Tel Aviv Diary February 17-21, 2020 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - February 17-21, 2020- Karen Alkalay-Gut

February 17-21, 2020

February 17, 2020

"Trust your gut," my fellow poet and friend just told me. And I said - i just trusted my gut when i hated Trump and I was right. But I trusted my gut when i loved Bill Clinton and I was wrong. You have to use your gut and your experience and gather as much information as you can - and the chances are good you'll make a better decision than you would otherwise. I thought at first that the Diamond Princess was following the perfect protocol by isolating the passengers, and now it turns out i was missing one major factor - the vent.

February 19, 2020

The punishing rain we've been having - one meeting sun and then the next minute a violent storm - is not common to us and one that is hard to get used to. this may be more exciting to us than the coming elections, which promise to be a shoe-in for the dramatic Bibi because Gantz is just not a showman. that's why i love Gantz, but why i have no hope for him. Anyway we won't be here for the elections - we had paid for our trip before the annnouncement of the elections and had lost too much money on the last postponement we made for a trip because of elections.

but we never know what will happen. maybe some of my friends who are citizens and live abroad will drop by and change the equation.

Maybe the equations can change world-wide.

February 21, 2020

The first part of the Beethoven concert last night was a little too gentle for me, the first piano concerto. The pianist, Andreas Schiff, seemed to me overreaching when he played and conducted at the same time. But when we went out to the hall for the break I kept running into professionals who were wide-eyed, and my doubts were met by "see you around,"s or explanations. I never see anyone I know in concerts and it was my bad luck to see everyone who understood much more than I did at that moment - from music critics to pianists. i was properly humbled, and went back into the concert hall with more open eyes. Not only did I enjoy the third piano concerto - but i enjoyed it much more now that my eyes had been opened. I hope i will learn more in the future from people who show me the way.

in the next few days i will begin my Egyptian blog - going back to the fleshpots just at the time of the year the jews were beginning to see that they would be leaving soon. I'm mot a good listener but i hope the Egyptians will hold my attention in their lectures and I will learn something valuable. i know it will be an exciting trip for me - i've been reading Durrell's Alexandria Quartet after so many years and thinking of the way my profession drooled over the multiplicity of character and meaning many years ago and I have been thinking about how everything is like that here - always multiple meanings - always paradoxes - always impossible to totally grasp. And yet we try to impose simple western significances to events.

More about that later. Tonight we played "Cards Against Humanity" in Hebrew and it was no way as good as the english. We had to pull out the worst cards in english, but there was nothing to censor in hebrew. Although the nine years olds had many questions to ask about 'oedipus complex' . Hebrew just doesn't have the raucous expression in English necessary for a really good dirty game. Anyway you can get a good example of it here

and now you can't say the grandmothers didn't teach the birds and the beesl

February 22, 2020

and now a group of tourists from Korea brought Corona to our shores and we're all hysterical. Even though the regular flu has proven to be so much more fatal so far. What would we do without the media that whips our fears up into a rich froth?

I started telling my friends that we're going to Egypt - all of the israelis - especially the ones taking care of our apartment - are thrilled for us and give us advice all over the place. don't drink the water, don't walk around Cairo, don't forget a hat. None of them have said - watch the light rise over the temple of isis... But it's better than the responses i'm getting from my Jewish friends around the world. "Why?" "Do you have lectures? readings?" This, I respond, is an example of goyishe naches, the enjoyment one gets from something not imperative. "Why move if you don't have to?"

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