Tel Aviv Diary January 30-February 10, 2017 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel -Aviv Diary - January 30-February 10, 2017 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

January 30, 2017

Emptying out my office at the university. it is difficult because I really haven't felt like using my office since I retired 3 years ago. I may be slow but unlike some people in this country I don't like to take space that doesn't belong to me. The problem is that my successor is so nice and accommodating that he almost seems to make me take my time. Anyway I was happy to milk my post surgery condition for as long as I could.

Those who do not live in communal buildings do not know the experience of tenants meetings. We have them every year, and since most of us have been living in the same place for well over 35 years we know each other well. So well we bring up the same subjects every year and decide every year not to do anything. It is a wonderful experience, if a fruitless one. Although all the houses around us have modernized we stay the same, with our structural faults and our unsafe heating system and our ancient plumbing. Oh yes, we did make a change this year. We bought more insurance.

January 31, 2017

Notice how controlled I've been about politics? i'm waiting to jump in when there is something to do that can make a big change. I did rejoin the Labor party today. A few years ago Ezi went and cancelled our membership and although I didn't agree - neither with the idea of cancelling nor with the idea of his deciding for me - I wasn't angry enough to actually rejoin. I know there are only two parties I can really endorse - Labor and Meretz - and that they have to get together to actually reverse the stupid decisions being made around here - but they really need a push around now. There are some people I really admire in both parties but more in Labor, people who are doing important things even though they are constrained by the parties in control. Likud of course has created a monster, but coupled with extremists from other parties they really became bullies.

Don't tell Ezi. I'm waiting for a moment when we're watching the news and he says - "what should we do?"

February 1, 2017

distracted by details while the world is slipping from its pivot, i concentrate on details - embroidery, knitting, babysitting. I will not watch the evacuation of Amona = the focus on the west bank is as much as a sleight of hand as insults to Mexico as a massive exclusion of visitors to the US. Or I am going mad.

February 2, 2017

After a morning of chores, it was a vacation to go to Dugit to get swimming gear. It's a great place for that - great personal service and good prices for Israel. (For example we bought something called 'frog spit' to keep our goggles from clouding up.) And it's full of happy people. Unlike, say, a supermarket, where you have to go because you have to eat, these customers are there for more fun.

Graduated from TI classes tonight. Well, I finished the course and can swim the TI way without getting tired. But as the teacher hinted I don't put enough effort into it.

Of course I watched the Amona evacuations in the afternoon, and saw the violence and the news helped distract me from the more important and even more painful goings on in the world. But I didn't even complain.

February 3, 2017

i mean most of us feel that we cannot influence or control what is happening in our world today. not at all. I don't think it was ever really different - take the world of my grandmother for example. She would be feeding her chickens in the yard and a soldier would enter, grab a chicken, and tell her to cook it. From the language he spoke she would know which country had invaded.

But when I first came to live here I believed my presence make a difference. That I could protect, tech, alleviate, influence. Maybe my situation is different now that I am retired. Maybe the world has changed. Maybe I'm just awake now.

February 4, 2017

So much work to empty out my office that I have to lie down just thinking about it. Please don't worry, all you who have written me that I will be disappearing from the university. i'm still around but i really don't like working in an office anymore.

The nasty virus has returned. i spent half my day playing solitaire and the other half writing poems in Yiddish. After all, waking up shuddering and aching all over, an aching that was relieved only by a long walk to the pharmacy (yes, we do have pharmacies open on Shabbat - with an almost all-Arab staff). And now I want to go to sleep and fear the return of the shudders.

February 5, 2017

The celebration that has been going on in this city because of the non-prosecution of marijuana users is pretty amazing. For years you could smell the sweet smoke in balconies of restaurants, but when you looked around everyone appeared innocent. And when you think of these people - war-torn, ptsd, exhausted - you know they are the ones who could really benefit from a drug without hangovers. Why am I defending pot? After years of injections in the pain clinic here, injections that only temporarily relieved the agony in my back, a single draw on a cigarette made all the difference for a night. I still had the operations, and didn't need to try it again, but I can imagine how wonderful this can work. It can almost erase Iran from one's mind for a little while.

There was a more significant demonstration that night - Arabs and Jews refuse to be enemies. Almost no press coverage. Strange.

February 6-7, 2017

I'm not going to talk about politics - I'm not giving up, just hunkering down. Maybe it's true that the leftists who have given up on violence have lost the world. I keep thinking about the Spanish-American war - that they used to say maybe we lost the war but we have the best songs. The high ground is poetic. But it is weird that the opposition to the big land grab yesterday was so silent and so dumb. Almost as weird as the silence of the Democrats.

Hunkering down means looking at the sudden news that Gaza has been creating an serious army in the last three years and knowing that we may go to war to cover up the local contretemps.

February 8, 2017

on the way out of Anti shefa's magnificent tribute to Meir Weiseltier the radio announces the three rockets fired on Eilat. Weisilteir wrote poems about all the war situations, the troubles that come to us from out weak morality and are explored to their consequences.

The consequences of the rockets on Eilat is that there will be reprisals, but Isis doesn't care. I have a feeling that the rockets on Eilat are connected to the fact that Bibi praised the effectiveness of the wall he ordered built on the Egyptian bordered to keep out terrorists.

Hagai Linik who organized the evening was amazing as usual, and his group is everything I could want in the realization of the poetry of Meir Weiseltier, who never impressed me as a performer of his own poetry and almost ruined the evening for me when he appeared. Poetry can be enhanced by music, by reading, by performance in a manner beyond belief.

February 9, 2017

ISIS rockets in Eilat, terrorist shooting in Petach Tikva, Minister of Education makes statements totally beyond his jurisdiction predicting war soon, while we prepare for a dinner party: of course the situation is way beyond surrealistic - and yet as I was driving back from the periodontist I changed the channel to the music station so i could sing along with David Bowie. Did I mention that we have so many rock concerts this summer from around the world we're not going to have time or money for anything local?

To Karen Alkalay-Gut Diary

To Karen Alkalay-Gut home