Tel Aviv Diary - March 15-19, 2011 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

March 15, 2011

It was not good. The trial we had in small claims court was against Bug - the store that sold us the computer and denied all responsibility for it, New-pan - the service company that kept us running around fixing the computer that broke down 6-7 times in a year, and Dell - the brand of the computer. And the judge kept pointing out how much damage had been done to us. But he also worried out loud about the damage that could be done to the good names of these companies and in the end he awarded us a gift certificate of 3,800 shekel at New-Pan. I was speechless. It took me a few hours before I could even speak, and then what I had to say wasn't nice.

Considering the tragedy in Japan, the enormity of the averted danger in the capturing of the tons of weapons in the ship, "Victoria," with some pretty formidable missiles, and some of the other enormous events of the day, my little court case was nothing. But I'm still not happy with the justice of it. And I know where not to buy in the future.

March 17, 2011

In two weeks it will be nine years since I began this blog - out of a sense of helplessness. Then I noted that as a diversion from the tragedy around us, we went out and bought a pair of sofas. Cheap, but pretty and dramatic. And now we have done it again. This time in part because of our failure to aid the Libyan people, our helplessness before the growing disaster in Japan, and the fact that so little has changed in our part of the world. These too are cheap, and probably won't last long either, but we're really not thinking long range.

Actually we went to look for a sofa because I was so shocked by the small claims court decision. Tollmans was only a few minutes away, but the prices put our little 3,800 coupon shekel award into perspective, The gorgeous sofa we wanted was five times that, and the other place we went to was gorgeous in a different way and about the same price. So we took a little trip to Ikea and got something on sale that was less than we'd won in court. I must stop this habit of buying couches when I'm upset. Prozac in this day and age is a much more reasonable and less expensive method of dealing with reality.

On the other hand, you can make the world better by coming to the party tomorrow. Here's an invitation:

March 18, 2011

Two days ago I attended the funeral of dear Giora Leshem, one of the more generous poets and translators in Israel. I'll be putting a few poems of his in my blog here and there;



My mother's tongue is not my mother tongue. And never
will be. My youth did not hear a voice trembling with age tell,
in Hungarian or Slovak, of her bitter youth,
nor her songs of forest streams or the wind in the chestnut tree.
Only the scent of the woods burning and the smoke.
In this warm land, snow words rest on her hair.

Woe to the land that has no sea, whose dictator
is an admiral a complete exile brought my mother
by dry land through the sea: words and letters
adrift. Tried by water and fire, like an ember,
my grandfather's tongue was extinguished as well,
like my mother's, with gaping mouth on the trench's edge,
and who hears? The orphan kaddish
is not my mother's tongue.

My mother's tongue is not my mother's tongue
neither in the city on the Yarkon's bank,
nor in another river city nor in the
country of the sea, where the strange words
with syllables of blood and guilt are buried.
And my mother's tongue falls from my lips
another tongue, a beautiful tongue
in a gaping mouth.

March 19, 2011

Rockets raining down south - so after 50 we strike Gaza, Then there's Libya, Bahrain, Japan, etc.

Happy Purim. Right. I drink and drink and still know the difference between what life should be and what it's turning out to be in reality.

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