Tel Aviv Diary March 16, 2017 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel -Aviv Diary - March 16-30, 2017 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

March 16, 2017

rain was promised today, but like yesterday it is intermittent. my windowsill plants continue to suffer, because unlike many of the domesticized plants around here, i don't have an automatic watering system. The basil is long and lean, and I have to constantly protect the ground around it from incipient pigeon nests. the pigeons have been ousted from their homes in the pines next door by the crows, who in turn, seem to have been moved by the foreign invading myna birds. Ah, what a country! Even the birds are vying for a homeland.

March 17, 2017

It started at 6:30 a.m. we had to get to the bus station at a quarter to eight to meet the guide/lecturer for the tour of Arpad Gut's buildings. No where we haven't been, even recently, but told by an accomplished tour guide it sounds really good. Ofer Pur. My understanding that it would be a two hour tour but with the traffic and our pit stops we got went way overtime, and it was clear we wouldn't make it to antishefa at 1. Soon after I suddenly realized I had a real absess in my tooth and called my dentist, who told me to come over before 2:15. i was in Jaffa at 12:30 so took a taxi to Herzlia, making it exactly on time, even with refusing a date from the driver, but the dentist reminded me that I should not be treated without antibiotics, gave me three days to get ready, and sent me home. Ezi picked me up and we stopped at Ahmed et Salim's for a late, great, lunch. Ahmed et Salim's is a gas station restaurant on the way home from Herzlia. It has been there forever, and I'm pretty sure the second generation has taken over. But the menu they print on the placemats is still full of mistakes, so I proofread it and sent it back with all my corrections. Now I'm trying to stay awake for the news. It doesn't look good with Syria. It doesn't look good with Iran. It doesn't look good with Trump. It doesn't look good. period. And yet, it wasn't a bad day.

There's supposed to be something in the papers today about the conference on Bob Dylan on thursday at the university. I'm giving a talk about his love poetry, remember?

March 18, 2017

What a wonderful thing shabbat is. Even if we observe nothing, the fact of shabbat is wonderful. We meet family and friends, get no phone calls or texts from charities or marketing, and hear almost no bad news on the media.

March 19, 2017

"You're lucky," says my son,"You grew up in a time of hope." Both our generations still operate to do whatever we can to bring a measure of sanity to the world in any way we can, but when I remember the songs I sang, "You and I will change the world," I see the difference. But we have to do our best.

I don't think I'll celebrate my birthday this year.

Today at the university I went to the synagogue where the lecture I'm supposed to give on Dylan will take place. there were a few students praying in the chapel, but otherwise nothing was going on. "Did you see what they said on tv today," the man in charge asked, "They said Dylan is christian." "No, no," I reassured him, "he was looking for salvation for a while, but it's over."

March 20, 2017

spring in the air. we are out renewing our house for passover. so we go out to buy a new fridge. 10,000 shekel is the going rate right now. that's a normal month's salary. And they're mostly Korean or Japanese.

March 21, 2017

Sometimes I want to write something here but don't have time at the moment, and by the time I sit down to write it's too late. This happens more and more. I get busy and forget.

BDS - For a moment I got mad at all the government action here against BDS. I don't like government but as I say with Thoreau in 1753 "I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government." The thing is I don't like BDS either. In fact I have been very much against BDS since before it had its name. BDS is helping to make this government more right wing, more paranoid. It is hurting the economy of Arabs as well as Jews (Jews less because they are more mobile). It is not based on informed facts but propaganda, but it is creating a belligerent government that pays too much attention to the aggressiveness of antisemites and antiIsrael actions and not enough to the needs of the society.

But of course I have my own life too and personally I continue to have a great time almost all of the time and have no right to complain.

today i met friends in the mall, almost like billiard balls wandering aroun the table until someone makes them hit. We had all come from different reasons and scattered to other places, but we joined for a few moments here and there. It was nice

i bought shoelaces, ezi bought polish

march 22, 2017

The terrorism in London today has unhinged what's left of the western world.

Today in the middle of a major bean shooter fight with the parrots outside my window (who have learned to shake off the beans and continue eating the flowers) it suddenly occured to me that these parrots will be replaced by their next generation, that their awareness of their individuality and their knowledge will continue long after they depart.

March 23, 2017

It ain't me, Babe. I gave the talk. As usual a number of exstudents were there but not one of my friends appeared. But this time it was because of me. I wrote a friend on facebook to share the invite. She did. But tonight when I asked her where she was she had no idea what I was talking about. It turned out she isn't on facebook, and another person with the same name had befriended me. She's also a nice lady but we don't have any mutual friends.

March 24, 2017 morning

Fell asleep over the computer at night. Didn't get a chance to talk about Nissim Calderon's talk about Meir Ariel and his Israelness. will try later. What Calderon was talking about was how Meir Ariel's translation of Bob Dylan transformed "Knocking on Heaven's Door" when he translated it into something totally Israeli by using both classic, street slang and army Hebrew. It struck me as brilliant because in a way that's what people do here in almost every way - incorporate world culture into Israeli culture. Sometimes too much. Sometimes with no consideration of the original. Sometimes incompletely. Sometimes perfectly.

And now for a break while I go off for sushi.

March 25, 2017

Nothing planned for my birthday. It's not an important birthday and anyway we've got too much on our plate to think about celebrating. Oren's doing some procedure, Orit's got new possibilities for relieving pain on her foot, and of course I promised both of them to help at the same time. But if you want to let me know you are reading my diary, that would be nice.

After spending a few hours last night trying to decide which movie tickets we wanted, we agreed that an apres-film drink would be a great alternative. Company is so much better than passive watching, even though the choice of good films was astounding. From France, Iran, Israel, England and the U.S. - a wonderful selection. But the crowds, the crowds.

We are working hard to distance ourselves from the assassination of the terrorist in Gaza the other day. Are we really innocent? It looks like such a professional killing I wonder. But we really have no interest in awakening more antipathy right now, especially since we've been warned about how dangerous things are.

would you even begin to believe I could be interested in a lecture about taxes? and yet the international taxes have become so complicated that we have 2 accountants and two lawyers. For very few rewards. Plus we have reams of homework.

March 27, 2017

Oren told me I didn't need to come. he said the surgery would take twenty minutes and he just had to stay the night because it was total anesthesia, but of course when we got there, they asked for the caregiver and so I stuck around. The whole thing lasted 7 hours, including recovery room and settling in, and now I have no energy for anything else. Yet we are off to dinner now with out-of-town guests. I was so hoping to go to a literary evening tonight, and a prize ceremony this afternoon, but there was no way I was going to leave those hospital screens. This was Assuta, the private hospital, and it is much more user-friendly than public hospitals, but there is no substitute for a loved one by your side.

March 29, 2017

What can I say - birthdays take time. We have been celebrating since last night and will go on for a few days. will keep you posted.

Last night I thought it was time for an exclusive restaurant. so we went to the Montefiore. I will not be asking for an exclusive restaurant in the years to come. They're fine. But not better than home or neighborhood places. Maybe I'm too old to go 'ooh' over a spring roll or a chicken that has a hot sauce when i specifically told the waitress i can't eat spice in the evening. Maybe I'm too old for staff with attitude. Maybe I'm just getting to the right age.

March 29, 2017

Thank you to all for helping me celebrate again and again.

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