Tel Aviv Diary - November 15-19, 2010 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

November 15, 2010

Is it possible there is going to be a building freeze again? Is it possible we're going to place our heads in the duck-press of negotiations? Very exciting. The possibility of graduating slowly into peace is so heady I cannot imagine being logical and reasonable about negotiations.

Thousands of rockets pointing toward Tel Aviv and half the people I know don't even have bomb shelters. Oh, and I live here too.

November 16, 2010

I think the hiccups I've had all day are connected to the whole national situation. These little bubbles keep coming up - The haze at the airport today that shut down flights for a few hours reminded me to what extent we're dependent on one crummy but luxurious airport in this country, when we should really have two back=ups, at least one super one in Ovdat and another one in the north. We have no other way of getting out of the country other than flights. Can't drive far, no train, no bus.... only a slow boat.

I watched the elegant sailboats the other day coming into Tel Aviv - pure pleasure. This is a country for pure pleasure, not practicality. Even if we do practical things once in a while, it's not what we're about.

November 17, 2010

This is the second time I'm doing a round of acupuncture. I've felt the improvement on my back and am now working on tinnitus. It isn't a fun experience. Sometimes I wish I had collected all the pins put into me and then thrown away in that red plastic bin with the warning on it. I might be able to use them for voodoo. What makes it possible to forget the needles is reading Sayyed Kashua's Second Person Singular on my Kindle. There is nothing like feeling someone else's pain to forget your own. But in this case, Kashua also forces me to see a side of pain I lived through but never knew. When he recalls life in Tira in the first days of the Intifada in 2001, I remember vaguely hearing about the fact that the village was cut off. Nothing more. I vaguely remember wondering about how the people felt. Nothin more. In fact I didn't want to know more. I was scared enough without worrying them. That's when my back started really causing me trouble. That's how I came to try acupuncture in the first place.

November 18, 2010

Whenever we go to a museum, I'm usually concerned more with the art than the building, but this evening at the Helena Rubernstein Museum we went to see what the architect family Dov and Rami and Ada Carmi had contributed to the building of Tel Aviv, and it was like visiting old relatives and friends. Not only were all the buildings familiar, but we knew the family. So it was like looking through an old album. The parking lot, however, was a different story. The new piazza that has been created by putting the parking lot underground is in itself wonderful, but the parking garage is not only glamorous and beautiful, but looks like a great place to hide.

Here's the piazza.

Notice the little kitty drinking from the reflecting pool.

November 19, 2010

Hanoch Levin is perhaps the most Tel Avivi of all playrights. I must have written about him innumerable times, since I've translated so many of them. Ichs Fischer is one of the latest, about a man whose penis falls into the toilet and is sought for the rest of the play. Ending in Monaco with a disappointed Grace-Kelly-like queen, it is full of inside jokes - Jewish, Yiddish, Hebrew, absurdist. I doubt whether some will order it translated - but it's good.

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