Tel Aviv Diary September 2-6, 2007- - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - September 2-6, 2007

September 2, 2007

Some people get smarter as they get older. Not many, but some. Especially not writers. I know too many who have drunk themselves into oblivion, or just stopped writing. But tonight when I saw an interview with Yoram Kaniuk I realized to what extent he gets better with the years. A few years ago we had a chance to talk, after a profound encounter with death, and I thought he had been transformed. It was at Rony Sommeck's daughter's bat mitzvah, and he was in a wheelchair still - and with all the wonderful things going on around us I went home with a wonderful sense of possibility. If someone so seasoned and experienced like Yoram Kaniuk can change his life after the age of 70, what wonderful hope there is for us all.

And now for a trip down memory lane: My first Hebrew book,Pislei Chem'a is now on line. It was published in 1980.

Everybody started school today - incredible. From the kids in Tel Aviv, Rahat, Sderot, Kiryat Shmone, Tira, and Maghrar to the kids who just arrived from Sudan. And despite all the criticisms and the threats of strikes they really aren't that bad.

September 3, 2007

I can't remember if I mentioned this - I'm read on Thursday at The poetry place - 42 Ohel Moshe St. Jerusalem -Phone: 02-6214783 Fax: 02-6234980. i think its at 7.

Wow the attack on Sderot today is unbelievable. What's really unbelievable is the way those absolutely brave people continue to exist. The shelters are not strong enough for the more powerful rockets that are falling.

September 4, 2007

To my neighbors who were on the street yesterday afternoon: Shusha is fine. And as I shouted to all of you while running home with her - it was all my fault.

I know i'm not supposed to go out without a leash, but I have arthritis and my hands hurt. And she never leaves my side. And I got her off chasing motorcycles. But there was something about that big truck passing by that made her run into the street. And a big car suddenly appeared from the other direction and banged into her. She rolled under the car and started screaming. I froze with shock and guilt. And then she straightened herself out and limped to me. She was black with soot and very ashamed, and, the doctor pronounced, pretty banged up. But she's okay. What about the car that hit her, the vet asked. Did it stop? It sure did. Two handsome guys came running out of the car, almost as shaken as me, shouting that there is a vet two blocks away and we'll all go. But I was insistent on taking her home, washing her off to see if she'd been wounded, and calming her down. It took us a few hours to get to see the vet,(whoops - must have erased the rest) Anyway, she's limping along and enjoying the sympathy of all of us crippled folk.

September 5, 2007

After I saw the morning news, where they interviewed some people from Sderot who didn't seem to notice that their mayor has taken a leave of absence while he's being investigated for corruption and fraud, I went out to take care of some business. First I went to the travel office at the university to see why they haven't been returning my frantic calls even though they were supposed to pay for my ticket and didn't. I waited while the girls finished a conversation and then someone looked up my name. Oh you've been blocked, she said. You owe money. I don't know what I owe but I make out a check so I'll be unblocked. And I leave in the hope that everything is now okay, but who knows. From there I go to the post office which has been remodelled so that there are seats in the middle where you can wait for your number to come up. I am 46. The sugn says 38. There are a number of people lounging around, and I wait with them, but the number doesn't change. After half an hour I spot the clerk I know who deals with packages and ask him if i can send my package and he says sure. I figure I'll send the package whiile the other people get their numbers and then I'll go to the letter line (where they go by the numbers) and send my registered mail. But the number is still 38 after my package has been weighed and sent. So I ask the same clerk if he can send my letters. He does. I leave the post office half an hour later while the number is 39.

My next stop is the insurance office where all i need is the same travel policy I take out every time i go somewhere. But the boss is there and keeps interrupting the agents, so that it takes me 40 minutes to finish a five minute procedure. My repeated contention in these pages that the microcosm reflects the macrocosm is proven. Not only does the absence of central leadership go unnoticed most of the time, but leaders and bureaucracies just seem to get in the way.

September 6, 2007

That's one of the reasons I'm happy about Peres being president. He just cuts through and does what he thinks is right - like with the new peace proposal.

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