Tel Aviv Diary - September 24, 2013 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - September 24-28, 2013 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

September 24, 2013

"What is the difference between a child and a boy?" I ask my 8 year old who has told me that at 10 one becomes a boy. "You can get questioned by the police," he answers. The guy reading his paper next to one on the park bench tries not to smile. Evil grandmother that I am, I tell him that this is the time to commit all the crimes he can, but he answers, not only that he doesn't want to commit any crimes but also that records are kept, and when he is 10, he would have to answer to the authorities about previous crimes. The man next to us tries very hard to bury his face in the paper, but I think he is measuring the articles in the papers with the values of the child. Something of Thomas Hobbes, no?

September 25, 2013

Although it will take me forever to learn how to use it, and it isn't that much lighter than my acer, I suddenly had the urge to fulfill the discount for faculty at Apple and buy a Mac air. Why why why. it demands a playful mentality and a sense of ready made, and i have neither of these, so I'm not sure what I was doing in the apple store. In fact, while the brilliant little girl explained what I can do with two fingers, and three fingers, and all that, I was staring at a blond baby - maybe 15 months old with angelic curls. He was very white and beautiful, and the man holding him was very dark. "I'll have to fix him up with my granddaughter," I said, "They'd have wonderful children together." But the father didn't answer me even though I spoke to him in the English he was using. "Do you have identification?" the salesman asked him. "We really need identification for cash expenses over three thousand dollars." "I have my bassbort," he said, and then I understood why he would not share a joke with me - Neither Israeli nor Jewish, he could not understand my sense of humor. But he did make me realize that I am the perfect person for a mac. Playful and ready-made.

September 26, 2013

Suddenly we start recognizing new birds in the neighborhood - this is not only because the fall migrations are beginning but because the milder weather allows us to leave our windows open.

So there is probably nothing new going on in the outside world - same old threats, same old gossip, same old same old. Rouhani playing good cop at the UN, terrorists with religious/survival motivation methodically destroying civilization without posing alternatives. No wonder the singing of migratory birds in our bedroom window seems like a temporary paradise.

I am all hopped-up about seeing some of my high school mates next month. Ezi doesn't get it - he sees the kids he went to school with all the time. Some of them only on TV. They're still running the big businesses and government. We'll probably run into them when we move into an old-age home. They are intimately wound up with this land, no matter how uncertain it becomes. But my friends are all over the world, never had any connection to their home town.

September 27, 2013

At the grocers' today, I asked to pay my tab. "Why?" asked Roi, "You usually pay once a month." "We're starting the Torah over tomorrow, I need to close old accounts and start new accounts now." The grocers are religious. They were impressed. I liked the intimacy of it.

I had to get some stuff to bring to lunch and then to dinner. The problem for me is that when I enjoy conversation I forget what I eat. Talking to Yizchak Greenfield today about his upcoming visit to Galicia, we got into stories about Cossacks and Isaac Babel's diaries about his Cossack history and I was reminded of all the tales I heard around the table - especially from one of the ageing cousins. The approach of the Cossacks to the town was rumored in the village. All the young women ran to hide. So did the crippled grandmother. "What do you need to hide for, Grandma," the girls asked. "There are old Cossacks too," she replied.

September 28, 2013

Now that the holidays are over, we are beginning to plan the ordering of our flat, and have bought a new cupboard. This reminded me of the old cupboard, and how we celebrated it.

Evening at the Tel Aviv port. The holidays are over, most people are worried about going back to work tomorrow after the extended enforced vacation. So the crowds are smaller, more relaxed - fewer little children weaving in and out of the bicycles, fewer crazy families screaming at each other to look at something in a shop window. It was perfect. Why didn't I take pictures?

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