Friday, August 06, 2004

A few odds, ends, and ramblings:

1) A few days ago, Beth took me swimming at the pool in Rimonim, which has women's hours sometimes. Wow! It made me realize that it's summer! (it's only August, you know; about time I had a vacation, if only for a few hours.) This pool is incredible. There's a big pool for the adults and older kids, with a deep end. And also a little kiddie pool for the toddlers. And lots of grass all around, with lawn chairs and these tent-thingies so there is shade in some areas. And the view! The view from the pool is of . . . green, rolling hills all around. No "settlements," no Arab villages. Just hills, grass, and sky.

It was a bit surreal, when I stopped to think about the fact that I was having a great time swimming in this beautiful pool with an incredible view, and it's in the West Bank. From where I was standing, it was paradise. But when you stop to think about it, it gets weird. Especially since, as far as I know, the Arabs in those parts do not have access to a pool (I might be wrong. I don't know.) Swimming pools are so important in places where it gets so hot hot hot. I felt a bit guilty.

But, for all that I feel bad for those who do not have a pool, my not using this pool wouldn't help them get one, so I went and enjoyed myself. And boy did I need that! I needed to get out of the city and dive into a pool of water real bad.

Thanks, Beth, for a great day!

PS Maybe if they ever figure out what Arafat did with the money he stole, they can use some of it to build nice swimming pools? It might seem frivolous, but when you stop to think about it, it's not. There are reasons that crime rates in New York go up in the summer.

But let's move on . . .

2) From the Things My Shaliach Never Told Me File:

In America, motorcycles have a certain cachet. There's a "toughness" associated with this particular vehicle. The people who choose to drive them are generally conveying a message about their personalities by their choice. Or they might be conveying a message about their mid-life crisis. Either way, there's a message.

But in Israel, a lot of folks drive motorcycles simply because a motorcycle is cheaper than a car.

So in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, I've seen lots of rabbi-looking types on motorcycles, helmets and all. With their long white beards and tzizit blowing in the wind.

Frummies on motorcycles. Makes me smile every time.

3) From the Things My Shaliach Never Told Me File:

I'm telling you, the dogs in Israel are human brains in canine bodies. I'm not sure what the leash laws are around here, but I see a lot of folks walking around with their dogs lagging far behind. But more interesting is the number of dogs I see walking around apparently by themselves, with no owner in site.

Often, I've been walking down the street minding my own business, when a dog with a collar comes trotting toward me from the other direction. He is not interested in me. He just trots right on by. He's got places to go and things to do, you know? It's different dogs each time. There must be hundreds of dogs just walking around Jerusalem on their own, running errands or trying to burn off calories.

The best part is when they stop at the curb, look both ways, and then cross the street.

4) I've been feeling ultra-pressured at work lately. Oh, everyone is very nice to me and I enjoy the work, but I don't enjoy the pace of the work. Ideally, I'm supposed to be submitting 4 or 5 articles each week, generally with only a few days at most to research and write each one. I realize that for people who work at, say, wire services, this is nothing. But I'm used to working on featurey articles for which I'm given several weeks' notice. In freelancing, I might have several stories on my plate at once, but if, say, a person I must interview is at meetings all day and can't call me back until tomorrow, then it's no biggie. After 4 months at my current position, I've come to the conclusion that, for all that freelancing is financially insecure, the pace of it is much better for me, usually. I'm tired of waking up at 6 am in the hopes of catching someone in California at their home number, and then staying up until 11 pm or later waiting for an email that I needed yesterday. Maybe if the job were going to last longer I'd learn more to work "smarter" instead of just "harder."

Of course, this could be just a lot of hot air while I reconcile myself to the fact that my job is ending in a few weeks. Truly, I've been very lucky. For someone who made aliyah so recently to have a job in her field and be able to say "everyone is nice to me and I enjoy the work" is a very big deal, and I'm grateful for it. But in the end, since I do, baruch Hashem, have something to fall back on, I'm sort of glad that I won't be in this forever.

Then again, in a few months when I report that I am living on spaghetti because I have no money, I might rue having written this. Whatever!

5) Happy wedding anniversary to my little sister. She's been married for 8 years! And still going strong! Mazal tov! (and I'm still single. Does someone have a window I can jump out of? I live on the first floor.)

6) Speaking of marriage, I was at a beautiful wedding a few days ago at the Mount Zion hotel in Jerusalem. Specifically, the event took place on the various patios and lawns outside, situated along the side of one of Jerusalem's hills. The view was incredible. What a gorgeous place to have an outdoor wedding, under the holy sky. Even the meal was outside, at night, and the July weather was just perfect. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of room for dancing. Still, I took note, ever hopeful that perhaps someday the information will come in handy.

7) At the wedding, a strange thing happened. A woman came over to me and said "Did you go to Camp Moshava?" I said "yeah, for one year." She said "we were in the same bunk. I'm Esti ______." Immediately I remembered who she was! I gaped at her, not believing that she recognized me after almost 20 years. I even remembered something about her. I have a memory of the two of us looking out the window of our bunk, shmoozing and watching other campers walk by. We were talking about the concept of "shomer negiah," which I'd never heard of before I went to camp, being that I was young and not from New York (the two in combination made it understandable that I'd never heard of it, even though I went to a Jewish school). It was sort of sinking in, what this whole "shomer negiah" thing was all about, and I asked her "are YOU shomer negiah?" and she said "yeah." And I was like "oh. OK." And sort of chewed on that for a while. I'd never had a boyfriend -- that summer I crushed the whole time on a skinny little kid in my Eidah named David (I guess I've always had a thing for the scrawny guys!), but he never asked me for a Shabbat walk, thereby beginning a dating life that has been "a perfect graveyard of buried hopes," but I digress--so the question of whether I'd "do" anything with them was very, very moot.

By the way, a girl in my bunk wrote to me after that summer ended that David had told her he'd wanted to ask me on a Shabbat walk but was too shy. I never went back to Moshava, though, and never saw him again. Like I said, a perfect graveyard.

In case you are thinking "oh, wouldn't it be romantic if she bumped into this David now and they dated and got married, after all those years," I should mention that I've heard rumors that he's married and living in Queens with his wife and kids.


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