Thursday, July 13, 2006

Whistling in the Dark

There are certain times that living alone is very lonely.

When your country is at war is one of those times.

I really wish I was living with someone right now.

I also really wish I had television service. Reading the news online just doesn't cut it at a time like this. I wished I had TV during the disengagement, too. I might really consider getting cable, now.

This is the first time I've ever been in Israel during a "proper" war. I was here in the months preceding and following the Persian Gulf War in 1991, but not during the war itself. I came here on the tail end of the intifada in 2003, but shortly after I got here the attacks ceased to be successful, and we felt we'd turned a corner. Things got very dramatic and heated in the weeks prior to the Gaza disengagement, and there was fear of a civil war, and it was hard to live here, but thank God an all-out war didn't happen. I've been living with a low-key fear of an Iranian nuclear bomb dropping on my head, but thank God that has not materialized (poo poo poo). And then there were Kassams on Sderot, but the situation with the Palestinians is different from the one with Lebanon, and though everyone knows that Israel is in a perpetual state of war with the Arab world, there is war, and then there is war. One could ask "what's in a name?" but I guess the point is what level of war is "our normal," and at what point something happened that was "abnormal."

It was only tonight that I realized that we'd crossed the line from "tensions" and "crisis" to "war." I hadn't wanted to believe it before then. It's a strange thing. Nothing in my neighborhood in Jerusalem is different. If I didn't read the news, I wouldn't know anything is happening. Today, to get out a little, I went to the new park behind my house, where dog owners have a daily "dog park" from 6-7 pm, and no one brought up Lebanon at all. We just talked about the dogs, and watched a family playing baseball on the grass.

But we are at war. I don't really know what to make of that, now that I'm here. I'm usually pretty good at absorbing information that I need to absorb, and compartmentalizing what I need to compartmentalize.

But I'm stymied now. My head doesn't know what to do with this information. Is there something I should do? Should I find out where the nearest bomb shelter is? Get TV service? Live as usual? Be scared? Try not to think about it? Think about it all the time because that's more patriotic? I . . . I'm so confused.

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