Tel Aviv Diary December 28, 2017-January 1, 2018 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - December 28, 2017-January 1, 2018 Karen Alkalay-Gut

December 28, 2017

Here's the scene: Ezi is wheeled into the recovery room after the PET CT biopsy. I am right behind him. The young surgeon comes to visit us and explains what she did and how he has to rest for 2-3 hours and then go home. He says he wants to go now. she tells me to go buy a newspaper or something to distract him. Next to us in the crowded recovery room is a very religious Yemenite man who gives me the low down on where to go for food and what is going on in the room. I go for coffee and stuff and as soon as he eats he declares again he wants to go home. I tell him he needs permission, and he disagrees. A nurse says she'll talk to the surgeon and comes back with the order to stay put. Another nurse comes by and Ezi repeats his wish. She too leaves and returns with the information that the surgeon will soon come to speak with him. Ezi convinces the surgeon that he will be going home to her neighborhood nearby and she, very reluctantly agrees. Our neighbor grumbles that if he had behaved like Ezi he would be told to calm down. We wish him good health and zip off. Ezi goes to rest and I take off for the poetry conference in Haifa with Dara. but that's for another day.

December 29, 2017

Since grandchildren love hotdogs and parents hate them, I decided to get the only ones that are really made of meat - not kosher of course - Helga. I parked in the Tagore parking lot and walked through the little path between the potted trees and the shop for religious articles. this path was only a few years ago a wide pedestrian path that every one could use from the lot to the shops but now seems very forbidding peopled as it is by black-hatted men on all sides and potted trees to narrow the walk and make it feel like it is private property. I went right into the traif butcher, bought much more than i had intended and walked back along the path.

The hotdogs were devoured by all.

as if i was doing my part to beat the hypocrisy in this country.

For some reason I spilled the story of how i came to israel by mistake and fell madly in love with the country to some friends. And while I told the story i remembered slowly of the thrill it was, the sense that we would solve all the problems with the Arabs, that we would have a society like Hertzl described in his book in which all of us worked together to make life better.

December 29, 2017

I keep wanting to say there is still time to make this year less than a disaster. We can still try to do as much good to one another as we can, encourage those who do good and try to disuade or deflect those who do evil - but we woke to the news that there were terrorist attacks in Cairo and St. Petersburg and on our borders and demonstrations the Palestinians and using metal balls in their slingshots aiming to kill. How to do good when so much evil will dominates the hearts of so many.

December 30, 2017

all day i've been worried about what i will do tomorrow on the radio. that is not a good sign.

December 31, 2017

I don't think I got to him. By the time I got to the radio show I was after my gym class and Tamar came over with what i think is strep for a few hours. I probably shouldn't have taken the car because I knew there would be no parking but even though Ezi insisted, I wouldn't take a cab. So I ate my sandwich in the car and parked far too far away for my still-recovering knee. So even though the questions were bright and pointed both of us danced around the main issues. I know he's involved in the old and new issues of discrimination against the Sephardic and North African people in Israel, and I know the history because I've read the sources, but I insisted that we all have terrible histories and although we must uncover and correct the past we have to be one in the future. I wouldn't be surprised if he edits in all my reading blunders. And I wouldn't blame him. He's an incredibly honest and dedicated person. and a good poet.

I still believe that his experiences and mine are similar. I don't think that the experiences of a black person are similar to mine because a black person cannot erase the difference of his color unless the entire community erases it with him.

And gender remains gender.

And it will be a new year in a few hours and maybe this will be the year we can do something in this direction.

January 1, 2018

reminder: on Wednesday morning I am doing a reading at Tel Aviv University. "Sympathy for the Devil" will start at 10:15 in Gilman 223. You might want to let me know you're coming so if there is a need for directions or whatever - I can help out.

Because it was raining like crazy I wasn't going to out unless i had to. but i had to. we were running out of medications so put on my warmest (and ugliest ) clothes and ventured out, sure i wouldn't be seen by anyone.

Of course the restaurants and cafes next to the pharmacy were crowded and everyone i knew but hadn't seen in months was there. And of course we fell upon each other with great glee. Had I not been in a hurry to get back and greet some guests I would have joined the party. I've been home so long I forget Tel Aviv is always carousing. But now Ezi is feeling better and we're beginning to go out. When it isn't flooding.

What joy the rain has brought to Israel. Only we have built up the country so much there is little bare earth to absorb the rain water and fill up the underground wells. The water rushes to the sea bringing with it the filth from the cities. Nevertheless the gardens here are glorying in the rain, and even though my bones ache, I rejoice as well.

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