Monday, October 13, 2008

Welcome to My Pity Party

It's a new year. I know I'm supposed to be grateful and all that shit. But it's hard. Tonight is the first night of Sukkot. No Sukkah. Well, no money, no sukkah. We tried to sell our old one - the one that doesn't fit - a bit too late. Like yesterday. Of course, there were no takers. Well, there was one potential one, but he couldn't get a car in to take the thing, so now the money we thought we'd get from the sale is gone.

I try to see the good in my life, and there are lots of gifts I am privileged to see. I did get to see Paul McCartney in concert because Hubby was working that month and tickets were affordable then. And I knew I would have regretted not going if I had a chance and didn't take it. But that now seems like so long ago.

One such gift came on Saturday when my daughter and future son-in-law decided to take me for an impromptu ride to Tel Aviv and Jaffa and I swished my feet in the warm water up to my knees, marveling at the still peaceful mixed Arab/Jewish city of Jaffa. Later that evening friends of mine from England, a couple, one Jewish, one not, took Hubby and I out for dinner. Two treats in a row. I laughed as we passed by the edge of Meah Shearim and the non-Jewish guy took triple takes at the striped coats and fur hats of the Hassidim. My husband shouted at them.

"He likes what you're wearing."

I was like - "Are you crazy??? Want them to throw rocks at you??"

I thought being taken out twice that day was a sign of good things to come. I really did. Earlier that morning a white dove landed on our porch. It didn't want to fly away. I thought it was injured. I fed it and gave it water. I was told they bring good luck. It did fly away a few hours later. I thought it was more than a coincidence when the calls came in for restless me to go to Tel Aviv and meet up with good friends later that evening. Just when I needed it.

But Hubby is in renovations and Jews don't renovate or paint during the month-long holiday season. Just when you need cash the most. Every three days or so there's another festive meal, and I'm weary of writing post-dated checks to the supermarket, not knowing if my bank will honor them. It's totally frightening.

I wonder how on earth do people "make it" here?? How is it that people have what they need? And some don't. Is it soup kitchen time for us, I thought as I looked at my 1,000 NIS ($300) electric bill that just came in?

My co-workers were joking with me telling me I must be thrilled that I have no savings or investments because I didn't lose any money in the financial crisis that seems to be happening all over the place. My boss told me it's the poor's turn to laugh at the rich. But I'd love to have had $10 million and if I'd lost half, I'd still have $5 million or so. It's not worth hanging yourself over that, is it?

Sunday I got a call from the dentist. Hubby had work done over a year ago and the 2,000 NIS bill is still outstanding. This wasn't the first call made to us either. And the calls from that office began to increase to every other day since the beginning of the new year. I put a stop to it by going into their office and writing 4 more post-dated checks.

"Can't I write 12 checks?" I asked.

"No more than 4, please. It's been outstanding for over a year" she reminded me, though she didn't have to.

"How will I cover them?" I asked her. She was a young ultra-orthdox receptionist.

"With God's help" she smiled at me.

Yup. With God's help. I mused that mantra over and over again as I rode home on the bus with an acquaintance, telling her a bit of how stressed I am, but not telling her the entire story. I told her how I saw in the newspaper that studio apartments in Manhattan are renting for $3,500 a month. I once had a one-bedroom apartment in a brownstone in Manhattan's upper west side, just off Central Park West.

"Had I just had some foresight, I would have just sublet the place forever." I thought of the $6,000 monthly easy money I could have gotten, easing our financial burden. But I had given up the place in 1983 when I decided, foolishly, to move to Toronto because Toronto seemed a less scary place to raise children. Had I looked into my crystal ball, I would have seen Giuliani making a safe place in New York to raise children, plus making people who already owned apartments there, quite happy.

My friend pointed out the window of the bus "But look. Now you're HERE and look what you got instead!" I looked out the window at Bar Ilan Street. It was pre-holiday madness, with crowds of Ultra-Orthodox Jews all wearing the same thing and boxes and paper littering the streets.

"Yeah, blue plaid skirts" I commented, looking at the "uniform" the women seemed to all be wearing.

The friend laughed.

I went shopping again for the holiday and wrote another post-dated check. My heart is in my stomach by now. I'll cover it with God's help. Right? I'll need to go again on Friday. Never mind all the stuff going on during the holiday. It depresses me to read the paper and see all the sukkot events. I can't do any of it. I can get into town twice. I have a bus card with a few more "clicks" left. But that's about it. Maybe I'll go to the Jerusalem parade with my son so the Christian Zionists can ply us with the candies they bring to give to the Jewish children that line the parade route. Maybe I'll go to the interfaith Sukkah party on Tuesday night. Maybe I'll go with my messianic friends to their picnic next week - they said they'll drive us. These things are all free.

And then I saw that dove again today. I shook my head at it sadly and told it "You're supposed to bring good luck. Where is it?" and I closed the porch door because I didn't want to see the bird of false promises and hopes.


Thatdudeyouknow said...

Please come by for a cup of coffee in our sukka. Any evening during the holiday. Please.
I know what you are talking about. I finally got myself a job where I could actually provide for my family for real, I thought. Then this economy crisis and inflation hit, and we're back on square one.

"Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls. Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation."
Habakkuk 3:17-18

rabbi lars said...

what luck do you need miss?

Rabbi Lars Shalom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jerusalemgypsy said...

Thank you, Dude! I will tomorrow. Habakkuk is right. He is talking about being grateful.