Thursday, August 27, 2009


I have been feeling bloated for days. It's been awhile since I've been so constipated. It's easier to write that I'm constipated than actually tell people. That's more embarrassing. After work I went to pick up some natural fiber at the local drug store together with hand sanitizer so I can sanitize my hands after going on the public buses. These hand sanitizers are going like hot cakes these days.

I didn't go home after the drug store. I went to the bank to close 13 standing orders (debit charges) from various services like cable tv, internet, insurance, mortgages, etc. The teller asked me why I'm closing them. I looked at the young girl behind the plastic window and complained for the first time - but gently so that she wouldn't think I'm holding her responsible.

"I asked the bank four times to please extend my loan so that I can have easier monthly payments. Why should I feel so choked each month? They didn't want to hear from it. Each time they refused me. So another bank gave me much better terms, and I'm paying 500 shekels less each month. I transferred my salary over to them, so I have to transfer the standing orders too."

She didn't say a further word to me. It was as if I had just admitted to being an adultress. Yes, I cheated on my bank and went over to another bank behind the first bank's back. Oy. She shoved the 13 papers at me for my signature, unsmiling. Well, if the bank wanted to keep me as their customer, they should have been nicer to me. I would have remained loyal. But they were stubborn. They didn't want to pay me any attention. And when a woman feels neglected and rejected, she goes somewhere else.

"I'm sorry" I told her, and walked out the door.

I was then off to an Iftar dinner to break the Ramadan fast in Abu Dis. Once there I asked Abed - our host - my usual question of late - does he know if he is a descendant from Jews? He looked at me strangely. I told him of the Jerusalem Post's magazine article this past weekend. It was a spread of a few pages.

"This is a right wing paper - correct?" he asked me.

"Yes, so this is great that they're writing articles about this. If people see that you are all or mostly descended from Jews, perhaps we'll all be nicer to you and you will feel less oppressed, less choked." There's a lot of "choked" feelings these days.

We moved into his parents' dining room with a beautiful domed roof - the old part of the house. There is a movement to renovate/restore all the old homes that are 100 to a few hundred years old in Abu Dis. We saw a photo of his grandfather who lived until he was 107 years old. He looked like Moses, with his cane, robe and beard. Not that I know what Moses looked like, though when my kids were little they believed I did.

The food his mother prepared was delicious. I never tasted falafel balls stuffed with onions,sumac and other tart spices. There were about 15 courses. And this happens each night during Ramadan - a feast after the fast. I even managed to converse a bit in Arabic to his folks. Even with my grammatical mistakes, I felt proud that a few sentences just came to me. I learned that rice is called "reese" in Arabic. Another new word.

After the meal, the Moslems taught us about Ramadan and I spoke about Elul which seemed to be parallel in that these are the seasons/months where God is more accessible to us and we can ask God for what we want. If we're good to mankind then God will be good to us. This is in both of our religions.

Then Abed told me that he sometimes gets questioned by the Palestinian Police who know about our group. I told him to invite the guy to our meetings so he can see what we do is nothing harmful, but just the opposite.

"They know everything about us. They found out from the internet that I'm having meetings with settlers and they want to know what goes on."

That left me nonplussed. But what I left in Abed cousin's car accidentally was the natural laxative I had bought plus my hand sanitizer. That pissed me off. Now the Palestinian intelligence will find out that this one settler suffers from constipation. And that's more than I can bear.

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