Saturday, July 24, 2010

It's Complicated

People are just being horrible, cruel and disgusting to each other.  Husbands and wives, parents and kids, bus drivers and name it, this week I heard it all.

It's nearly mid-summer and I feel like I haven't done much.  Summer is too expensive and too hot to travel, so I stay back in Jerusalem and make the most out of what the city has to offer.  Last week it was the Film Festival.  This week I tried to get Hubby out of the doldrums and told him about a concert for 25 NIS ($8), which is a bargain.  I had no idea who the band was.  The last band I saw at the Liberty Bell Amphitheater was Marsh Dondurma

and they were amazing and the place was packed.  The week before I saw Flamenco dancers and singers.


This time there was an avant garde dance troupe and a group called Terra Rosa.  I thought they were excellent musicians, but they were on the mellow side and Hubby was bored, calling it a waste of his time.  Fine.  I'll take friends next time.

Then my daughter, when we're on the bus togther, tells me her husband's sister is complaining about her baby girl.  She already had 2 boys and said girls were nudniks - she didn't even want a daughter because they're more difficult to raise. I'm furious with sister-in-law.  What an asshole.  I love my daughters.  They are such lovelies, even when they bitch.  My daughter laughed when I cursed the woman, telling her I hope her daughter steals all her makeup and clothing when she gets older.   My daughter added -

"Yeah, and I hope the girl stays out all night and takes money from her mother's purse" citing the things she did to me.

Then the bus driver ends up opening the back door and closes it immediately, while I'm trying to get out of the bus.  "WHAT THE FUCK?!" I'm yelling at him in English and he opens the door again and lets me out.  He doesn't want an irate Anglo on his bus and is glad to let me off.

Another bus driver on our way home on Thursday was also horrid to one passenger who came onto the bus with her stroller.  He kept on asking her repeatedly to fold the stroller.  She ignored him.  This bus wasn't picking up any more passengers as it was coming back from Jerusalem, so what did he care.  She wasn't blocking the aisles any more than the soldiers do when they come on buses with their huge duffelbags which I have to step on or over when I'm getting on or off the bus.  He finally ends up screaming at her - "Tembelit (idiot)!! When are you gonna fold up the stroller".  I looked at my friend.  I never heard a bus driver hurl abuse at anyone before.  What a dick.  I told him - "she just has to pay an extra fare when she doesn't fold up the stroller, so ask her for an extra fare."  I could see him glaring at me through the mirror.  Eventually, she tells him her husband works for Egged and he could go fuck himself.  He lost this fight.

On Saturday I watch the movie "It's Complicated" with Meryl Streep, and I'm hoping she doesn't get back with her ex, because her ex was an asshole who cheated on her and she shouldn't give him the time of day.  I get into this movie as if Meryl's character is my friend.  In the end, she does the right thing.  There are just too many assholes in this world....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

9th of Av

I must admit, I'm less and less inclined to listen to the rules made by rabbis and instead am listening more to my own soul.  For me it's soothing. 

I took off work the day of the 9th of Av in the Hebrew calendar, the anniversary of the destruction of the 1st and 2nd temples in Jerusalem, and didn't know what I would be doing - whether I would fast the entire day, none of the day, half the day or what.  I had the option of going to Nava Tehilla's reading of the Megillat (scroll) of Eicha at the Nature Museum.  It's usually a very reflective evening, much different than in regular synagogues, where you would be writing down thoughts, etc.  And all this by candlelight.  But traveling in from Maaleh Adumim seemed tedious and I decided to stick close to home.  My other option was the Conservative reading of the Megillah on a lookout over Jerusalem, locally, but still difficult to get to, as I'd either have to scrounge for a ride or take two buses.  Once I'm home in the evening, it's hard for me to want to leave.  I settled for the third option to just stay at home and watch the History channel on Jerusalem, narrated by Martin Gilbert.

My kids trounced in at various hours, surprised that I wasn't eating or drinking.  I was especially put to the test by one of my daughters who put sushi on the table.  "I'll save it for tomorrow" I told her.  "You're not gonna eat it now?" she asked me.  "No do you want it" I asked her, hoping she'll say no.  She said "no" and I hid it in back of the fruit, not that anyone else in the family eats sushi.

The next day I was supposed to watch my grandson, but my son-in-law, the alien husband who never complains about anything, decided he'll stay home and watch his son.  I spent the entire morning, just cooking.  Cooking?  I wasn't eating and cooking and baking for most of the day, made up for my not eating.

But I had already thought it over.  I'm not in exile any more.  I've liberated myself from the Diaspora and back in my homeland.  So I declared it a 1/2 fast day for me (due to the fact that the 1st half of the fast (for me) was in commemoration of the destruction of the temple and not the exile) and broke it sometime in the afternoon. 

My daughter took me shopping at the mega supermarket nearby and watched as my son went out of the car to buy falafel.

"Why is he walking like that?" two daughters asked me in unison.

He's been working out and he thinks he's Sylvester Stallone.  I tell them he thinks it makes him look tough that way.

"He looks like a robot".

We laughed and drove away....

I figured no one would be shopping during the fast day.  I was wrong.  Everyone was shopping and the place was packed.  Hungry people shop more and I was sure the store had people spending more money this day than they normally would.  What a coup for this store. My pregnant daughter laughed as she tried to swerve her shopping cart into the aisle I was in and she ended up turning around several times with the cart.  We both laughed and I think the Arab shopper near us, who was wearing a keffiyah, thought we were laughing at him.  I smiled at him as reassurance that we weren't and even thought of whipping out my interfaith business card to prove that we would never laugh at someone of a different race/religion. 

We just laugh at our own.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Be careful what you see

I was getting so tired of my son showing me the same scenes from his new favorite movie, Bruno.  So I was happy to run away from home to the Jerusalem International Film Festival. For the past 10 days I saw around 13 films. I usually go with a friend to the opening and to the Saturday films, but this friend decided to take a real summer vacation and go off to the U.S. of A.   I can't blame her.  Hubby joined me at the last moment for the opening flick Le Rafle about the French deportation of Jews during the Holocaust.  Very moving, very well done.  I'm not a movie critic so that's about all you'll get from me. I didn't know if he'd keep up with subtitles, but he actually did a good job.  He's not a foreign film person.  No one in my family is but me.

Friday I saw Melody for a Street Organ, a Ukranian film about two young children who search for their fathers because their mother died, and the coldness of the Ukranian winters and  the coldness of the people who shunted these children around, seemed equally harsh.  I get out of the theater and run to catch another film at a different theater a few blocks away. I'm already 15 minutes late for the film. A man with a child stops me.  He asks me for money for food for his children.  It's hard to say no. I had given him money  when I had seen him last.  I remember the kids in the film who were too proud to beg and no one helped them, and I was sad.  I was just as harsh as the people in the film, as I was late for my film and didn't want to scrounge through my purse for change.    Kanikosen was a Japanese film about crab fishermen in the 1920s and their cruel task master on the boat. It was a strong film about how they tried to take control of their lives and their fate.  I come home after that film.  One of Hubby's favorite reality shows is about crab fishing off the Alaska coast.  I don't know which he likes better.  Crab fishing or DayStar evangelical network on Saturday mornings.

I had to hitchhike into Jerusalem on Saturday morning and, fortunately, my driver was a nice young man, recently engaged to a non-Jewish Peruvian woman. He drove well and bemoaned the fact that it will be a royal pain in the ass for his fiancee to convert in this country. .

I began the day with a French Film, Barbe Blue (Bluebeard). Bluebeard was a beautiful film that took place both in the 1950s and 18th century, with scenes switching back and forth. In the end the young girl has Bluebeard's head on the plate. I love clever women.

I meet a friend in the lounge.  She is seeing twice as many films as I am - and also is seeing them alone.  She said that this festival is spiritual because things are happening to her that are the continuation of the movies we are seeing.  I relate to her what happened to me with the film I saw on Friday and the beggar who came to me right after the film ended.  Is this because the festival is in Jerusalem or do things like this happen in Cannes too?

The next film I saw was The Infidel - a British comedy about a Moslem family, the man of the house from Pakistani extraction whose son is engaged to a woman whose stepfather is an Al-Qaida type.  The father finds out he was born a Jew.  Hysterically funny film, and it was great to laugh with the entire audience.  I found that even sitting in theaters alone, I can still laugh out loud and not be embarrassed about this.  My kids ask me if it's not "fadichot" (embarrassing) to sit my myself, and I tell them no.  I think they're in awe about this.  On Sunday I went for my annual mammogran and sit next to a Moslem woman who is covered from head to toe.  I look for a pen and out pops the ticket to the movie The Infidel.  She looks at the ticket and I'm so amused thinking what a thing to pop out of my purse at this moment.  Maybe that's what I am?  Maybe that's what she thinks of me?  Infidel?

The next film, Tuesday After Christmas was a Romanian film and the only film I didn't enjoy.  Scenes dragged on much too long and I was bored.  The last film of that day was Please Give, a funny movie about a young  New York family and their old neighbor.  They bought her place, but can't renovate until she dies. The movie had some great scenes and I loved the daughter's character crying to her friend about her hippie mother who wanted to "fix the world and who brought home a homeless person to give him a shower in their house and he made a dump on the floor."  To my kids, I'm like the same kind of "mom who wants to fix the world but isn't it hopeless attitude" and by me bringing home Arabs - this  is nearly akin to bringing in a homeless person and the little upstarts should be grateful that at least "my" guests know how to use a toilet.

Un Ange de la Mer was a French film about a kid whose depressed father tells him that he will kill himself.  Up until then, the kid was a normal kid, but afterwards, he was obsessed with watching his father, then couldn't speak.properly..and became half mad like his dad

Friday I saw Korkoran, a great French film about Gypsies in 1943, and about how they just wanted their freedom above all, even though they were told they had to stay put for their own safety.  The French townsfolk consisted of some who wanted to rid France of "their vermin" and the mayor who tried to save the 15-member Gypsy family from the Nazis.

Saturday I saw Crazy Heart, a film with Jeff Bridges and Me Too, a Spanish film about a man with Down's Syndrome who falls in love with a "regular" woman.  I nearly cried when another Down's Syndrome couple fell in love and the 24 year old woman explains to her friends that "he's my soul.  He's my soul"  It made me think of a Down's Syndrome guy who always had a bunch of flowers in his hand.  When he saw me, he'd give me one of them and a hug.  I haven't seen him in months and wonder how he is.

The Double Hour was an Italian suspense film.  Really good.  I tried to convince my family they would like it but they "poo poo'd" foreign films, telling me they know they're boring.  Stupid people. The last film - a French flick called Un Poison Violent was a story about a family living in a small French village, whose life centered around their Parish church and the priest, while the daughter was beginning to have these lustful feelings for one of the boys in the village and didn't know whether she should take communion (or is it "have" communion?).  One scene I believe the priest is in love with one of his parisioners, but won't show it or won't allow it to happen.  He cries himself to sleep at night.

This afternoon I went to an interfaith meeting in Beit Jala.  Some of my favorite people were there including someone I have a bigger-than-slight crush on.  There are young women from Italy, France, US, and India.  I love the whole scene.  It's relaxed and the headache I had at the beginning disappeared.  The Man is telling everyone to wait until I finish eating.  I tell them don't bother, I'm never finished eating.  Everyone laughs and then we go on to discuss why Jerusalem is holy in our three religions.  Afterwards, the Man gives me a hug and tells the crowd he's so happy to see me. That I'm his soul friend.  He repeats the word "soul" again.  And I nearly cry.