After having sent out an entry every week for nearly six years to the Jerusalem Post, to family, friends and acquaintances, I felt that I needed a break. I had written about every subject possible and impossible and I was tired as well as out of material.. But after I went on a self-declared vacation, I sat there on Sunday, and thought to myself, wow finally free, no need to agonize about what I will write this week, yes.. free and unencumbered, but…free?? Do I really like “free”? What about the challenge to my imagination, what about the satisfaction of having said my mind? Well, the truth is I didn’t feel as well as I thought I would! There was something missing!
I am so lucky to have a very nice and helpful editor at the Jerusalem Post to whom I spoke about my dilemma. She said to me as follows:
“Why don’t you try another direction? People would like to read about how the recent protests affect the Towers or secondly
what impact did the doctors’ strike have on you and other senior citizens in general?
Fact is that our Towers are the proverbial ivory towers. We are a nucleus of people who often feel, and really are remote from reality, who have moved on into a more comfortable and better world!!?? Not necessarily.
Sitting in our coffee shop with a neighbor I raised the subject of the social protests and here is her input:
“ Of course I am aware of rising prices of food, rent and whatever else. I’ve been there a long time ago. When I raised a young family, we too had the big headache of paying the mortgage! Calamities happened all the time, like a broken down fridge, the need for a new boiler and what’s even worse, being fired from a job here and there. Going on a small vacation was just a dream, so was a subscription to concerts, or even just a new dress! We didn’t have a car, now I have one, but soon I will not be allowed to drive. I wonder how many people protesting out there are without cars? Or I don’t wonder, the whole thing is their problem and they must solve it as well as they can!
Now I am a pensioner, I have a monthly sum coming in, not a very large one, but I learned to live within its limits…Now any surplus of money I may have, I spend on doctors! There is also the regret that things which I could enjoy at my present time of life, have become a dream again. I can’t go on a trip for health reasons, I can’t indulge in a luscious piece of cake, also for health reasons, and I don’t really enjoy new clothes because no matter what I wear I still look old, and, frankly, I hate it! Those protesting young people will survive I am sure, as we did in our time when it didn’t occur to us to go out and protest. We simply didn’t have the time!!! And we didn’t know whom to protest to!”
A day or two later I decided to discuss the second subject suggested by my friendly editor.
This time I talked to a man who lives on an upper floor. He said:
“Doctors strike? My grandson is a striking doctor! After all those years of studying, night shifts, saving a shekel next to a shekel, he can hardly afford to get married! And I so very much would have liked to have a great-grand-child! You know, I will tell you-…no, no, don’t go away, stay, I want to talk about it!”
I get up to leave not prepared to open another Pandora’s box. He protested loudly.
“Don’t run away, you asked and I want to tell you, I have a lot to say about it!”
“Sorry, I said, I have to do some shopping. I’ll see you again in the afternoon!”
“You won’t come, I know you will not come!” he said bitterly. And I really didn’t.
And life in the Towers goes on. Sometimes we wonder what this country will be like for our children and grandchildren in the years to come. And sometimes we stop for a moment and think what happened to our friendship with Turkey and what will happen about Iran. But we think only for a moment because as I said ours are ivory towers.
We fill our mornings with what the doctors call “moderate sport”, we listen to lectures about art and we enjoy a bit of music or a bridge game in the evening.
Sometimes I am sure that we live on another planet.