Every time I sit down to write something benign, to write a piece about something that irks me or excites me or gets me riled up, even if it isn't the most important thing on anyone's agenda, something happens. And not just something. I mean something really big, and really upsetting, and something that needs to take precedent.
Last week it was the mass shooting in Orlando. The week before, the shooting in Tel Aviv.
There I was, all set to write about electric bikes, those bikes that have almost completely taken the place of real, foot-operated bikes in my serene, bike-path-friendly, made for strolling and rolling, little community here in Israel. I was all set to write about how I was almost mowed over by one just recently, while I was minding my own business and out walking and how I find them an obnoxious example of how streamlining is not always progress, how we're spoiling an entire generation in order to cut ourselves a break and how simple pleasures are being cut down one by one and obliterated.
But ever since the horror in Sarona, a beautiful, super popular new venue for hanging out in Tel Aviv, and the nightmare at the club in Florida, this subject, along with just about every other, say, except for the possibility that Trump could be President, seems to pale in comparison.
Does anything else really matter?
The answer I came up with is yes.
In fact, the mundane is all the more crucial precisely because of the horrific. It's a reminder of what these monsters (whether homegrown or imported) are trying to steal from us. It's the stuff in between, the glue, the part that defines most of each day. It's the air that we breathe.
And thank God for it because without it we would be left gasping for air, diving from one event to another, joyful, tragic, exciting, devastating....the range is vast, the ability of such extremes endless and capable of sucking us dry.
So it's okay to think about something that's ruining the pastoral quality of a lovely town, something that's become more about status than convenience, something that has virtually erased the wonderful aspects of a lovely invention that truly, will never lose its luster. In the end we're still going to have to stand up and face the growing increase of terror, the potential for tragedy, the fear that somewhere down the road evil will have enough power to take over and destroy the all that beauty there is to be found in the world.
There's no end to surprises, both good and bad. As I completed the final edits on what has become a bit of a gloomy blog post, a man suffered a heart attack here in Tel Aviv and plowed down a few innocent people out enjoying dinner at a sidewalk cafe. Where is the sense in that? Who could anticipate such an end?
Life is scary, life is short, and we cannot foresee or plan for the endless number of things that threaten our individual sense of peace. Better to focus on those we can anticipate and at the top of that list is getting out own lives into order best we can; looking towards the ways we can make our lives, those of our family members, those of our friends and even those of our communities a little more pleasant, safer, more enjoyable and eminently livable.
Those electric bikes really get up my dander. Within the scheme of small town life, they symbolize everything about technology that is robbing this next generation of their appreciation for the simplest pleasures; one more means of turning them into speeding, frenzied, automatons that wouldn't dream of stopping to smell the roses. How sad is that?
Living in Israel has taught me to embrace the fine details, no matter how small. After all, that's what life is truly made of.