An Israeli kind of day

Why live anywhere else?

Israeli Supermarket (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Israeli Supermarket
It was An Israel Kind of Day.
Went to the clinic for a routine quarterly blood test. Hour-anda- half wait. Nurses holding forth in fury on everybody coming in, as they were told to do. Got tested. No tape for the cotton over the puncture.
It’ll clot eventually.
Went to the bus station for second attempt to replace my defective Rav-Kav computerized fare card. Sorry, we’re not open. You told me to come back today.
We’re not open. When will you be open? We don’t know.
Went to the post office to pay some bills. Forty people ahead of me. Computer screen/voice system announcing who’s next and which window goes down. Everyone stops working. Part of their ongoing contract dispute slowdown, perhaps. Or maybe the computer really went out. More cyberwar, perhaps. The Electronic Jihad strikes again.
Hope they get a good contract – the postal workers, not the Electronic Jihad.
Going deaf. Woman on the telephone appointment line told me where to go to see the ear doc. Couldn’t hear her. Asked at the clinic. Family doc told me where. Went. Place had been moved. Went back to clinic, learned ear doc’s office was, well, in a building.
Finally found it. Got into talmudic disputation on whether I was losing my hearing because my ears were stuffed, or my ears felt stuffed because I was losing my hearing. Recommendation: Get a hearing test. You can call to make an appointment. But I can’t hear. Call anyway.
Went to the drugstore to buy some alcohol for my semi-clot. Told they keep it behind the pharmacist’s counter.
Why? Learned why. All I wanted was a cheap little bottle to disinfect my blood-test puncture. Pharmacist disappeared, came back with large bottle of designer alcohol, slammed it on the counter in front of me – such slammage being a sure sign that you’re about to get cheated, shortchanged or given something ridiculously expensive.
So it was. Left the bottle on a shelf with the overpriced imported designer condoms.
Went back to post office. Read newspaper while waiting. Rabbis and their plea bargains. Former tycoons still yukking it up. Something about a retired professor who claims that since the Palestinians are not a nation, annihilating them would not be genocide. Column on ultra-Orthodox men holding up flights because they refuse to sit next to women.
Once encountered such a demand that I move on a bus. Explained to the pious one that I valued my deeply held beliefs concerning human equality more than his bigotry, and please tell your deity that I said to forgive you. The pious one seemed neither mollified nor impressed.
He moved, though, and accepted his situation – perhaps because sitting next to a woman was less of a sin than continuing his conversation with me.
Finally got counter service. Told clerk I wanted to pay my bills one at a time so I could verify receipts and change before leaving window. Been cheated there before. Clerk wanted them all at once. Felt like reaching over the window, lifting him up by his paste-on/ clip-on kippa and twirling him a bit.
Clerk finally agreed, cursing me out in Hebrew the whole time. Other clerks evinced considerable amusement.
Stopped work to laugh, in fact.
Grocery store. No Friskies on the shelf. Cat only eats Friskies. Periodically, you can’t get Friskies. An artificial shortage prior to next round of price gouging? Or is Obama punishing us by cutting off our cat food? Home at last. Computer on. Senior cabinet minister announces – I read it on the Internet so it must be true – that the high cost of living (kept that way by the oligarchic families who control the economy) should not be a reason for leaving Israel. What kind of Zionists would such people be? How about the oligarchs show their Zionist spirit by lowering prices? Senior cabinet minister doubtless does not fret about his grocery bills.
Internet access goes down again.
Electronic Jihad or the Iraniacs this time? Or maybe my service provider lowering the service while raising the rates? Again. OK, turn the thing off, pour thyself nice Irish whiskey, go sit on balcony.
Better now. Somewhat. Pause to look up at the hills of Galilee surrounding our little town. Glorious. Sky’s cloudless, air pristine, temperature pleasant, breeze mild. Won’t last long. Enjoy now.
Look down to the street at the young people in uniform. Uniforms hideous.
Young people, magnificent. A couple babushki in uniforms of their own. The soldiers are laughing. The babushki are screaming. A young Arab woman, fashion- mag striking in her designer jeans, tight top and hijab, strides by. No one seems afraid.
No, someone’s fearful. A car with a “Student driver” thing on top, struggling with existential determination to parallel park. Glimpse of yet another hijab on the student driver. Head seems to be shaking. Finally drives off, having bumped other cars one time too many for the instructor beside her. She’ll figure it out. We all will.
Why live anywhere else? I do love it so.
An Israel Kind of Day.
The writer is an American oleh.