Header Photo Credit

*The stunning photo in the header of my blog is all thanks to Ron Shoshani. Visit his facebook page for more of his amazing photographs of Tel Aviv!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Wordy World of Yuck

Now, everyone knows that 78% of the human body is made up of water. But let me tell you something that most people don't know. This water is saturated with words.

In every single hydrated person, tiny waterways stream throughout the body transporting words back and forth, words float from the head to the heart, sail from the stomach to the hands, and swim from the legs to the feet.

Some people's waterways are thin and narrow and filled with long, narrow words. Others' eddies swirl cliches and recycle idioms. Where the undertow is strong, most words get recycled into slang, or metaphors and similes, and there are pockets of canals in most stomachs and livers whose current flushes out onomatopoeias and exclamations.

Some people's waterways are crystal clean like the Caribbean sea and don't have many waves at all. Others have geysers and polluted backyard creeks. And that's how it works: words, swimming through our bodies, waiting for us to string them together, swish them around, and use them.

Well, these days, there seems to be much confusion regarding which words to choose and how they should be ordered. Many words are mangled, misused, and instead of being renewed, they simply get blurry. This is what the doctors call "blurry-words". Now, blurry-words is probably the most horrific ailment anyone could ever suffer. Waterways become thick as words begins to absorb moisture. Slowly, certain words start fading, melting almost, or evaporating. But the most terrifying thing about blurring word is that these words never vanish completely. They linger strangely, clogging up rivers, polluting creeks, and making it impossible for the poor innocent victim to make any sense at all. The injured loses his passion, his words grow soggy, and he is forever scarred.

Miraculously, no one had ever come down with a case of blurry-words in the town of Yuck. Not once. In the town of Yuck, as it was widely known, everyone's word-waterways flowed smoothly. All the people in Yuck seemed to know just what to say just when it needed to be said. They pulled clear strings of beautiful words from their watery insides and spoke them with hydrated perfection. When an occasion called for ranting, they could rant and roar a raucaus rumpus. When it called for slang and street-talk, they could slinkily sling it. And when they needed to be affecting, ardent or articulate, every person of Yuck knew how not to condecend, yet could place delicate and precise words in near perfect order.

The town itself was lush, heavily humid with a light breeze, and being a small island, it's entire circumference was a long lengthy coastline. It was a town laden with creeks, canals, streams and rivers, whose currents flowed strongly- but not too strong- and whose hot steam sailed up with the mist into the heavily humid air that had just enough light breeze to keep the moisture in motion.

As you can imagine, no one was every thirsty in Yuck. Just breathing the air meant instant hydration. All persons had 100% of their 78% wateriness and their passageways were brimming - but not overflowing- with words of all different shapes and sizes. Long words, fat words, short words, inside out words, and even upsidedown-twisty turney words. It seemed everyone was as eloquent as an expert evangelist.

Everyone, that is, except for LittleBoyEkks. LittleBoyEkks was the son of a large family. He had 4 brothers and 2 sisters and he was the youngest of all. The family lived in a humble humid home on the banks on one of the most famous rivers of Yuck: The River Loquenne. The Ekks family was a very normal family indeed. LittleBoy's parents worked in the big Water Filtering Factory right near their home. They made enough money to support their children, and felt they were contributing to the greater good of their land and their people, cleaning their beloved wordy-water of impurities and making sure that nothing would become polluted. They were good parents, always knowing exactly what to say when it needed to be said, and they loved all of their 7 children. But they were always worried about LittleBoy.

LittleBoy was not an average Yuck. From the very beginning it was clear that he was different. On the day that he was born, when the doctor cut his umbilical chord and placed him in his mothers arms, he didn't cry. Nor did he wimper. No, not even a moan.
LittleBoy giggled.

That's right. His mother almost droppped him right on his newborn head. His father gasped. The doctor was flabberghasted, and the nurses all turned to stare.
"A giggle?", his mother stared at the doctor, searching his face for an answer. And they immediately started doing tests.

Well, the doctors stuck Littleboy with pins, x-rayed his legs, scanned his brain, checked his heart, scoped his lungs and drew his blood, but they simply couldn't find anything wrong with him. His mother and father were certain it was a severe case of blurry-word and thought they might leave Yuck to seek help in a city that had blurry-word specialists. But the doctors assured LittleBoy's parents that that giggle was no blurry-giggle. That was a healthy giggle. Healthy, but wrong.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Baby time and making Aliya

I am an unemployed new immigrant. The unemployed status is relatively recent. I had been waitressing, but was fired almost a month ago; my elementary school English teacher status ended with the school year; and my one and only private English student has had enough.
I find myself - once again - frantically searching for a decent paying job, desperate enough to take almost anything I can get.

Since my arrival I've been trying to find my place here in Israel's economy. I have found this task to be impossible. For one reason or another, I feel ill-equipped for every position. The first and most obvious issue is Hebrew. Secondly, it seems I have little to no experience in almost every area. Third, the older I get, the lazier I seem to get. I don't have the energy to work like a dog, which once upon a time I was happy to do.

And now all of my friends are getting married and having babies. This is what my age-group is talking about: weddings, couples, pregnancies, births or baby-steps. My friend noa is pregnant. My friend Izhar has a three month old boy. My best friend naomi is trying and here I am unemployed unengaged and uninterested. Here I am with about 1000 shekels in my bank account, trying to stay afloat, trying to figure out my future and my life, while my friends are getting married, buying houses and having babies.

Do I have it all wrong? Am I a poorly evolved 20-something?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

When you've got nothing, you've got nothing to do

Ever notice yourself sitting around for weeks on end desperately racking your brains for something to do? Hour after hour, moping, surfing the net, stretching, zoning out, making to do lists that never get done? Do you ever feel like you can't, for the life of you, figure out what needs to get done, or if anything ever really needs to get done at all, ever? Maybe then you fall into some sort of existential internal debate about whether or not life has any meaning. Or, you simply press the snooze button on your brain and allow yourself to sail through your week relying on the generosity and productivity of friends and family to get you what you think you want.

It seems I live with one of these creatures of non-productivity. She's the kind that cleans the house not because it needs cleaning, but because it has needed cleaning for ages. She's been thinking about possibly doing it for about a month now and it just so happens that right now she has nothing better to do and even feels like trying something besides the usual lying around.

Her daily routine goes something like this: A slow waking at 12 in the afternoon after a good couple of hours of hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock and stuffing the cell phone beneath a pillow to muffle its ring. At about 12:30 - 1:00, she'll open the door to her room, strut out to make coffee, light one of my cigarettes, and slug back to her room, closing her door, waiting for the water to boil. Eventually she'll return for the coffee, maybe make a second cup, and then roam around the apartment picking up things that might amuse her momentarily: a few strums on the guitar, a glance at the plants that she may or may not water, a ruffle through the mail laying on the table . If she finds herself paints, she might play artist for hours, inhaling toxic fumes of turpentine, and guiding the brush slowly over her canvas with no clear idea of an end-product, wholeheartedly believing that this is creativity.

Every so often she goes to work. She works at an icecream shop a few times a week. Most days she returns with stories about her boss, or her boss's wife, or about the young girls that work there with her. The work is relatively easy, although tedious at times, and the fact that she doesn't even like icecream keeps her skinny as a ballerina.

Almost every night she goes out for a beer at the nearby bar, the Hoodna. The Hoodna attracts young hip tourists, alternative young Israelis, and neighborhood wierdos who are looking for interesting company and a cheap beer on tap. It boasts old beaten-up sofa-seating, poor service, no non-smoking area, and young owners who know how to keep the regulars regular. She has no problem going alone since she's now a well-known and highly revered regular, but most of the time she's there with a friend or two, nursing her bottle of Goldstar and smoking Camel light after Camel light.

Her neighborhood cavorts are subsidized by her unknowing, rather naive and conservative parents. No, she doesn't have much to complain about. Her parents pay her rent and provide her with this monetary allowance that seems to have no limit. Not that she's a big spender, but she certainly lives beyond her meager means, beingher work schedule is considerably light. When she does complain, however, it is typically in regards to how many strange guys hit on her, and how crazy they are that they wont leave her alone. The only other routine complaints she has are either related to noises that wake her, pidgeons that wont stop shitting on our balcony, her supposed desire to quit smoking, or her temporary lack of hash stash. Come to think of it, she also complains about bills, her army reserve duty, and anything else related to authority or government.

At times I find myself loathing her. Her existance disgusts me. Her smoking, her laziness, and her lack of purpose in this world twists her into a rotten insect, a pest, vermin. It's this Kafka-esque feeling that she's lost her human quality with her sense of purpose and direction. But most basically, it comes down to this: she so rarely helps with the upkeep of the apartment that frequently I feel resentment coming up like undigested food in a nauseous stomach.

The only time I remember her going on a grocery shop that filled the fridge for us both..... was once, after I specifically asked her to. I left her a detailed list of what to buy. I typically do the dishes, buy cleaning supplies, toiletries, food, and appliances, clean the living room, water the plants, descuzz the bathroom and sweep the balcony floor. I frequently find things neglected irresponsibly, doomed to rot or decay- brushes left for weeks in open bottles of turpentine, cups scarttered throughout the apartment with remnants of food eaten and cigarette butts and ashes strewn on top, pieces of unfinished "artwork" scattered around the living room, ashtrays stuffed with burt butts and dried up lemon slices, toe-nail clippings or dead cockroaches. I've surpassed her by 1000 shekels on the list of joint household purchases. 1000 shekels. And I pay my own fucking rent thank you.

But at times, I find I'm desperately addicted to her incompetence. She makes me feel productive, for who isn't productive compared to her? She makes me feel talented, vibrant, organized and capable. All of a sudden I am independent and grown up. I get things done and manage my own needs. I'll come home searching specifically for signs of her laziness and thoughtlessness just so I can say to myself, "I'm not like that."

And there is something pleasing in her childish manner. Her and her huge gummy smile, her full cheeks and protruding chin....her slow movements and reliable easy-going attitude. She doesn't mean to be careless or thoughtless, she's simply never been educated. The ignorance factor. It's unintentional and therefore laughable at times.

Plus, she also is almost always there for me. It's likely she's at home, it's likely she's not busy, so if I need someone to talk to, it's likely she's available. And she's a good listener. Very patient. No questions or interjections. We typically agree. She's always up for a beer. Or coffee. Or a cigarette.