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*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, September 22, 2009

On Being Illiterate

For some reason, the word "illiterate" still feels a bit dirty. It evokes the image of some beggar child out of a Charles Dickens novel or an old stubborn woman living all alone in an old rickety house.

I'm not quite sure why this is. It may be because of all the TV adds I saw that tried to promote reading and portrayed the illiterate as a handicapped population. It may be that the movies, television programs and books I read featured illiterate low-class. It must also be because of the fact that I learned to read at such a young age. Being illiterate simply seemed impossible to me. I couldn't wrap my head around how someone could go their entire life without learning, or at least trying to learn, how to read.

Well, here I am. I'm almost 27. And I am half illiterate.

This past Sunday, I took Israel's Hebrew Proficiency Exam. We'll see whether I pass. It's been three years since I've moved to Israel- three full years of living my life in Hebrew, and yet, I do not read. Or, rather, I read at a very elementary level.

Now, on the one hand I feel extremely shameful. I don't ever push myself to read, I haven't been strong enough to carve out a time each day in which I sit down to read, and I certainly don't make a point of trying to read the news in Hebrew. I'm lazy. And this is how I approach most things in life. I am incredibly lazy.

I sit around and watch movies. I go out and get drunk on the weekends. I get home with plenty on my mind, and instead I make food or dabble around on facebook, peeking in on others lives in order to make myself depressed. I read and write e-mails, deluding myself that I'm doing something productive. At yet, at the end of the day, I haven't done anything I can say I'm at all proud of.

Everything seems meaningless. I'm not quite sure when I lost my interest in the world, but it's happed very quickly. I feel incapably of writing well, incapable of applying myself to serious critical reading, and incapable of doing anything interesting.

I flip through the facebook pages of my friends who are pursuing a dream. Well, I never really had a dream. I never really knew what it was I wanted or how I was supposed to know this in the first place. What are these "passions" that people have? Why don't I ever feel passion? The kind of passion that propels and excites?

So I'm back to square one. My impotence. My illiteracy. My inability to follow through.

The end.

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