Wednesday, November 10, 2004

You Can Run, But You Can't Hide

This morning I tore myself away from the computer for a brief moment to walk the dog, whose alias shall henceforth be Shuki. Actually it was 2PM, and Shuki was getting rather impatient for her morning walk. I intentionally don't take money with me on these dog-centered outings, to avoid impulse-buying (my neighborhood is conducive to shopping). So, equipped with cellphone, keys, and pooping-paper (the Jerusalem Post magazine section has the sturdiest newsprint, I've learned by experiment), Shuki and I set forth down Rothschild Boulevard, Autumn sun blazing and a healthy breeze blowing. We bump into a crowd. Uh-oh. Is it an accident? A walking-tour of Bauhaus Tel-Aviv? No. It's a Fashion Shoot! With a Child Model! And parked trailers hanging over into the street and clogging up traffic!

I wonder if this is what Theodore Herzl had in mind: a normal country. Is a Fashion Shoot a sign of normality? Well they are shooting with cameras, not guns. When we got home, I switched on the last 1/2 hour of the "Underground" (Kustariza) video and watched them shoot with both. I don't think there is any normal country any more.

Don't be depressed. There probably never was: just good days and bad days.


Kate R said...

Hi Elsewhere's mom . . welcome to the world of blogging!

Hey, I have a whole bunch of relatives in Israel. Maybe you know them? Too bad I can't remember their last names . . . .

Savtadotty said...

Hi Kate!
Thanks for the welcome. I feel like I'm walking into the Rec Room where the kids are having a writing party. Expecting everyone to stop having fun and devote themselves to resenting this gray-haired intruder. I guess it's an old self-consciousness thing that never goes away. NEVER.

On the other hand, Israel does not have a generation gap, because it is not yet a full-fledged marketing-driven consumer society, so multi-generation events are the norm. It is also a very informal place, so many of the people I've met have no last names as far as I know. That is, nobody bothers to announce last names during introductions. Even the company phone list at my first job here had only first names. When there were two "Eyals," we got "Eyal M" and "Eyal S."

This is a convoluted way of saying that I could very well know your relatives, because I am a friendly, networking, non-threatening-looking sort, and have lived in Tel Aviv for 16 years, but it would take a few more identifying characteristics, name being only one. For example, "My cousin Moti who lives in Raanana and is a kindergarten teacher." Now this would be sufficient, because I don't think there are 10 male kindergarten teachers in the whole country. Or, "my Great-Aunt Bella, who makes the world's best gefilte fish." Well, you'd think that might describe at least 6,000 people, but in fact the name Bella is pretty passe, so it would narrow the field down to about 200. Living people, that is. Someplace to start.

Udge said...

"Normal" is one of those weaselly words that sneak up on you from behind when you're not watching. Normal for whom, for where, for when?

I think "normal" is in any case being rendered irrelevant by the homogenisation of taste and imagination that the globalisers are layering onto us. Normal implies (to me) the presence of alternatives, the paths not taken; where there are no alternatives, "normal" has no meaning.

My opinion; your mileage may differ :-) But "Underworld" is a superb film, we can agree on that.

Savtadotty said...

Hi Udge -
I agree with you that "normal" is a questionable term today, although not for the reasons you cite. However, I was referring what Theodor Herzl had in mind, back in the days when "normal" had a particular meaning to the dreamers who founded Israel.

"Normal" is problematic term for me today because it is mistakenly equated with "good." Norms change, so having MacDonald's everywhere is a new norm, like it or not. And I guess a Fashion Shoot on my doorstep is unusual, but not particularly bad.