Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Elasticity in the Middle East
One of the Things They Never Tell You When You Move to Israel is what happens to elastic in the local dry, hot climate. After a few years, elastic may still stretch but it won't snap back. This happens to rubber bands, elastic waistbands, and even that lovely little Secret Handshake Item of Precious Writers Everywhere, the Moleskine. (The one on the left is how it looks when it's new. The one on the right is mine.)
A related problem is what happens to glue…things you never knew were glued together in the first place just come apart in your hands: eyeglass frames, wooden boxes, picture frames.
But most disturbing of all is the combined effects of climate (hot and dry, as previous noted) and the local composition of walls (mostly sand, masquerading as concrete I suspect) on stuff suspended therefrom: several years ago a friend and I experienced The Night Of Falling Things when we were each awakened in the wee hours by crashing thuds in our apartments, about ½ mile apart. My heavy framed bedroom mirror fell from the wall the same night her kitchen cabinets did. Both had been installed by "professionals," but the forces of nature proved stronger than hooks, nails, glue, and construction engineering.
I know we will all eventually return to dust, but couldn't we be reminded of it in a more profound way than the crashing of shattered glass and crockery, and the feeling of underpants sliding down our legs?