To sit in an espresso bar with friends and not feel that I exist in a bubble. To read ‘Shadow of the Wind' by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, the current ‘in’ author, to stop at page 200 and dream with eyes wide open for a moment what it would be like to live in Barcelona all one’s life, to be the son of an antique bookseller and know that when people die, it is because of a ripe old age.
To appoint an independent commission of inquiry that will check whether Lior was watching the Jetix TV Channel all the time. Whether I have put Yaeli’s blue blouse, blue pants, blue shoes, blue pig tail barrettes and blue bookbag filled with the blue covered notebooks on the chair next to her bed, and to give you only three guesses as to her favorite color.
To ask Yoav if he wants to play chess with me. I know that it’s a slow game but parents at the end of the summer are like cognac: after too many hours in the sun, they prefer to be served at room temperatures.
God bless the dumb TV
Quiet. To meet with people you really like and ask how they are and not hear in return an entire diatribe on the situation. Not to jump when the telephone rings, even if it’s only your reserve officer on the line. She has a birthday at the end of the week and wants to ask you if you can get her tickets for the ‘Broza and Mayumina’ concert. The answer, by the way, is yes I can.
To watch stupid shows on television where the only commentator who is harmless is Tzvika Pik. To know what weapons are in which army warehouse, not to know who was mobilized and who forgot, not to know if we lost or if it was really successful. By the way Yoav, you haven’t said yet. Do you want to play chess?
To work out three times a week but without straining the back. To open up our little girl’s Land of Israel textbook and discover on the hottest day of the year that the fall lilies are already blooming. To hope that he won’t again announce how insulted he was by the situation.
To read that half a million Israelis are planning to travel abroad at Rosh Hashanah and not to understand from where they have the energy or to where they can run. To eat dinner on the balcony and to ponder –like every time we do this – why we don’t do this more often. To hear old Israeli folk tunes on Shabbat - a direct broadcast from the past.
Not to ask what is happening, not to ask who is right, not to ask for whom will we vote and to whom do we send the check. To walk through the Square for a short visit, to remember that no country in the world gets tens of thousands of people to identify with three abducted soldiers. To fold up the tents; those of the protestors, those of the handicapped and those belonging to the refugees from Nitzanim, the tent that we took to the Judean Desert the night we looked for falling stars.
To change the radio station every time someone offers a solution, to change the channel on the guy who claims he warned us on the first day, to pull the winter clothes out of storage. To return to the simple things: To know that you love this country because you could never live anywhere else. This is your language, the only landscape you understand. Only here do you belong. Nu Yoavi, what about chess?
Quiet. To decide that for a short time anyway nothing will bother you. Even when my grandfather came to this land in ’32, he was told that it’s a lost cause. To know that despite everything, we have the most valiant army in the wrong neighborhood, that there are lot of good people beyond the government and the capitalists.
No one will die of starvation or of cold, and if you fall and break your leg, someone will stop and help you. To know that it’s still considered innocent, almost irresponsible to be an optimist since we know all the problems but sometimes just being naive is an answer or at least, it hurts less.
To say something good
To go and see an Israeli movie. To write a proper letter – haven’t done that in such a long time because of email. To put that letter in the postbox and to send it to someone I miss. To remember that Yom Kippur is coming, to fix the bikes and find my prayer book. If I am already talking about my grandfather, to pay him a visit.
To tell people the good things I think about them. What am I waiting for, for them to die? To tell them that I am grateful to them, that I forgive them, that I know that sometimes I make them angry. To resolve the parking dispute I have with my neighbor. To think about the how Moty cried when his son left Lebanon. To remember what is real and what is vanity.
Quiet. For about a week or two. I really need it, not forever, just for now. The summer was overwhelming so like all Israelis I need to recharge my batteries. I need to lower my blood pressure.
To fall in love with the wife as she gets out of the shower, to stand and watch how the child sleeps. To focus on the abundance, like in those stupid courses for self-improvement, to create a bumper sticker: ‘Let My People Rejoice’. To shut off lights, to let the mind wander, to leave a permanent message on the answering machine: ‘Don’t look for me, I’ve gone to sleep.’
Trust me, nothing will happen if we take a short break, if we hang a sign on the door ‘Do not disturb, I am resting.’
Yoavi, last chance, how about that game of chess?