War time in Israel

It’s different this time. I guess it’s always different. It’s different this time because I don’t have enough fingers to count how many people I know, by first or second degree, who are called up, serving or waiting to serve in Gaza.

And whereas in the past I figured the odds were too out there, I guess this time… it’s all just too close to home.

I don’t have a lot to say. The heart is heavy, the stomach is lead. The beep beep beeeep of the hourly news is louder than before. The prime minister sounds different.

We’re meant to go about our day, otherwise the terrorists win, but that is a really unnatural sensation.

We smile, we softly laugh. Occasionally, we lift our heads at the sound of a phantom siren. We hug our kids even tighter in the evening. We hear explosions from 90 minutes away. We go to work in the morning.

We read the names of the dead sons and really, there is no sigh of relief when you don’t recognize the name.

Because even though it’s not your own friend or brother or cousin or coworker… it’s someone else’s.

 

Meat counter convo liz: So I guess I’m that person now

Standing at the meat counter in the local supermarket.

Guy to meat counter girl: “Yeah, everything is crazy, how are you doing?”

Meat counter girl: “It’s so scary!”

Me: “Hey, at least we know exactly when it’ll hit, it’s been evenings and that’s it.”

Guy: “It’ll be quiet till tonight, till they’ve eaten and organized after Ramadam fast.”

Me: orders chicken

Guy: [in english] “Maybe I’ll just go back”

Me: [taken by surprise] politely smiles

Guy: “You’re from the States?”

Me: “Yeah. You?”

Guy: “Yeah. I dunno. What is this? I think it’s time to just go back.”

Me: “What are you nuts?!”

Guy: “What do you mean, this life isn’t normal. This isn’t normal.”

Me: “What do you mean – America is crazy! Did you hear what just happened on July 4 weekend in Chicago?!”

Guy: “No…”

Me: “There were 82 people shot! 14 died!”

Guy: “Muslims?!”

Me: “No, nothing like that! Anybody! That’s the thing! Here we know our enemy, there it could be any crazy guy off the street!”

Guy: “Yeah, but this…”

Me: “No way, you couldn’t pay me… I’d rather know who my enemy is, we can prepare… There, everything is crime, anyone can take out a gun…”

And while we agreed in the end that perhaps, if we were to leave, Australia would be a fine choice…

…I couldn’t believe, with 100% meaning everything I said, without thinking about what I was saying, I had just been that person.

 

 

We’re waiting for you.

Day 7.

I believe you are alive. I believe you’ll be ok.

I hope you do, too.

We’re waiting for you.

We’re doing the age-old Israeli dance – living a disrupted, regular life.

Go to work, go to school, put the kids to bed, kiss each other goodnight. While we hope for you.

We think about you. Throughout the day. While getting dressed. On the drive to work. While mindlessly refreshing the news. While preparing dinner. While shutting down for the night.

We think about your parents. We can’t imagine, but we itch to do something that might help. We pray. We wait for updates. We hope for Tzahal.

We’re waiting for you.

 

Not normal (part 2)

Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Frenkel, 16, and Gil-ad Shaar, 16

It’s day 3. When it comes to processing, sometimes it takes a while. I think the closer to home it is, the slower it goes.

To put it another way: maybe it’s a bit too twisted that I’m reading the insanity playing out in Iraq in an effort to not read the no-news from back home.

I don’t want to go to bed a third time not knowing what comes next, but I don’t want to be awake to experience the pounding in my chest.

In another weird twist, I’m listening to my dad’s radio show in the background in order to establish some level of normalcy. Father’s day, I guess.

A friend mentioned she’s surprised I hadn’t offered my thoughts. I guess I was blocking them. Soldiers… are close enough to home. Soldiers are barely not-teenagers.

Teenagers… well, teenagers are barely not-kids. So this is now a whole new level of sick.

And that’s what I feel at the moment… sick.

That’s all I got.

 

 

Workshop in Advanced Citizenship

There’s nothing to make you feel more a part of a society’s special mosaic than to find yourself arriving at the sealed entrance of the Unemployment Office, joining a small mob of people across all of Israeli demographics, all staring at the printout sloppily taped to the heavy doors…

…that the ministry is on strike.