the 90th minute

Until September 2007, when my oldest daughter was born, this blog covered daily life and politics in Israel, as well as Hebrew-English linguistic issues, from the perspective of an American-raised journalist and translator living in Israel. Now it mostly serves as the SmunchMonk&Bear news agency, a portal into the bizarre universe of the little people. Read more at:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Getting a lift

We spent part of Pesach in Jerusalem, leading me to come up with a few counterbalances to my arguable over-sentimentalization of life in the Holy City (though I continue to stand behind everything I said here):

1. Doing things we would normally have done if we had still been living in J'lem (hanging out with friends and taking advantage of free holiday activities - which unexpectedly led to the acquisition of a shockingly purple necklace made out of melon seeds!) is relaxing and vacationesque when you're staying at somebody else's apartment (thank you, R&S and B!) - even if you know the very same activities would have been somewhat more mundane if you had been staying in your (alas, imaginary) Jerusalem home, complaining about having nothing to eat aside from matzah and jelly.

2. Speaking of that imaginary Jerusalem apartment, our stay in the big J brought home the unsettling realization that the roomy elevator we have started to take for granted in our building here in Yuppieville would be a mere wisp of a dream in most buildings back yonder. I used to scoff at those under-70s who purported to need an elevator merely to reach the grand heights of the fifth floor. Even when I was pregnant and the arrival of a little one loomed quite close on the horizon, I haughtily figured - to the minimal extent I thought about it at all - that we could just park the stroller at the bottom and carry the kid up, no problem. And also that all those wusses out there were making a big deal out of not very much.

That, of course, was then - before I knew about the magical sleep-inducing properties of strolling. Yes, I had heard stories about parents putting their baby in the car to get the kid to sleep, but I had not yet experienced up close the full power of Motion the Magic Potion. This is no theoretical concept anymore, but a very real law of nature - which, like gravity, just is, regardless of whether you understand it - and RP exhibits its sway on her at least once a day. But here's the key: If I'm to get anything out of her tendency to capitulate to the charms of what Warren insists on calling The Chariot, then I need to bring her back home and let her continue her slumber indoors, so I can eat lunch/do the laundry/check my email/take a catnap. This is easy when you have an elevator - but significantly less so, as I saw firsthand last week, when you've got a whole lotta stairs separating the snoozer from the house.

And elevator absence is just one element of the bigger picture: the serious tradeoff involved in living in a city, where - to relegate a huge quality-of-life issue to four words - space is sacrificed for location (unless you've got a few million bucks, in which case you can a) have both and b) probably don't even live in Israel, but just deign to visit during the holidays while insouciantly pricing actual Israelis out of Jerusalem... but that's another story).

3. Too many Americans in Jerusalem!!!!! I constantly complained about this when I lived there and was quite forcefully reminded of it upon my return. I did not leave America in order to feel like I never left!



Anonymous Sara said...

Too many Americans in Jerusalem, too many French in Tel Aviv. End result is still the same - hundreds of apartments empty for 90% of the year and ridiculous rent/purchase prices. Sigh. I wonder if this is what Teddy H had in mind?

Loving the blog, by the way. I keep dipping in and out.

See you soon...

June 01, 2008  

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