Saturday, November 10, 2012

On The Train To The Airport

- I'll sit next to the religious guy. What are you smiling at?
- What you said.
- Religion makes you happy, though, right?
- Where are you from?
- From Tel Aviv, to the airport, on my way home, I hope. Los Angeles.
- Been in Israel long?
- Too long. Months. The country is trying to teach me not to value possessions. Two telephones stolen, computer broken by an over-inquisitive puppy at a park bench, glasses stolen, fountain pen broken by rogue utility box I walked into trying to hide my eyes from the sun.
- Only things.
- Yes,.and every time I buy something I get cheated.
- So don't buy anything.
- Sorry to break in, but a few months isn't enough to know Israel.
- Stay much longer and there'll be nothing left of me. I'm not Job. Look, he's smiling again.
- Have you been to Jerusalem?
- Once, about 30 years ago.
- Only seeing Tel Aviv in Israel is like going to New York, visiting the Statue of Liberty, and saying you know the city. Tel Aviv is like New York, is like L.A. You haven't seen anything.
- Are you American?
- I'm Israeli now.
- For how long?
- 15 years. You're going to the airport? If you stay on this train, you could get off just before Jerusalem. There is a Yeshiva you should go to. I'll write you directions. They'll help you.
- In exchange for what?
- They won't ask you for anything. They'll give you a room, food, teach you Hebrew.
- I don't believe it. I'll have to practice their rituals.
- That's fair, isn't it?
-No. It's a bad deal. I can sell my conformity for a higher price. If I'm to compromise myself I'd rather be a banker or politician and take the world down with me.
- You're a cynic.
- I just want to go home.
- Do you have a house in L.A.?
- I don't have anything.
- Yes, I heard. No telephone, computer, pen. Go to the Yeshiva. They'll take care of you.
- Can't do it. This stop is the airport? I'm getting off.
- Here, take the directions. In case you change your mind.

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