Sunday, May 20, 2012

Two Sides, One Israel

Somehow Yom Yerushalayim doesn't get the status of Yom Haatzmaut.  Schools are not closed, life goes on as usual, no big banners across the roads, no flags. 

But in Ulpan today our teacher handed out a brief history of Jerusalem, which we read together, and then handed out the words of "Yerushalayim shel Zahav' which we translated together, and then sang.  She then played the live broadcast of the soldiers going in to the old city during the Six Day War and singing at the Kotel.  I don't think I'm exaggerating to tell you that there was not a dry eye in the room.

Every year on Yom Yerushalyim I make it a point to listen to the broadcast.  When the soldiers say that the Old City is "in our hands" I'm overwhelmed each time.  This year of course it has more meaning. I was impressed by our teacher's passion and emotion when talking about Jerusalem - I always love hearing Israelis talk about this country - it's such a deep, abiding love of the land and everything in it.  It's at the same time touching and inspiring.

And then......

We went shopping.  And another side of Israeli life hit us.

Walked into a hardware store.  Looking for a garden hose.  As you may recall my last attempt at garden hose maintenance has not altogether been successful.  Once I attach the nozzle to the hose and get it to stay on the spigot outside on the mirpeset, it usualy falls off the spigot when the water is turned on.  Then, and I am not proud of this, I cannot for the life of me re-wind the hose back onto the windy-uppy-thingy.  Tried 3 times, can't figure it out.

So what does a good ex-American do?  I figure, "I'll buy another one."  So off to the hardware store we go, this time a different store, figuring maybe they have better hoses.  We also needed some kind of adhesive to re-post our house alarm sign (this house is protected by ....blah blah blah) which had fallen off during a recent windstorm.  And it has to adhere to the stone facade of the apartment.  And, um, crazy glue does not work.  Trust me.

So, ok, we walk into the hardware store.  The man behind the counter glares at us.  Uh oh, what did we do?  I think we interrupted his staring into space or something.  We ask, in broken (I think more like shattered into a million teeny tiny bits) Hebrew for some kind of glue for the sign.  He brings out a huge container of caulk.  Hmmmm.  So we ask and what do we apply this with?

He brings out a huge caulking gun.  The kind they must use to put highway bridges together.  We look at each other.  He is still not smiling.  We decline the offer, then ask if he has a garden hose.  Except we don't know the word for garden hose.  So I do a pantomime of spraying the grass with water, which probably looks like I'm shooting bullets at the other customers.  He does not look amused and is not trying in any way to help us.  We, of course, are laughing at my ineptness in explaining what we want.  Then we see a hose sitting right there!  Exactly what we want!  We point to it and say, "Ka Zeh!" [like this!']. 

He looks at us.  He looks at the hose.

And he says, "Ayn." [There aren't any]. 

"Ayn?" I ask, with my hand on the hose.

"Ayn."  he says, shaking his head.

Then I get fed up.  "Ooooookkkkaaaaaaayyyy," I say, "we are outta here."

And we walk out trying not to giggle.

Now maybe he was having a hard day.  Or maybe he is the boss and had decided he didn't want to make any sales that day for what I'm sure must be a very good reason.  Or maybe for him that WAS customer service.

Either way, his loss we are not going back there ever again. 

All in a day's work for us Isarelis.  And you know what?  I love living here.  Because no matter what, when all is said and done, he and I are always going to be on the same side.  And that's all that matters.

1 comment:

  1. Every year on Yom Yerushalyim I make it a point to listen to the broadcast

    Me too. And I feel so overwhelmed this year to actually be here, living in Yerushalayim. What a feeling...