Friday, June 21, 2013

Relax! Hurry Up!

I just had a very Israeli experience.  I was driving to the salon to get my hair cut.  On the way no less than five people honked at me because I was not driving as they wanted me to.

That is, I was waiting at least until the red/yellow was on for a second before pulling out (of course NO ONE waits for the green to actually appear, that's just ridiculous).  Then I was driving along happily and a bunch of workers were crossing the street to get to the construction site.  They did not look "right and left" like we were always taught.  They just went.  Perfectly relaxed, slow, laughing and talking.  The cars slowed down and waited.  [Note: they were not walking across a marked crosswalk.  Just saying] No one honked. So I guess we honk at other drivers, but not at pedestrians.

What's amazing about Israel is that as crazy as they are when driving, when it comes to pedestrians, they are literally fanatics, obsessed about waiting.  If anyone is crossing a crosswalk, they absolutely have the right of way and all traffic must stop.  Israelis take this very seriously.   I once crossed in the middle of the street and a driver got out of his car and yelled at me.  I am not making this up.

So, back to my story.  I got to the salon and the hairdresser was clearly 4 people behind in her schedule.  The hairdresser, the friendly and lovely Ilana, welcomed me and did not apologize for the long line.  That was my first hint that to her, this was not a problem.  Just sit and relax!

My daughter and granddaughter were two of those people waiting. It was already about 15 minutes after our first appointment was scheduled.  My daughter and I had a discussion about how to handle this, and as usual she was smart and reminded me how flexible my schedule was.  So I decided to leave.

When I stood up to leave, Ilana was a bit horrified - "What?  You can't wait?"  She was not apologetic, just a bit surprised that I was not willing to wait. The fact that there were 3 people ahead of me and that meant at least 45 minutes of waiting, if not more, did not seem to be an issue.

So you see, I have to learn that there is a time to rush (driving) and a time to wait (hair salon).

Israelis are intense - intensely happy and intensely angry (but maybe that's just being Jewish).  Either way, living here means you are getting used to both but realizing something even more important - under everything, there is  love.

I've never seen a more loving country - the way the big gruff guys melt and start cooing in squeaky voices a the sight of a baby, the way the harsh looking women with dyed red hair and TOO MUCH makeup who have clearly been smoking since they were about 6 come up to you and put a hand on your shoulder and call you sweetie if they want to ask you something.

However harsh and hectic things seem here, underneath it all is an intense love and caring that can bring tears to your eyes. 

After that kind of day, we went to a concert last night - a salute to the Chassidic Music Festival of years ago - and of course at the end we sang Hatikvah.  Before we sang, the MC spoke a bit about hope, and about knowing that Hashem is with us and that we are strong and courageous because of Him.  It was not a religious crowd by any means, just so you know.

Then all several hundred of us stood and sang - it was an older crowd and I loved the fact that the men (most were Israelis) stood at attention just as they did when they were in the army.  I don't even think I can express correctly how standing there with hundreds of people singing Hatikvah made me feel.

So I'll take the "hurry up" and I'll take the "relax!".  It's ok. 

No comments:

Post a Comment