The Juggler - המתעסקת
Gathered from markets around the city.
Today I have a class at 6 p.m. If I eat before class I will feel drowsy. If I don't eat, I'll get a headache. So it is a balancing act. When to eat? How much to eat? What to eat? And how do I avoid drinking three cups of instant coffee and twenty cookies to make it until 9:15. How did this get so complicated? Why is there no real coffee after 6 pm?
I always imagined that when I retired from the library, doing chores would be easier because I would not be jamming them in at the end of the work day. I thought it would be a snap to make a doctor's appointment because my daytime hours would be more or less free and I wouldn't be competing with everyone else. I thought I would be experimenting more with new food techniques I had never tried because I finally had the time. But I was wrong. Moving to Israel changed all that.
Every chore, every appointment, every idea or scheme or proposal is a gamble. The doctor you have been seeing for 3 years, leaves with no notice and you are suddenly sitting in an office with a complete stranger. The hours posted on the door of the coffee merchant are really just a suggestion. The DMV is open but the one guy who takes care of foreign licenses decided to go to Eilat with his family that morning. Time is a different creature here. You may think you have it down pat and won't be surprised but there is a very high probability that what is planned for the day is a pipe dream and you might be notified on Tuesday at midnight that the MRI you have been waiting for is now set for the next morning in a town deep in the desert.
I am busy here. Incredibly busy. But not in the way I imagined. I am busy juggling the patchwork of systems and cultures and general flux of everyday life.
So because I have a class tonight at 6 p.m. and I am having guests for Shabbat dinner (tomorrow) and because the shuk will close early so that everyone else can get home to their guests before sunset, and because I need to source food from at least 5 different markets in order to find everything I need, and because the refrigerator is not made for food storage, only food idling (no more than an hour before the spot is given up to something else) - I decided to go to a rather fancy delicatessen to buy (rather than make) the "vorspeissen" - in English, appetizers.
I decided to be smart this time and go before noon to avoid the crowds since by twelve o'clock the place is packed and nearly impossible to navigate. I walk up Yehuda Ha-Levi and is beautiful outside. 22 degrees. Very little humidity. I am feeling positive.
I get to the market and it is quiet, not the usual madhouse. I am feeling more hopeful. I put a number of things in my basket and then line up for the prepared food counter. I wait and wait and no one is coming. I wait some more and then I finally go up the cashier and ask for the item I am looking for - which they are famous for!
Of course, of course, of course, they don't have it. I ask her when they will have it. She says she doesn't know They may have it later and they may not. I ask her when she will know if they will have it. She doesn't know. An hour, two hours, maybe three. Maybe not.
I am standing there with a basket full of stuff and I think "This is it. This is my life - chasing chimaeras. How many Israeli markets does it take to complete the shopping that can be done in an hour at Fairways?" And then I think, "OK. Buy flowers and go somewhere else. Surely someone has what you need."
So off I go like most days. from market to market. Some not open, some shuttered and some with exactly the right stuff.
Will they have it tomorrow or next week? No idea. But it keeps me busy and somewhat entertained. It is an adventure to live here. X-rays at midnight. Getting new clothing tailored while you wait because the young designer has her sewing machine in the shop. Not predictable but very much alive.
And I will probably have several cookies and a couple of cups of bad coffee tonight.