Finding myself in the Middle East

Friday, May 15, 2009

It's My Party

It's one in the morning, and I just finished icing the cake. It's shaped like a butterfly, as Princess requested, and which she mentioned again, in a whisper, as her eyes closed during our nightly story. But it's not purple and pink. The store ran out of confectionary sugar (again), and I used chocolate spread instead. It looks pretty, with colorful sprinkles and a pink plastic Happy Birthday plaque, and I'm sure it will taste good, but I'm not sure of the reaction. Emotional situations on the Princess Scale can range from a tantrum worthy of a 2 year-old, or a hair-raisingly mature understanding of the situation at hand (For example, she might ask me if the pink and purple mixed and turned into brown. To which I will probably lie and say yes, you clever girl.)

Do stores in America run out of such a basic ingredient on such a regualr basis? It's been a while, but probably not, I would venture to say. Does it annoy me? Darn right. As does it sometimes get tedious to travel by bus or Phil and Ted's, and to speak to my family back in the Old Country while taking into account the seven hour time difference. (except, of course, for that one time when I didn't. Take it into account, I mean. And I was all, "hi, Mom, wazzap?" and she was all, "Bzzzpsdc? Hgnnn. Gabababab." And I was all, "OMG, what time is it?" And she was all, "Wazazaza." And I hung up the phone, called her back 4 hours later, and she said, "Did you call me at 4 in the morning?" and I was all, "No, why?" and she's like, "I had this dream...I think? Are you sure?" And I'm like, "um, why would I call you at 4 in the morning?" and she bought it, I guess. Because the caller ID is too much like a computer for my mother to wrap her head around.)

There are a lot of things that are not as convenient here in the Land Of The Israelite and Home of the Original (with thanks to The Far Side) Inconvenience Store. And while I bemoan them and you think you've got it rough with them, there is something strangely apealing about a land that has not been sanitized for your protection and prepackaged for your convenience. There is something more real about a hike that does not have railing along every rough path, something more human about a clerk who will get annoyed and tell you so, rather that speaking in polite mincing tones while despising you under his breath, something more raw and natural about a store not having every single thing that is on your shopping list.

Maybe what I am trying to say is this; not everyone is here for my service, and not everything is here for my consumption. The world is not here to get along with me; I am here, on this short, short journey, to learn how to get along with the world.

G-d, I hope that the cake comes out good.

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