Thursday, May 20, 2010

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

I want to write a book about tremps. I think I have tremps like other people have dreams. I have bizarre, surreal, unreal tremps. (A tremp, by the by, is a lift. It's a ride from a total stranger. A hitchhike -- the only way to get around in some places, including Alon.)
-I had a tremp with an Ole (a guy who moved to Israel) from Mexico and was a hard-core surfer. He was coming with his boards and equipment from the beach, an hour or two away. Turns out he's the gardener of the Yishuv and is helping us to put together a compost. We had a long conversation about water-sports and the smallness of Israel where people think that to drive an hour to the beach is like driving to the end of the world.
-I had a tremp with a man and his son to Jerusalem where I kept silent until we were in East Jerusalem and his son, who must have been about 10, asked if the women in their long black garments and heavy hijabs were hot all of the time. And his father answered "no". So I said, "I'm not so sure" and from there we ended up having a conversation about where I had been in the last six months and Arabic. Turns out, his mother is from Tunis, and he knows some Moroccan Arabic, so we spoke Arabic for the remainder of the ride. I see him around the Yishuv from time to time, and we always exchange some Magrebi. Fun.
-I had a tremp with a handicapped woman who drove - not with the wheel - but instead with small, sensitive device that, when turned, turns the wheel. Her baby in the backseat slept the whole way, making cute slumber noises from time to time.
-I had a tremp with a Chareidi who wouldn't stop talking to me. He was curious about things. He started off on a rant about Diasporic Jews, to which I (obbbviously) need to respond. So we talked about living as a Jew on an American university campus. Slowly the conversation turned to shidduchim (matchmaking) and how it worked on my side of the fence. He was interested to learn how men and women met when there was no third party to set them up, what age was a "normal" age for marriage, and what it must be like to "pick" your own match.
-I had a tremp with an American form Teaneck who had come to hear Micah Goodman's talk on History and Philosophy. He made Aliya a few years ago. I actually had a tremp to his tremp...i.e. the guy who picked me up told me that the guy in front of him (this American guy) was going closer to where I needed to get we chased him up and down the windy Alon Road, caught him at the turn onto the highway and had a crazy Chinese fire drill.

Each one is a dream. Not all are good dreams, but very few are nightmares.

This upcoming week is the "shavua emtza" - the "middle week" indicating that our program is halfway over. Or a little more. Which I don't want to think about, I want to be present, live in the moment, and carpe diem (I learned the Greek poem where that phrase comes from the other day!) while I can. My song for you, as you may have guessed, is Simon and Garfunkel's "59th Street Bridge" because, well, I'm feelin' groovy.

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