Saturday, October 14, 2006



Sometimes things - and people - get so crazy here that you wonder why you stay - and then - some other things happen and you know exactly why you stay. I lived in my co-op in Manhattan for twenty-six years and in all that time I think I was in five other flats in the building. The building I lived in wasn't very large - by Manhattan standards - twelve floors and ninety-six flats. I lived on the eleventh floor and so had to use the lift all the time - except when we had one of our famous blackouts and had to walk up and down. Anyway - you got into the lift - said "hello" if there was anyone else in the lift - and then faced front and earnestly studied the indicator so that you wouldn't have to make eye contact. You know the way it is in large cities. The only people I saw with great regularity were the doormen and the porters. Here - except for a very very few buildings - we don't have doormen and porters.

Here, I live on the ground floor - in a four storey building - four entrances - thirty-two flats - with a lift to be sure - which I don't, of course, use. But "ground floor" are the operative words. My doorbell is the first one your finger goes to. Amisragas comes to read the gas meters? They ring my bell to gain entrance. Hevrat HaHashmal comes to read the electric meters? They ring my bell. And nevermind that you are in the shower and can't get to the door - or are simply "otherwise engaged" and don't want to answer the doorbell. They simply ring and ring - and if you have no strength of character and can't ignore the bell - you leap out of the shower - and dripping all through the house
- you run to answer the door - because it may be the Millionaire come to give you a very large check (!) - and when you finally get to the door you find that they have rung someone else's bell and are already in and checking the meters. And are most annoyed that you didn't come running when they first rang.

Some years ago I put a sign on my doorbell asking people not to ring my bell if it wasn't I they wanted. Do you know the Yiddish expression "Vit gorhisht helfen?" (It doesn't help.) It didn't help - not in the slightest. They always wanted me. "What do you mean I don't want you?" Of course I want you. I want you to open the door". See what I mean about living here?

Yesterday - after trying for hours to get out of the house - my friend, Myra, came to get me as it was Friday and we were going out to breakfast (yes, I know that Marallyn and I usually go out to breakfast together but sometimes Myra joins us and as Marallyn is in the midst of an allergy attack and Rosaline is in the States visiting her son and daugter-in-law and "eineklach" (grandchildren)) - it was just Myra and me. So anyway - after dealing with the man who takes care of our building, speaking on the phone several times, meeting the new tenant for the parking lot - we finally left. We went to the Moshava - to "Caffit", one of my favorite cafes - and dying of hunger by that time as it was already 11:30 - we sat down to eat. Gaby - one of the owners - saw me and came running over to greet me and wish me a "Shana Tova". And the next thing we knew - there was a plate of all kinds of goodies on the table. That was in addition to the breakfast we had ordered. Just a plate of goodies to say "hello - we are so glad to see you". And it's by far not the first time it's happened - and it's so personal and so welcomng - and so warm - and it's one of the many reasons why I love it here. Just a little thing - but such a big thing.

Stay Safe.


and don't think i didn't eat my heart out that i was stuck home while you girls were out galavanting!!! another great post...yahoooooooo...stay safe
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