Let's talk about how funny America is.
Why? Because I can.
Because I have an entirely different blog
discussing how funny Israel is...so I want to take a moment in this one and talk about America.
Americans get really defensive when anyone talks smack about their great country. I never really got angry when I was a resident of the country. I'm still a citizen, kids. I didn't denounce my allegiance. I just became a citizen of another country at the same time. I have dual citizenship...dual love. I love and hate different things about both countries and feel blessed that I had the choice to move around as I wished. And I could still return to America if I really wanted to. For now...I don't want to.
I found myself at a sidewalk cafe (not like the cafes in Tel Aviv but it worked out ok for us) with one of my bestest girl friends. We shared laughter and stories over bottles of cool wine on a hot evening. We hadn't seen each other in nearly a year and a half...since my last visit to the States. With us, though, it's always like no time has passed. We just pick up where we left off...with a bottle of wine and a lot of laughing.
At some point, we were joined by random men who teased us with cigarettes and southern accents. He boldly proclaimed that I was attractive to him because I was only in town for 2 weeks. Ballsy. Borderline creepy. My girl ended up telling him he lacked confidence and we watched him lose his shit right there at the table. It went from bad to worse. Suddenly I was a horrible person for leaving America and choosing to live in a different country. I ended up tuning him out and marveled at how quickly and ferociously he attempted to cover up that lack of confidence. I don't miss that about American boys.
Israeli boys are honest and upfront and don't play games. Sometimes they come on too strong. Sometimes they invade your personal space. But for some weird reason, it's not nearly as offensive as your typical "American stud." I'm generalizing here...obviously there are plenty of nice American boys and whatever...so get your panties out of a wad. I don't want hate mail about this.
I also found the grocery store gross. I've been known to wander the small stores here in Israel and complain about the lack of selection...the lack of choice...the lack of STUFF I MUST HAVE. But when I wandered around the Tajh-ma Teeter
, as we affectionately call it, I realized that my little neighborhood grocery store here in Tel Aviv is much better suited to me now. I don't need 80,000 choices of toilet paper or canned tuna. I don't need rows and rows of cereal. I don't need 400,000 different yogurts. The yogurt selection here is just fine.
And what about this?
This was at the entrance to the grocery store. It's to...you know...wipe down the grocery cart before you shop. It made me laugh. Americans seem so worried about germs. Americans seem worried about lots of things...
Like the airport security thing.
I stood in the longest, craziest security line ever and was forced to watch a looped video about putting liquids into a plastic baggie...each container less than 3 oz...the baggie must be yay big and a certain brand...must be zippered and not folded...no squeezed toothpaste tubes...on and on and on and on...
...over and over and over and over...
And there was even a lady handing these little baggies out for the people in line. I didn't even bother to pack any toiletries in my carry-on. I knew I would mess it up or something so I just put it all in my checked bag.
I chuckled to myself in a sick way though...when I reached the front of the line and no one asked me if I'd packed my own bags or where I'd been or where my bags had been. No one even really looked at me. They were so much more concerned with what was inside my little carry-on bag. As though a bomber would just waltz in with a bomb in his or her carry-on. I mentioned the situation to a co-worker today here in Israel and his reply was..."Of course. Americans are focused on the bomb -- not the bomber."
So much truth in that. It scared me a little and made me sad. I like being asked 20 questions when I'm checking in here in Israel. I like having to open my bag when I go into a restaurant here. I like that soldiers wander the streets with their guns. I like having to open my trunk every time I want to park in a parking deck. I feel safe here.
I don't so much feel safe in large crowded buildings in America where no one looks at you or checks you out...until it's too late.
And then I thought about how fucked up my life here really is. I drive on the 443
which takes me through two check points each way to and from work. Check points being little stations where soldiers sit and check each and every car that passes through...and every so often, a car will be directed to pull over for further inspection. The primary check isn't like where they stop you and check you out...you just have to drive slowly and nod and smile at them. I have an Israeli license plate so I haven't had any problems yet.
Even worse than that is the actual road. They had to build high walls along the road because people used to sit up on the rooftops and shoot at cars. Yeah. It weirds me out if I think about it too much...so I don't. The part of the road in between the two check points is actually considered part of the West Bank
. There's a sign to Ramallah
along the way. Yeah. I try not to think about that too much either. It's just such a quick way to Jerusalem. The traffic on Highway 1 is unbearable.
Such is life.
But I'm back here in Israel. Back to my daily grind. Back to the commute and the friends and the heat. The beach. The car. The roads and crazy drivers. Back to check points and security guards. Back to memories that creep up on me at random moments.
I'm happy to be back.