Thursday, November 27, 2008

Scar Tissue

Living in Jerusalem can be such a trip sometimes. I spent some time at the Ministry of the Interior, as a last minute attempt to get the appropriate paperwork so I can travel as an Israeli citizen to London. The older woman, Sara, who takes care of the passports is a Moroccan woman with dyed red hair and glasses to match. If she took a risk and smiled, her face would crack into a thousand brown pieces. Her life is hard- sitting behind that desk- helping people. She must suffer from indigestion from us immigrants, us who write hieroglyphic Hebrew, speaking slowly- enunciating these foreign words on our tongues as best we can.
I look down the corridor as I wait for Mrs. Happy. "Who says Israel is not tolerant?" I think to myself as I look at the Arab women sitting next to the Orthodox Jew. There is even a nun in the mix, in her blue garb. A milkshake of religion, right here in the aged government building. Waiting for the same things: pieces of paper that validate our existence in this Holy City.
I eventually make it outside into another sunny Jerusalem day, hop on my bike bobbing and weaving through the condensed traffic that is engulfed with the sounds of construction from nearby luxury being built. I happen to notice the ultra-Orthodox women who cover their hair, not a strand to be seen and I have a think: These women will say I am dressed like a man in my Fred Perry track coat and tan corduroy's. But these head coverings in Jerusalem, it's starting to make the women look like monks that belong in the Church of the Sepulcher. I am not rest assured that these people I am seeing are even women and ponder whose interpretation got lost along the way.
Sunny days will end for a few days as I spend America's big holiday weekend in London town.


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