Being Of sound mind, I waive Paradise, put up with the barking lot of ’em

I’ll get to the title in a second but first:
I’m back. Back in Middle-East Hell. A small country full of the Annoying, the Boldly Malevolent,  etc. All one can say in defense is that it’s a hell of a lot better than our League’s  competition.
Quickly, my platonic high-altitude Love to Hava, my seat-mate in 35B on the flight home. The dearest physics student I could ever dream with whom to share ten hours of A-330 engine noise, over which we shared sciency jokes for probably half the flight. She ‘donated‘ me her dinner, (a good way to my heart), and only thru super-human effort did I resist putting my arm around her when she finally fell asleep on her food-tray.
Now to the Waiver I was asked to sign. Like with the MacDonald’s boiling coffee, Passport Control surprised me at Ben Gurion Airport with a new request: Returning Israelis with dual citizenship are now required to attest that they returned to this Vale-O-Tears voluntarily and not under duress or false assurances. Hence:
I, being of sound(?) mind, do hereby affirm that I am returning from the Land of Plenty, of spacious parking lots, of gracious counter-persons, of thoughtfulness and love… to this circle of screaming Hell known as the State of Israel. I shall have no claims against any agents of the government for pain or suffering resulting from my misguided move. Signed/ Yonatan Solberg, Qadima, Israel.
I loved how they appended the little poem:
I waive Paradise, and put/
Up with the Barking Lot
at the end. At least they know the history of the Popular Song

Anyway, all the landlord-kraft experts agree that forming friendships with one’s tenants is an absolute no-no. Let me say in that matter that I shall go to my grave insisting that I now have the world’s sweetest tenants taking care of and enjoying my house, and this on the basis of three weeks of careful observation and interaction. Yes, my ‘friends’. Sue me.
Once again on this trip to my corner of the untied Snakes, I had the distinct impression, around the clock, that someone was making a movie about me, working title: ‘Let’s Make Johnny Happy II.
My one day of rest in-between 21 10-hour minimum days of frantic repair-progress was an idyllic waltzing in the woods and greenhouses with Beth Seedsower, bless her uniquely precious heart. I was treated to an exhaustive personal tour of the greenhouse operation, a to-die-for picnic in the woods, an hours-long cruise among the 1700’s houses and barns in the area which she knows like the back of her hand and camera, a jaunt which turned into a detective story when we discovered ostensibly ‘period’ clay tile roofs which just ‘have’ to leak in my opinion, and to top it all off, the world’s most delicious chili and corn-bread.
Yes, that, plus 3 weeks of phenomenal progress in my own 1700’s log house’s basement-from hell, was the Paradise I left a few days ago.
    I arrived to discover my car needed, among other expressions of love, air in her tyres. I took her to the closest gas station where, to my innocent horror, a local native was blithely parked blocking both air hose stations. This kind of obscene disregard for one’s neighbor is both standard here and un-heard-of in the States. Deciding to inform him of the fact, I lost my concentration and put my cell-phone on the roof of the car. Needless to say, he responded to my careful explanation with curses. I then drove over the nine ugly speed bumps back to my house, where I discovered I had no phone. 36 calls later, whilst I walked the entire trip searching through the road trash for my ring-tone, I gave up hope of finding it.
Little did I know that it had survived on the roof until just a few blocks from my house, where, on the Sabbath, a religiously-observant good Samaritan found it, but according to the Law of Moses, couldn’t answer it. He placed it under pillows and an encyclopedia for 25 hours, to silence to ringing, and called at the very last minute, before my ‘freeze’ on out-going calls was set to become permanent. I owe him gratitude, I suppose, possibly even a small reward. Still, he could have found someone ‘normal’, a ‘goy for shabbas’ to whom to give the offending technology? Oh well.
And that is the world I returned to; a mix of good and evil, but with the latter so prominently predominating that I needed to legally sign off on my expectation of Life, Liberty, and any naive Pursuit of Happiness already at the Airport.
Ach, du weiss nicht wie America gut dir ist. (You-uns have no idea what a great country the United States manages to be, +/- local aberations.
That’s the report. Thanks for your patience. Js


33 thoughts on “Being Of sound mind, I waive Paradise, put up with the barking lot of ’em

  1. SoapAndShampoo

    That kind of obscene disregard for one’s neighbor is unheard of in the States because you never know who’s packing heat. Especially in those states that have legalized concealed carry. 😛


    I admire how you seem to never fall apart and find a teeny speck of brightness in all the mess. Also that you manage to write with clever personality and depth, I am impressed.

  3. MelFamy

    Heah in the South, Sir, you would not even have been allowed to air up your own tires without someone offering to help.Welcome back, your dreams are your ticket out…

  4. ItsWhatEyeKnow

    I’m glad you had a producitve trip and like your tenants.  Beth sounds like a fun gracious hostess but I would have guessed as much without the benefit of your testament.  It is always nice having people remind us to be grateful for what we have, but often overlook.  It forces us to take inventory of the good.  Thanks for sharing your stories with us!

  5. seedsower

    I am still smiling,glad you got your phone back. That chili was good,huh? I am ready to make some more.Me thinks you would enjoy the greenhouse more in May when it is full of bedding plants,perennials,herbs and seeds.Thanks for taking a day off to come see me,I just really enjoyed it.

  6. Roadkill_Spatula

    I saw a vehicle that reminded me of your Fiesta; you can see it in my Bogotá to Medellín post. I’m having a similar experience to yours, except that I’m visiting what used to be my home and will be leaving soon to go back to the Land of Plenty. It has been delightful to see the progress here, including one of the world’s best metros and cool sidewalks for the blind which I forgot to add to my Miscellany post. Likewise, it is disheartening to realize that other things are still unpleasant and probably always will be.

  7. jsolberg

    @POETIC_ISIS – Actually, after only three days I’m already used to it. it’s kinda like a diver with the ‘bends’. You need to surface with caution. Currently Ignoring: Israelis who look like Nitrogen bubbles with an attitude, ha

  8. jsolberg

    @ItsWhatEyeKnow – Yes, it’s always a treat to meet someone just as sweet as I’d imagined. This country really inspires one to muse on the subject of happiness, from whence it cometh? food is always a good bet, but what if there’s absolutely nowhere to park. I’m kinda on the fence.

  9. jsolberg

    @Roadkill_Spatula – Yes, of course I thought about your simultaneous trip between two worlds. Build character; the courage to change what can be, the wisdom to shut up at times, ha. I’ll be a bit more present now that I have ten minutes free time per day, Tim. Thanks for documenting your discoveries.


    In that other world it might even work when he bends to common courtesy or thoughtfulness, and even if not, apologizes for thoughtlessness. Yes, I’m guilty. I still dream. Thanks.for. the word “bends “!@jsolberg – 

  11. seedsower

    Oh I am so slow…I just now got this title,I have Joni Mitchell’s album Ladies of the Canyon with that song on it. I love that song,it took me a bit to get use to her style as I was listening to Motown, I was young but I began buying albums by the time I was 10, I wish I had shown you my collection.

  12. blip32962

    I beg to differ.  You’d be amazed how many (American) drivers park their vehicles such that I can’t get my security vehicle out of its parking place when needed.  Makes me CRAZY.

  13. miss_order

    Where are you? I thought I was just missing your posts but I am making the rounds and no blog from you since the 22nd of November? Are you okay? I am glad you had a good trip to the states and that you found your phone… Is all well? Or are you maddeningly busy?


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