Shutdown number three starts on Sunday. Luckily nothing in Israel is as it seems, so little enforcement is expected. The 1000 meter parameter in which one is allowed to wander is not enforced; the police blockades leave one lane open yet the cops are busy texting in their patrol cars.
Stores are closed, except those that are open. True, it is hard to procure service of any kind, but that has always been the case. Just last week, a technician showed up two weeks after I bought a new washing machine to install it, since I cannot even unscrew a light bulb.
On December 29th, I will get my first corona shot at the Shuali Infirmary, which is situated on land which used to belong to my family, procured from the Turks in early 1917. Right near that clinic, there is a street named after our family. Uncle Jack (my grandfather’s brother) and Auntie Ida (my grandfather’s sister) are heroes of mine. Uncle Jack once went to the province of Syria to buy tobacco seeds in the 1920’s. Auntie Ida spent a lot of time caring for Jewish and Arab orphans in Jerusalem before she married and became a farmer’s wife and mother. Oh yes, and she wrote for the Palestine Post.
Rarely have I been as excited as I am to get vaccinated. All my life, but especially since my wife died, I have suffered from hypochondria, so I always take all my shots right on day one. Nevertheless, it is with great trepidation that I roll up my sleeve and I always look away. This time, I plan to look at the needle to watch the process, and perhaps yell out, hallelujah bother.
Three weeks after my first vaccination comes the second, and then I am out of the woods. But I’m not going back to the status quo ante. For one, I have stopped watching the news. I stopped cold turkey one month ago; I had no withdrawal symptoms, just relief. I stopped not because of the news, but because of the quality of journalism. I have also decided not to vote again in any election and since I have never voted for a candidate who has been it elected, it’ll be no big loss.
Have I retired from life and am I slip-sliding away? Hardly. I have a very active professional practice, my two blogs have huge readership, I read all the time, and I hereby declare that I addicted to several Netflix series, including Better Call Saul, Casa de Papel and historical documentaries.
The various shut downs have taught me to enjoy “emptiness” and quiet, to revel in doing nothing from time to time, to rejoice at the lack of pressure in my life, and to cultivate friendships with people all over the world based on preference and not necessarily geographical propinquity. This is a huge gift.
I miss my grandchildren something awful, but soon this longing will be over; when I get my 2nd shot and restrictions are eased , I will wing it to Palo Alto as well as drive over to my daughter (who lives close by) to sit in her living room, not on the porch as if in in a leper colony.
For me, this plague has brought pain and perspective, in equal measure. The end is near.
Love this letter, Allon. The gift of the pandemic is such a good point to ponder.
I probably have a similar track record to you when it comes to voting. I have never missed an election in which I was eligible to vote & I think I can count on 2 hands the number of winning candidates I’ve voted for. Nevertheless, I will never not vote. In a democracy it’s not a right, it’s a responsibility – one of very few obligations that we have in such a system.
I too avoid most broadcast “news”, since it no longer is. As Randi Rhodes used to say on Air America, “The news has been canceled.” The one exception is NPR, which at least most of the time comes close to real journalism. At this point, if it can’t be summarized in a 15-30 second sound bite or video clip; if it requires any sort of real, complex explanation; or if it requires actual investigation or journalism, the other broadcast outlets simply ignore it.
& re: shots: I find that I feel the shot far less if I look away. Even with the most skilled administrator, watching it go in seems to make it hurt more! I am looking forward to getting this vaccination, but since I’ve been effectively “socially isolated” for many years before the current situation, I consider myself to be in a low-risk category. As long as it’s in limited supply I’d rather see those at higher risk receive it first.
Well written. I got to this only today. After reading a tweet on japan. No foreigners to enter till Jan 31. How does that work for us in India, Israel and Turkey?
Times like no other.
Hallelujah! ‘Praise Jah!’ AMEN, Brother. . . I love your recent writing, Allon, even more than how and what you wrote before. It touches me. You seem to be ‘letting me/us in’. Keep it coming, please.