On Friday morning, I woke up, walked my dear dog George, ate breakfast, and headed to the beach-a mere 17 minute drive. It was so hot that my car had just started to be comfortable only as I approached the parking attendant, where I was milked 20 shekel (about $7) for parking.
At the beach kiosk, I stocked up on Zero, cold water and an ice coffee, then headed 50 meters to the seashore where a Hebrew speaking Sudanese illegal milked me for another 20 shekel for an umbrella and a chair. I set up shop and started reading my book, Steinbeck`s Grapes of Wrath.
On the right next to me was a large Palestinian family from Bethlehem! On my left was a British granny and her family on holiday. The family included the grandmother, a grandchild and his Israeli wife and three Israeli grandchildren. Behind me there was a football game. The players were bellowing to one another in English, Hebrew, some African language, Russian and Arabic.
The sea was calm but there were many people in the water and the lifeguards had their hands full with kids getting lost, people swimming beyond limits and other sundry affairs. The lifeguard used 3 languages, French, Hebrew and Arabic. They were very polite, addressing people with appropriate honorifics.
Granddad with blue hat, move right; Ms Yellow Bathing Suit, hold onto your child with two hands; Uncle, move south`
And the ice cream salesman: Lemon icy prevents pregnancy. Ilana Ilana, buy a cold ice-banana; I am leaving town-buy now or never.
I never lose an opportunity to practice my Arabic, so I wished the people next to me a happy holiday. They offered me some nuts. They also offered the British granny and her family some nuts. The British granny turned out to be Iraqi born, and soon a lively conversation was going on in three languages.
And I felt a surge of joy.
This is what life can look like without leaders. The beach, the water, the nuts, the trilingual dialogue, the football game, the polite lifeguards, the peace of mind that yes, things can be very good.
And if the context is appropriate, there can be more than just cold peace. A rare moment of pure optimism.