Sunday, December 24, 2006

Small Country

So, now I live near my mother and father. This is a wonderful thing. It's been great to talk to them daily, sometimes twice, to be reprimanded if I don't call every day or so (in a friendly way), to have my mother want to chat with me on chemo Sundays (my specialty), because, as she says, she's catching up on 13 years that we were apart. My father likes seeing the boys and talking to the big boys especially about all sorts of things of interest - from baseball to what their learning, if they admit to that. Both parents absolutely kvell when they hear any one of us speak hebrew. If Ira even opens his mouth to say something, and it can be a very simple something, they beam - as does sister Sarah and sisterinlaw Barbara. Ira finds this rather annoying of course - it's not as if he couldn't speak at all but still the pride is rather humorous to say the least.

The day we arrived, we walked up the stairs to our apartment, somewhat shellshocked and met the neighbors. My mother made the following pronouncement and I must add here that although her hebrew is not bad at all, her accent is appalling, "Heym olim chadashim, heym lo mi'dab'rim milah achat b'eev'reet" - "they're new immigrants, they don't speak one word of hebrew." This is/was patently absurd but we swallowed our guff and smiled gamely. Meanwhile, two of the neighbors tend to speak to us in Eng but their Eng is excellent and the rest, we manage just fine in Hebrew. Sigh.

Meanwhile, the other day, my phone rings. It's Friday afternoon, the day one's phone rings the most, at a time that one wishes it wouldn't, sometime in the hour or so before Shabbat. I answer.
"Is this Beth?" a voice asks, in badly accented English.
"Yes, who's this?" I answer in hebrew.
"This is _____(don't remember name), you mother gave me your number."
"My mother?" I say incredulously, knowing I have a mother but amazed at how things work here.
"Yes, your mother, Dorothy Steinberg?" answers functionary.

Suffice to say, it was an agent from the Jerusalem Post, calling to offer me a good deal for daily delivery of the paper - he didn't seem to mind that I already receive Ha'aretz/Herald Tribune daily, and generally, those who read Ha'aretz don't read the Post, altho the Post does have its virtues - better US sports reports, weekend reprints from the Times, overall a bit more to read, poorly written but Ha'aretz is poorly translated, and the most right wing views in town. The phoner goes on to inform me that he has a special deal and that both my mother and I will receive a special gift if I subscribe. He won't tell me what the gift is - darn. I tell him that I'm mildly tempted because I find Ha'aretz a bore for all sorts of reasons even tho I'm addicted to the Times crossword in HTribune and Gabe would love the Post sports and wouldn't it be nice to read the week in review in paper, as opposed to online form, once a week, but I decline. Functionary is distraught - I buy the Post once a week on Friday, don't I know that it wouldn't cost me that much more for weekly deliv and the for the first 4 mos it's only....

Truth is, we need to get a hebrew paper in daily and that's a real quandry. Which one?
I could get the Post anyway, though, because after all, Mom recommended it and she gave them my number. Small country.

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