A Pool Is Not A Library

Today, I heard 6 brilliant words come out of 1 not-so-brilliant woman’s mouth:

“A pool is not a library.”

Wow. Such brilliance. So astute. Like an answer to a really sneaky SAT analogy question.

All I can say is that if your ability to respond to a noise complaint boils down to an obvious premise that actually has no bearing on a resolution to the matter at hand, then shove that cigarette down your hoarse throat and deal with the problem instead of perpetuating it. I say you. But not you. Her. That one brilliant woman with pearls of not-such-brilliance sullied so by ignorance, temerity, and deeply ingrained self-interest. She from whom I can see the sparks of a congenial and benevolent relationship.
Not.

BACKGROUND: We live on a kibbutz. A kibbutz is a friendly place to live. While not communal in practice (as most kibbutzim [plural of kibbutz] have become), the kibbutz is basically a private community with a general sense of peace of quiet – with lots of sidewalks, trees, grassy fields, kids playing in the streets, a corner store, lots of dogs, and unlimited water provisions. Oh yeah, and a pool. The kibbutz pool. That enshrined kibbutz entity that puts any kibbutz one league ahead of anywhere else you’d consider taking up residence. Cool. Refreshing. Relaxing.

And a giant pain in my butt. You see, the pool in our kibbutz is currently managed by a duo of lowlifes – characterized by cheap marketing tactics, a passion for obnoxious (and really bad) Middle Eastern music (with heavy bass), and an overall disregard for any human beings other than the ones that get to feed off the pathetic few pennies that grace their barely surviving credit-free bank accounts. I.e. Them, and them alone. They like to play music at the pool, which is all good and well, because, as one of them so kindly pointed out to me, a pool is not a nursing home. Really? Because I thought that water was actually an emergency water supply for the rapidly aging kibbutz members. Another brilliant n0n-analogy. These are the kind answers you receive if your house/apartments faces the pool 100 meters away and the bass is so heavy that it’s drilling a hole through your cranium while serving as an unreliable artificial pacemaker. Or the whiny voices of untalented Middle Eastern singers are shattering the glass of the windows you’ve sealed so tightly that you may suffocate at any moment.

So you decide to take it to the next level. Talk with the kibbutz manager. (I will spare you of the other astounding conversations I’ve shared with kibbutz management et al.)  It seems like a sound idea. Air your concerns with someone in a superior position. She’s about to start a meeting. If “about to” means “we’re sitting around the table laughing waiting for half the participants to arrive and I’m twiddling a cigarette in my fingers because if I don’t smoke, I might just die right here.” Ironic. She grants me a moment of her time when I make it clear that I will not leave until I get it. Thanks. I explain as calmly as I can – without shedding a single emotionally drenched syllable – that this cannot go on. That as a resident-renter, I was asked to keep music down in my home to avoid disturbing the neighbors, and that as such something has gone terribly awry if I’m now complaining about the exact thing the kibbutz was so adamant to ensure I would avoid. I tell her that I work from home and that the noise is a terrible nuisance that prevents me from working in peace.

And that’s when it happens. That’s when she says it. Those 6 brilliant words that will forever live on in infamy as the phrase that proved to me once and for all that she’s probably no better (guilty until proven innocent) than the two good-for-nothings at the pool.

“A pool is not a library.”

Well, duh. Last I checked, books are not waterproof. Oh, if your point is that I should put up with this crap because this  pool that is in my backyard is not a library and can therefore play as much music as it wants whenever it wants (except for between the hours of 2 and 4), then maybe I’ll bring some books and shelves. And a librarian. (I can think of one.) Then, the pool WILL be a library. How cool is that?? And then your logic is broken. Oh, is that not what you meant? Reluctantly, I stoop to her level with an argument for which I can only thank Introduction to Deductive Logic. An analogy so correct that it left her speechless. If but for a moment. An argument so powerful that it could not be refuted. I raised my head up high, looked her in the eye, and stated:

“A house is a house.”

For now, I will sit in patience, if also in agony, waiting to see if she keeps her word that she’ll “take care of it tomorrow”.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking of finding out which house is her’s and buying a blow up pool…

 

 

p.s. I know this post sounds embittered, and while that does not represent the whole of me, at the moment, I am.

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Coffee Hack of the Century

Coffee Shops.

I like to think of them as a semi-private office with really low rent.

But sometimes, my “landlords” get in a little over their heads. You see, I’m a new convert to the wonderful Americano. Simple, light, and just the right amount of jolt. Now, if you’re unfamiliar with this wonderful coffee shop specialty, let me explain. The Americano consists of a double shot of espresso with water instead of milk, and optional milk and sugar (which I indulge in).

Based on my calculation, the Americano should cost no more than an Espresso – maybe a bit more for the “effort”, but definitely not the price of a cappuccino, which has the addition of being an entire cup of heated milk. However, lately, I’ve been ordering Americanos that cost just as much as their frothy counterparts. What’s more, if I ask for it cold, well that’s just a whole new pricing model that’s called “the customer will never realize the difference”.

Let me explain by example. The standard cappuccino costs 12 shekels, and an Americano about 10. Ask for a cold Americano and you should get charged no more than 11. However, my most recent coffee shop (which charges 12 shekels for the HOT variety – already thievery) thinks that asking for something COLD justifies a 16 shekel price tag! As if!

16 shekels for a shot of espresso and a glass of water!

And therein lies the hack. Today, I requested:

  1. 1 cup of cold water – free!
  2. 1 double shot of espresso – 10 shekels
  3. a bit of cold milk on the side – free

Add in the free sugar packets on the table, stir, and there you have it…my very own COLD Americano for no more than 10 shekels  (+ tip).

Bite me, Cafe Cafe.

Double Espresso
Milk
Cup of Water


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The Return of the Great Tit

Open-mouthed fledglings

Last I reported, our Great Tit squatters were building a home for their future chicks. Over the last two months, we followed their progress, watching the faithful parents come and go, at first to keep watch over the incubating eggs, and later with beaks full of scrumptious grub for the little hatchlings. Every now and then, we’d venture out onto the balcony armed with squinting eyes and a camera, and stealthily tiptoe over to the vase and snap a few shots. What we found was extraordinary! The vase was full of little hatchlings! Our approach and the flash of the camera triggered an automatic reaction: they would open their little beaks expecting them to be filled with worms and other delicacies. We disappointed on that end, but we did come out with a few snapshots of the little fledglings. Over time, we started hearing other “voices.” It soon became apparent that the little ones were chirping with vigor, harping for more food…more food…more food. Mama and Papa Tit could barely keep up with the pace, their rate of return was so high. It was clear that the fledglings were growing stronger and preparing for flight.

Some time past, and before we could imagine, the nest was empty. At the beginning of May, we took a peak in the vase and were astonished to find a single Great Tit. No eggs. No Fledglings. Just one Great Tit. Our immediate assumption was that this was the last hatchling and he or she was taking his time to leave the nest.

Today I’m not so sure that was case.

Over the last week, we’ve noticed Papa Tit making and his rounds on the porch, coming and going, chirping relentlessly. We thought that he just may be struggling with his newfound status as an empty-nester. But something just didn’t seem right. So, yesterday, we ventured out yet again with camera in tow to snap a shot into the depths of the vase.

And lo and behold! We were astonished to discover no less than 6 fresh Tit eggs! All the pieces came together, especially when we looked more carefully and noticed Papa Tit’s beak full of grub as he dove into the vase to feed his beloved and dedicated wife as she nurtures and protects her unborn fledglings until the next hatching.

Mama Tit incubating the bebes and smiling for the camera (actually, she was not thrilled by my intrusion in the least)

Half a Dozen Eggs

And the cycle begins again.
More updates to follow…

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A Tale of a Great Tit

This is a tale of a Great Tit.

In fact, not one Great Tit, but two Great Tits.

Indeed, this is a tale of two Great Tits. Continue reading

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Dawning of a New Day at Sunset

Our lives follow a natural ebb and flow that takes each and every one of us on an exciting and unpredictable journey. Each moment brings with it something new, despite the manifest shadow of monotony that life sometimes casts. With each experience come thoughts and emotions that reflect a spectrum of shades and colors. The more time we spend conscious on this planet, the more we are privileged to witness, to experience, and to create.

Unfortunately, unpredictability is the key word here. We are all on borrowed time, and this past month has been filled to the brim with death too close to home. Death happens everyday. I know. But when it happens to close for comfort, well, I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit. Not when it’s close and not when it’s far. But when it’s close, you are privy to the pain of those left behind, and that makes the loss feel that much greater. Loss of a loved one. The loved one’s loss of time. Leaves us asking the universal existential question: Why?

I am in awe that no matter how many tears we shed, the well will never run dry for good. But I also marvel at the fact that tears know when to cease their flow. At a certain point, our hearts, minds, and tear ducts unfetter the shackles of mourning and let us open our eyes to a new day, one that is filled with gratitude for the past and the people who were a part of it, and hope for and anticipation of future adventures with new souls.

My challenge to you is to try to capture and hold onto those feelings of excitement and gratitude, hope and anticipation that are engendered by moments that remind us of the preciousness of every breath we take.

Do a little math

Just for fun, calculate how long you’ve been with your feet planted on this beautiful planet

I have been alive a quarter of a century. A whole quarter of a century. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a speck in time. But in the microcosmic history of  the universe that is my life, that’s an eternity.

25 years

305 months –>  Years x 12 = Months

1,326 weeks –>  Years x 52 = Weeks

9287 days –>  Years x 365 + 1 day for every leap year (every 4 years)

222,888 hours –>  Days x 24

13,373,280 minutes –> Hours x 60

802,396,800 Seconds –> Minutes x 60

…and counting.

How long have you been alive?


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