Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Why the hey not?

Yesterday I paused in the struggle to make everything work and make everything right. I decided not to spend a single shekel or a single minute repairing anything at all, and instead, to enjoy what I have and what works now.

Although, after a week of nonstop attention, my phone still has problems; although the Department secretary was out since I've been here, so I still don’t have the work visa or an office after two weeks of teaching; although I could keep saying “although” for several more sentences.

I’m not the type to pause in the middle of something. I once read Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury” in a single 25-hour sitting because there was no logical place to stop. But yesterday I stopped in the middle, and it wasn’t even shabbat.

I bought my babysitter flowers, since, as the phone wasn’t working, I couldn’t call her to tell her I’d stayed in Zichron Yaakov an extra day over the weekend and she showed up at my doorstep ready for work. Then I bought my daughter a helium balloon, since she’d fallen in love with them on her birthday (thanks Ima Shalom!).

Well, you can’t really walk down the street with a bouquet of flowers and a balloon without splurging on those ├ęclairs flaunting themselves through the bakery window, can you? No, you can’t. They were drizzled with bitter chocolate on the outside, filled with rich, thick sweet cream on the inside, and the pastry was airy and perfect. I bought two, one for me and one for the babysitter. And I didn’t buy the polite-sized ones, either. No, I got two big ones—so big that it felt like you really shouldn’t have eaten the whole thing when you were done—sized ones.

My friends who’ve lived in Israel a while call it the 70% rule. You can live with something functioning at 70% capacity—it drives you crazy; it’s not comfortable, but it’s functional, so you can live with it. And, actually, after embracing and appreciating that functioning 70% yesterday, the 30% that doesn’t (YET) work doesn’t bother me nearly so much. Tomorrow it might. But today I feel just fine.

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