Thursday, July 28, 2005

small screen is better than nothing

no i am not quoting a hallmark director trying to convince a hollywood hasbeen to star in his tv movie.

having had a wonderful month away from home and work i returned to find a computer screen that had decided to take the same route, and not come back. the truth is, since i dropped said screen on the floor sometime in the summer of 2003 - resulting in a permanent black dot and psychedelic haze at the bottom of the screen - i've known that its been living on borrowed time.

thus for a week i have been (home) computer less. to be honest it was quite relaxing because settling back into things and adjusting body clocks takes up enough time and energy as it is, however there is a limit to how long a girl can remain offline.

so blessed be the gods of advancing computer technology and speedy fashions. thanks to the introduction of 17" screens there are an abundance of 14" screens knocking around my workplace with nothing to do. ever willing to help those who have been abandoned i have adopted one of those said screens and i am staring at it lovingly as we speak.


it maybe small but its doing the job ;-). anyway hopefully by the time i get round to getting too annoyed, the flat screen revolution will hit israel en mass and i'll get a 17" back again...

Friday, July 08, 2005

on being human

i dont think it is an exaggeration to say that i grew up on london underground.

for seven years of my life, from the age of 11-18 i travelled for at least 2 hours each day to and from school on the underground, or as londoners refer to its extensive subway, the tube. my particular stomping ground included the metropolitan line and the circle lines between baker street and euston square - those directly targeted by thursday's horrific attacks.

there is a common phenomenon after terror incidents whereby people talk about how they could have been there. even when clearly they were nowhere near on the day, they still talk about their connections to the site and how they or their family or their neighbors are somehow intricately linked to the place and thats why its all the more shocking.

i hate this. i find the need to contextualize something in one's own world in order to provoke meaning selfish and egotistical. my disdain for this self-centered response is probably behind my cultivated subdued and often muted response to all forms of terror incidents in israel.

i found out about the attacks in london as i was boarding a domestic U.S. flight and learned more about the disaster on various satellite tv channels during the flight. as i heard familiar place names mispronouced by several international reporters and then, having arrived in LA at A's family, tried to explain that 'no my family was nowhere near but...' i realized that in addition to being selfish and egotistical the need to identify was an unavoidable and genuinely human reaction.

for even though i havent lived in london for over ten years and not used london underground on a regular basis for nearly 15 years; even though my parents live and work in the suburbs and the school that i went to in the center of London moved two years ago to right near my parents house; even though london being the huge populous place that it is i am pretty certain i wont know anyone directly involved; my history in the city has lef t me feeling inexplicably affected by these atrocious acts -- somehow i feel a diluted yet distinct version of the 'it could have been me - you violated my world' sensation.


as a teenager the tube was a magical entity between parents at home and teachers at school. it was a land where i forged friendships, did homework, argued the cruleties of netball/swim on a winter wednesday, lost many a PE kit, travel card, calculator (much to my mothers wrath and dismay), discussed boys and generally grew up.

i have such clear memories of the trains and the stations. i remember when they were cleaned up so that the colour of the bars matched the line -- yellow for circle, claret for metropolitan, a kind of pink for hammersmith and city cos no-one really knew which line they were.

i remember how our relationship with the journey evolved as we grew up.
-- as earnest 1st years we'd arrive at baker street, jump off the train and run (see bulldoze all other life forms) anxiously from the metropolitan line platform to quickly catch that circle line via Liverpool Street train screaming 'hold the doors' as we charged lest we lose a second in our mission to get to the station in the quickest time possible.
-- as nonchalant third years if we felt like it we might stay on to Kings Cross and change to the northern line through to camden town so we could meet different friends.
-- as mature fifth years with major exams looming we'd be secretly relieved that there was a "man on the tracks" at edgware road which would mean major delays, possibly leading us to miss maths first period.

even as the news announcers talked about the terror attack at aldgate, i couldnt help by think of the glamour and luxury of 'an algate' - a direct train which allowed me the luxury of finding a seat at northwick park, my home station with no need to move until the final destination.

for want of better words and at risk of losing all street cred by quoting a terribly sappy madonna song, these stations used to be my playground, they used to be my childhood home.


thursday's events were abhorrent and no less understandable than any that have come before and will (g-d forbid, although my trust is cynical) happen again.
my thoughts are with those who mourn loved ones who were killed, to those still looking for missing relatives and to those injured in the attacks who, as my experience in israel has led me to believe, may carry the heaviest burden of all.
i should be able to say and feel these emotions equally, whereever such attacks take place. if this is not always the case -- then forgive me, i guess i've discovered that i'm human.

Monday, July 04, 2005

happiness and understanding real comedy

objectively my life is crazy and surreal.
i'm following up all my news from my last post with a month's vacation in the States, Canada and UK.... not with A. i told you - crazy.
and if that were not crazy enough on a larger than life kind of scale, the guilt that is accompanying me on this trip is even crazier.

my original aim for this trip -- planned before i met A -- was comedy: to watch, to write, to do a workshop or two and to perform. and yet this doesnt seem to be happening quite like i planned

certain parameters have changed

1) physically: my time in ny is shorter as in addition to visiting some friends and catching a family wedding i'm also meeting A's family which includes a 4 day trip to LA (much to moan about, not!)
2) mentally: i must acknoweldege the need to relax post engagement and before getting back to a new job and a ton of responsiblity
3) emotionally: i just dont feel so funny or at the least in the mood for writing that i thought that i would

#s 1 and 2 are understandable but #3 was the most worrying -- and has brought about much guilt ... i should be writing my blog, i should be writing reams, i should be doing everything possible, i shouldnt be spending too much money etc etc etc.

the thought that finding the love of my life had possibly killed my comic creativity was mind-crippling and my lack of writing inspiration shocking especially as my whole writing 'thang' was kickstarted by the non-stop jotting down of adventures that enveloped me when i traveled three years ago.

fear not, for wisdom of friends given to be along the way (and the grace of g-d which allows me to eventually hear them) has persuaded me that this is not in fact the case. in particular one conversation caught with a dear confidante during her lunchbreak somewhere in midtown NY last week shed much light on the issue. as she put it -- you cant be that funny when you're happy. think about it, comedians may bring much laughter to the world but its mostly as they kvetch and moan about their life anxsts. we laugh as their trials resonate with us and we gain some relief from ours.

so what does that mean for me? does it mean a life of warmth and happiness with A but no more comedy, or vice versa (which i dont even want to type out in case of tempting fate)???

well luckily it means neither.

what it does mean, is that while at this point in my life i am incredibly happy and grateful for the gifts that i am receive daily, one day (probably as work and wedding plans get going again) there will be once again:

  • increasing number of days where i could easily strangle pollyanna rather than play her MB all time favorite glad game.
  • times that will get me swearing and cursing (depending on whether there are brits or americans in the room -- with israelis i'll use both).
  • life events that will extend even further comically than my single routine to make 'em laugh
basically, however good things are now, their essence may remain while everyday comedy inspiring reality will also be able to creep back in.

phew... i dont need to deconstruct my genuinely happy state just for the sake of my craft, relief indeed/

my job now is to simply appreciate this reprieve from half-glass-empty life and trust that when i need it for material it will be there again.

doesnt get much crazier!