That’s the stereotype of the stereotype that the world has of Israel. I don’t know if that’s really what people think but those in the world of Jewish education always stress the need to show American Jewish teens that there’s more than just camels. (So why do we take them on camel rides on every tour?) If anyone needs to disprove this notion, let them talk to me after this past week. What did this author spend his last few days doing? Shepherding his flock of sheep? Shaking sand out of my colorful Bedouin pants? If you said “watching Season 3 of 24” on my laptop, give yourself a pat on the camel hump.
I don’t have the stats on hand (I’m writing this without internet access, so no fun graphics this time) but I’m guessing that Israelis are one of the most downloadingest people in the world. While the record companies in America are supposedly coming after users of Napster and the like, I don’t think they’re messing with anyone over here. So I’m always hearing talk of people using E-mule (just another Kazaa, Limewire, etc I presume) and downloading the latest episode of “Lost” or “24”. That doesn’t necessarily mean people download more here than in the States but in the U.S., you don’t have to wait as long to see it all (not sure how long the delay is for these shows to air here but it’s not 6 months or NEVER like it used to be. Most popular shows are on here as evidenced by “Seinfeld” being on every time I find myself in front of a TV which is rarely, although why you’re just as likely to find something ridiculous like “Welcome Back, Kotter” in Israel in the year 2006 escapes me.)
Thanks to Ziv who was so kind to download Seasons 3 and 4 of “24” for me, I figured I should get around to filling my void this week. As anyone who’s talked to me about it knows, the first season, as watched live, was the best show of TV I’ve ever seen. However, anything which relies so heavily on suspense and surprise has a tough time staying innovative and fresh forever. By the beginning of Season 3, I thought, “Ok, SERIOUSLY…how many times can this happen? Let’s see how many times Jack almost dies this year. Oh, look-the cleaning lady is a traitor. How about that?” I skipped Seasons 3 and 4 before jumping back in for 5 which ended several months ago. Because I’m a loyal enough fan, I figured I’d get around to watching the missing seasons eventually and this week seemed a good enough time (especially because I spent all of today sick in bed). Let’s talk about that for a minute…
Long story short, I woke up yesterday very hot and a few minutes later very cold. In between, I was washing my hands one minute, then sitting in the bathtub with my feet hanging out the next. Unless I was in fact abducted by martians (or city-dwelling camels), I guess I fainted for the first time in my life. (Don’t worry, Mom and Dad, that’s as bad as the story gets. Somehow I also didn’t bump my head.) About an hour later, I was at the doctor, an English-speaking female who told me that she spent the last 3 years living in Houston. She told me that I had a virus and needed to take it easy for a few days and did I have someone who could take care of me? I called my often-mentioned friend Michal who is taking a break from work these days while she studies for some financial certification tests. When she said she was busy (I didn’t tell her I was so sick), the doctor said “give me the phone”. When I said “no, that’s ok”, she said “GIVE ME THE PHONE.” I handed over the phone and without my noticing any type of physical transformation, this doctor somehow turned into a Polish mother in front of my eyes. “Hu mamash mamash mamash mamash mamash choleh (I might be forgetting a “mamash” or two)”, translated to “he is very very very very very sick and good luck getting out of the Jewish guilt which I’ve just thrown on your head.” Michal said “Why didn’t you tell me you fainted???” and an hour later, I was sleeping at her apartment for 6 hours, eating toast, and watching “Memento”. Thank you, Dr. Jewish Mother. Medical care and Jewish maternal love. “Take two of these and call me in the morning…or I’m gonna be up all night worrying about you and you wouldn’t want that, would you?”
As for today, I just finished my tenth episode of “24” since this morning, bringing the season to a conclusion. If you’ve never done this before, you’re probably shocked right now. If you have, you’re nodding your head in understanding. To the latter of you who have put your lives on hold to watch a season of this on DVD, can anyone really say this is enjoyable? At some point, your goal turns from “to derive enjoyment from an incredible show” to “to finish this thing already so I can break this addiction and have my life back.” Trust me, it IS addictive. I call it “going through the ‘24’ motions”, just watching to be done already. And although I don’t feel like writing it all out here, anyone who claims that watching one after another is better than watching it live weekly is just wrong. I will argue with them if they’d like.
A few other notes:
- The summer seems to have finally ended here. It rained camels and dogs. I look forward to breaking out my wardrobe of winter clothes from NY.
- After hearing about the “tough” customer service policies here, I dragged Michal to Ace Hardware with me to help return a non-working lamp. Even though more than 14 days had passed (the time during which they accept returns), they gave me a replacement, no questions asked, not even bothering to look at the receipt. Go figure.
- I was going to write a whole entry on last Monday but forgot or didn’t get around to it. I didn’t go into the office that day, spending the afternoon with my friend Assaf drinking coffee on his mirpeset (porch), eating at the shuk, and playing shesh-besh (Backgammon, the unofficial sport of Israel) for hours. (How many “unofficial” things of Israel are there and what percentage of them were decided by Americans? Do Israelis really call falafel the official snack of Israel? What if Germans are calling David Hasselhoff the “official singer of America”? Doesn’t anyone have a problem with this???)
Ok, that’s it for now: I should rest up so I’m better by the end of the weekend. Besides, Season 4 awaits.