S’ is spending the weekend with his father and I, as usual, experience a psychedelic-like change in the nature of time. Whereas normally I am rushing from one strict dead-line to the next, with the most annoying one being the daily rush to get S’ up and ready to go to school, I am now sucked into a kind of happy limbo. I do not answer phones, I just wander the mesmerizing and colorful streets.
The Dizingoff square market is open on Tuesdays between 11:00-21:00 but when I come it’s in that precious limbo-time I have on Fridays (07:00-16:00). I make my way from King George street, where the bus stops. There is a really happy atmosphere in those small streets leading to the big Dizzingoff roundabout. One café has people sitting on a large mat in the yard, and I can identify a guy in love with the girl sitting next to him.
This is so cute. I am into taking photos now with my new phone, but some things you just can’t snap. It happens too quickly and its private. He’s in love! He is sitting next to the girl he likes best in the world! Everything is fine!!
Then I arrive at the square on the side of the market where they sell old clothes, shoes and bags. I have plans to buy myself a thin scarf because I love scarves and hats, and I want a new scarf to tie around my wide rimmed hat, but the energies are all wrong for this. I can’t seem to focus and when I do finally focus on something it turns out to be a dress usually worn by elderly ladies trying to obliterate the shape of their body. It’s baggy. I don’t know what drew me to it in the first place…
So I go up the stairs to the centre bit with the stupid Agam fountain. It’s ok to say it’s stupid now, right? Because the Tel-Aviv Municipality finally decided to lower the elevated middle part of the roundabout. But no!! I just realized we might still meet this stupid “statue” even after the roundabout is put back down on the ground. OMG. I’ve met Agam himself once and I can’t see anybody getting rid of his statue while he is still with us.
I pass right next to the disaster, but I’m really exaggerating. It is, of course, a disaster from any moderately educated person’s point of view, but the sun is out and it’s a nice, mellow winter sun that nobody, but nobody, can resist! People are shining. They don’t even know it but they are absorbing stuff that’s good for them, and they cannot help but put out something that is accepting of others. I love Tel-Aviv on these Fridays, really!
Then I go down the stairs to the other part of the market, which is right next to the Cinema. I go straight to a shop where they sell all kinds of juice and buy myself a carrot juice, which is really nice and sweet. Is this carrot season, I wonder? And now, I am finally free to look at stuff, or Shmontses, which is Yiddish for stuff.
I find that when I go wandering this way I need to have a focus, that is a specific place or several places I am aiming to reach. After I decide about this place or places I just let inspiration guide me as to the details. I wasn’t really inspired to buy anything but I took these pictures. Lots of people were milling about, all kinds of people from different echelons of society, although it’s probably wrong to even use that word when referring to Israelis, since we don’t really have echelons or anything graded at all.
It’s like reading a while back someone pompous writing about that famous “corporate ladder” which you are supposed to climb up in order to reach those favoured upper echelons; ignoring the fact so many jobs don’t have any ladder incorporated into them. “Hello there, mister! We’re all down here if you’re looking for us.” Although with us Israelis it could be the other way around too: “Hey, look up! We’ve just flown off your ladder and landed up here, if you can crane your neck back to see us!”
As an Israeli, I don’t think we do ladders much. But leaving that alone, I then proceeded to the Dizingoff Centre, with no particular reason except that it was on the way to “Haozen”, that wonderful store with CD’s both audio and video. I love that store and intended to get there finally, but, as I’ve mentioned, Dizingoff Centre stood between us.
I think of Dizingoff Centre as a very authentic urban experience, in that it had completely and coherently translated the experience of walking out in nature into urban terms. First there is the fact you are, of course, in a mall rather than outdoors. Then there are the slippery slopes of nature translated into those long open curvy corridors going gradually up.
And I particularly like all those intrinsically urban surprises you bump into on the way, such as that magazine stand I accidently bumped into after making a turn somewhere. But on Fridays the place also serves as an open food market. The ground floor of the northern part of the Centre is filled with stalls selling food for lazy bums who wish to avoid, circumvent and zap out entirely the traditional custom of working to earn your day of rest.
Stalls selling traditional ‘Hammin’ stand, as the saying goes, side by side with those selling dim-sum and South American filled pastries. It’s really a delight. The whole thing is buzzing with life, but I am not even focused enough to decide what I want to sample. This is ridiculous. The whole place is filled with food, there’s an empty space in my stomach and I just can’t do it, can’t make a choice.
This is what I use the weekends when S’ is away for, I use them in order not to decide. A friend calls and I don’t call her back just so I don’t have to make an appointment with her and stick to it. I want to drift, I want to be able to foster the illusion that I am free to do what I want and go where I want to. At least for now.
On the way here I sat in a book store and while going through two books, made up a possible scenario where the bloke sitting not far from me with a book of his own would ask me out and we would actually spend this weekend together, unbeknownst to any of my loved ones. A very 1970’s fantasy which I enjoyed having.
So that’s why I didn’t call my friend back. But now all this leaving-my-options-open stance was leaving me hungry as well. I avoided various calls and pleas by food stall owners and arrived, via the underground passage at the Southern part of the Centre where a professional salesperson finally made me commit to buying myself some yogurt. This turned out to be a very wise choice. I enjoyed my yogurt and granola very much and felt almost tearfully thankful to the extremely young attendants (one of them, a petite girl, wearing big black boots) for anchoring me in this way.
I had an overflow of feelings and thought that I’d take some photos of these wonderful young men and women, but some things are too private and fleeting to photo.