Sunday, May 28, 2006

Identity Crisis

Who am I? Or rather….Who am I becoming? Usually these sort of existential questions come about after having some sort of epiphany, mine came whilst I was crossing the road. I was on the way to the Tayelet for Yom Yerushalayim, they have there at the moment an exhibition called tents for peace…the idea behind it is good. In 49 languages peace is inscribed on these tents which are symbols for peace. In real life, they look like they would make good wrapping paper, and are ironically secured 24/7 by guards. The point being on my way there with Ilana and her friend Eli (I can't hyperlink their names because they don't have blogs) as we were crossing the road at the light when it was green, a car nearly bowls us over and I start to scream at the driver ‘Zeh Yarok’ (‘it’s green’) i.e. we have right of way. He ofcourse screams some obsenity back at me and Ilana and Eli laugh at me. I catch myself…Would I have behaved this way in Sydney, screaming, at a random stranger.

(Ilana and I at the peace tents...just cause she doesn't have a blog doesn't mean she's not special!)

No less than 5 mins later a man driving some sort of construction machinery woolf whistles at us as we are walking by, I hate it when men do this, it makes me feel like I am some sort of object that they can just make noises at? Who does that? We are not in a zoo…so I give him the finger. Again liana and Eli are in fits of hysteria at my behaviour. Literally two minutes later a man walks by and is sort of staring at us, I wasn’t really paying attention because I was focused at looking where we were going ahead…and then Ilana says to me, I’m surprised you didn’t say anything to him, I questioned why and she responded, he fully just stared at your breasts…so I mutter under my breath in his direction, ‘does he want a kick in the ass’…..

Now comes the existential crisis part. What is this crude behaviour that I am displaying? Is this part and parcel of me becoming Israeli? Is this the first step along the path towards having kids who throw Frisbees, nearly decapitate you and when you give the Frisbee back to them, they don’t even say sorry? (That occurred about an hour after the events above).

I started to get really worried. We all complain about the fact that Israeli’s don’t have manners. That you get pushed and shoved in line. That people cant’ manage to switch off their mobile phones in movies, plays and Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) ceremonies. Can I admit that I am just as bad with all this seemingly rude behaviour?

Then later on driving in the car with Alizapalooza as we are on our way to view Henrik Ibsen’s Dollhouse and be a bit cultured, I was contemplating this conundrum in my head and suddenly out from her mouth comes ‘Asshole!’, an exclamation directed towards a driver trying to cut in. I felt much better. If my refined, sophisticated theatre partner is also reverting to such expletives then maybe I am not so bad

Today I thought about it on another level. As I was eating lunch with Dave and he was being harassed by a monk from South Africa wearing some sort of Denim robe. I just felt like as a sign of respect between how you treat your fellow man its just not necessary for him to respond to Dave’s request not to feed the feral cats and encourage them, with ‘Don’t you f****** lecture me!’ I feel like that takes the prize. There’s something just a little strange here, and I think it can all be blamed on the water, as I have mentioned before.


Blogger Wisey said...

I live in Sydney and I'm rude here. People often mistake it for me being cheeky and facetious. But, no, I'm really being rude.

3:58 PM  
Blogger Dot Co Dot Il said...

It's not a case of "If you can't beat them, join them?"

2:11 AM  
Blogger gils said...

it's not just being rude, it's the type of rude, there's a sort of aggressiveness associated with it, like how you can't walk down teh street without being whacked by a million people and none of them saying sorry....

3:07 AM  
Blogger Aliza said...

Gils, thanks for editing my comments...Seriously, I am often shocked at how aggressive I become on the road. Glad its not just me.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Simon Holloway said...

FYI, there were a couple of psycho-linguists (Sapir and Whorf) who developed an hypothesis known as Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis (SWH). They argued that there was a direct correlation between the language that a person speaks and the way that person behaves. I also found myself being very aggressive when I was in Israel and I think that this is what it comes down to!

Think about it: the only difference between a question and a statement in Hebrew is intonation (seeing as Hebrew lacks the separate particles 'is' and 'do'). When people get upset, their intonation tends to do all sorts of funny things, and the line becomes blurred between an honest question, a snide statement, and a snappy retort! :-)

11:48 PM  
Blogger ifyouwillit said...

When I want to get a point across, I am much more likely to speak in Hebrew, to me it brings a much more forceful and agressive approach

My Ulpan Teacher told us that to stay in Israel you need strong elbows to push your way through everywhere.

Some blame the Israeli temprement on the region, hot weather, or the volititlty of the lifestyle here. At the end of the day, behaviour that would earn you a clip round the earwhole in England could be greeted with a smile and accepted as normal here.

1:36 AM  

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