Sunday, April 1, 2007

Bein Hazmanim part II

Yeah, I know, it's been quite sometime since I last posted, but never fear, because I have quite a load of stuff to tell you all out there.
My parents came in for the chag, and as usual, we stayed at a certain hotel, in an apartment that is privatelt owned. We also had a few relatives who are in the holy land for the year in school staying with us. In any event, on the second night of the first days of the chag, one of my cousins who is in seminary here went out to eat with a few of her friends from seminary. The place where they were eating was relatively close to us, but at 12 at night, when she hadn't returned yet, my parents started getting worried. I was already in bed in the succah when they came in....
Dad: You. Go find her.
Me: But I'm undressed and in bed already.
Mom: Well, we're not going, so get out there and find her.
Me: Guys, I'm sure she's okay. She probably went to geula to watch the israeli simchat beis hashoevos....
Dad: then you go to geulah, and find her.
Mom: she doesn't have to come home now, but we just want to make sure she's okay.
Me: but-
Dad: this is not an opening for debate; we told you to do something.....
And then they both stood there, watching me expectantly until I dragged myself off the bed, and slowly got dressed again. So, i headed out first to the place where she ate, and was told by the host that she had indeed gone to geulah to watch the festivities.
So I start heading down King George Street, towards Kikar Shabbos. A little bit befor King George hits Jaffa street, I happened upon her group of friends, sitting on a bench, shmoozing with a couple of obviously drunk guys. Looking for my cousin, I spot her sitting on a low wall behind the bench, trying her best to avoid this one guy who, no matter what direction she turns to, persists on positioning himself in front of her view. My cousin is from a real out of town place, and a very studious girl, and I knew she didn't know from talking to guys. i could also see that she was scared shitless by this guy making advances on her. So I approached her...
Me: Are you okay?
Her: Yes. Can we please leave?
Me: Let's go. ( we turn to leave, when suddenly this guys in my face)
Him: Hey, who are you, and where do you think you're going?
Me: I'm her cousin, and I'm taking her home.
Him: Why is she leaving? The fun's just getting started!
Me: In case you couldn't tall, she's not having fun. We're leaving.
Him: Hey man, I know what this is, but it won't work; she's my bitch.
Me: Someone's been watching too many gangsta rap videos, huh? Listen Ja Rule, she's coming with me. Why don't you go sleep that alcohol off, and when you're done with your hangover, you can swing by this and this room at this and this hotel, and apologize like a good boy. In the meantime, we're leaving. Now. ( He places his hand on my chest)
Him: You're not going anywhere. ( I look down at his hand on my chest, and say in the grimmest manner I can:)
Me: Do you want to lose that hand?
Him: What, you think you can take me?
Me: Listen pal, A) you're drunk, I'm sober. B) I haven't been physical, nor violent, in quite some time. But I'm sure I remember enough to shove my foot up your ass. So again, if you don't move out of my way now, you will lose that hand. ( He looks at me for a while)
Him: You know what? I'm a lover, not a fighter, cuz I got Rebbe Nachman!
And then he proceeds to start dancing around on the side walk, which is when we took our cue to leave.
That was the first days of the chag....
On the second days, instead of eating upstairs in our apartment like we do on the first days, we ate downstairs with my parents friends. This is customary for the second days of yom tov. Now, one of my mother's friends has this habit of inviting a truckload of seminary girls to every meal. As much as it's enjoyable, I really don't appreciate it, because either my brother is constantly kicking me under the table for looking, or my father casually leans over and asks "which one are you looking at? we can set it up, you know..." Aside from that, I don't enjoy my food, because I'm afraid that I'll make a mess out of myself, etc.
Anyway, this year, there is this one girl who ate at every one of our meals. Small town midwesterner, like myself, and absolutely gorgeous. I mean stunning. Tall, slim, blonde, the whole package. So my mother asks her if she knows a certain person who used to live wherer I live, and then moved to this girls town. When she answered in the affirmative, my mother was delighted, and went on to add that this person's wife was one of my teachers. So this girl looks at me and asks me "Really?" So I answer yes, and add that she was my favorite teacher, to which she exclaims that she was her favorite teacher too. So we make polite chit chat, and that's that.
The next day, she ate with us again, and we were seated across the table from each other. So she started asking me questions, and although I don't talk to girls, I'm a nice guy, and I'll talk enough to be polite, and maybe throw in a joke or two. Which I did. I get the required laughs, and didn't think any more of it.
Later that evening, when it's already motzei chag for the israelis, I headed out to the jewish quarter like I do every year for Chaim Dovid's annual hakafos shniyos/concert. I approach the stage, and get a little wave from my friend Chaim Dovid (I've eaten by him a couple times...). I request my song, and then join the mish mash of jews from all different spectrum, who have come together and put their differences to be joined in song. As I'm getting ready to leave, I see this girl. She gives me a big smile and wave. I give her back a little wave and my trademark (or so I've been told) lopsided grin. She comes over to me and asks me if I'm a fan. So I reply yes, and we get into a short discussion about music, where I explained my views on music, and she listened intently. Then she asked if she'll see me the next day, because she's eating with those friends of my parents. It happened to be that I was. We said goodbye, and that's all I thought of it at the time.
The next day, we ate dairy, and when I sat down, there was one empty seat left at the table, which was next to me. All of a sudden, who sits down next to me? This chick. She asks me what to order, and I told her what I ordered. She didn't want to order it, but asked if she could taste it when it came out. So I let her. Then, throughout the meal, she would ask me a question or something, and I'd answer her, and go back to my food. She laughed at all my jokes, which I though was pretty generous of her, but thought no more of it.
When the meal was over, and I had already walked back out into the lobby. She approached me.
Her: Well, thank you for the good time.
Me: Um, no problem...
Her: So....
Me: mmm?
Her: I like you; maybe I'll see you around? You know, we can get a bite to eat, or something like that?
Screeeeeetch! Put the brakes on! Whoa. This was completely unexpected on my part. Looking back now, I guess I see all the clues that this girl liked me, but it never occured to me that she was attracted to me at the time. I had to stop this and do it tactfully.
Me: Okay...stop. Hold on a second..
Her: what's wrong?
Me: Listen...( and the whole time, there's this little voice screaming "noooo! You fool! Don't do this!")I'm sorry if I misled you, and I don't mean to insult you, but I can't do this (the little voice lets out a bloodcurdling scream). I'm not interested in a relationship like this. I mean, I'm interested, but I'm not...interested. Believe me, you're a smart girl, a funny girl, a gorgeous girl, but I can't do this to myself. I don't talk to girls. I'll be polite if they ask me a question or two, especially if we're eating at the same table, but it doesn't go further than that. And it's not a frumkeit thing, either; I wish I could say it was, but in truth, it's more of a practicality thing. I came to eretz Yisroel to do one thing: learn. To do that, I can't have any distractions. If I did, I'd be screwed. If you are in my life, I'm writing my own death certificate, because you are one hell of a distraction. This doesn't mean that if you see me in the street, you have to walk the other way, or be afraid of me. If you say hello, I will answer you, and we can even chat for a few minutes. But no more than that. Again, I'm sorry if I misled you, and even more sorry if I hurt your feelings. I hope you do well here, and have a truly positive experience. Enjoy the rest of the chag ( the little voice is whimpering now...).
She looked at me for a couple of seconds, then forced a smile and said okay. I went upstairs and came back down about 20 minutes later. That's when I see her in the corner of the lobby with a friend of hers, and she's seriously crying.
I never felt so bad for doing something good....
Originally posted Tuesday, 1 November 2005

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