Wednesday, July 19, 2006

War Drinking

Here in NYC, the war in Israel (and Lebanon and Gaza) seems as far away as the computer monitor -- it's inches from your nose but an infinity from actually touching you. Is it distracting? You bet. Whatever I'm doing, I keep going to "My Yahoo," that simulation of my interests, to see if any new news has hit the international wire. Great job they're doing over at the AP and Reuters and Yahoo -- except that none of them mentioned the rocket that landed on a beach in Caesarea -- pretty big news, Jesus Christ. D'you think we'd hear about it if a bomb hit Malibu? You bet we would. But Caesarea? I had to search the dimmest recesses of to get any info.

It’s bad enough trying to keep track of all that from seven thousand miles away. Tonight I went to the Night CafĂ© at Amsterdam and 106th with my old pal P, with whom I've hoisted many a pint at that same venue. He loves to play pool, for reasons I may never understand. It's not like he's good at it. Nor am I.

When times are calm no one pays attention to country of origin. But tonight there was a skinny dykey chick at the bar talking to the bartender. I wouldn't have paid attention to either of them beyond my drink ... but then some of the dykey girl's chunky friends came in, and after an hour or so of girl-on-girl chit-chat, one of them got into a heated thing with the mild-mannered drink-slinger ....

"You owe me some respect! My people have been here since the '20s."


"Yes! We have been here for ... (bla bla bla)"

"I'll give you respect -- when you blow yourself up at an Israeli checkpoint."



I have a few people in mind to hate right now. Liars, tyrants, bullies -- I got a list, all based on my own personal life. But when I heard that bartender invoke terrorism as a source of respect, I went beyond my usual hatred.

Wish I'd had a bomb to blow up that bar. Theory ain't shit without engagement. Look at that blowhard Said. I'm glad he's dead, but what did he ever have to do? He was an exile, preaching his gospel of theoretical hate from a theoretical pulpit to theoretical adults (students), and now he's in a very real grave, useless beyond his books and parrot acolytes.

You've read my descriptions of Caesarea and Gan Yoshiya and Gaza in this blog before. Nothing new or remarkable about my alignment, right? If you're reading this you probably know me anyway, and if you want to debate this stuff, call me up.

I wasn't sober enough to realize I should walk out on the spot. I wish I'd made a scene. But no. We finished our game, I paid and we left. Later, after P had gone home, I realized I'd forgotten my backpack somewhere, so I had to retrace my steps. The bartender was extraordinarily accommodating, but it wasn't there. In the country in question, that bag would have been blown up for safety's sake, my damp gym togs vaporized in perpetuity, but this being NYC, home of 9/11, no one batted an eyelash at my cheap nylon explosives carrier. It was stowed securely in a closet at Tap-a-Keg, a duller but closer and less politically charged drunkery, where I'd had my first drink.

In L.A. I used to go to a Syrian restaurant in S.M. called Sham, but that seems very far away. My dad, bless his crazy soul, likes to announce to the Sham waiter, "We are Israelis!" So far they haven't poisoned his hummus, but these days I think it's only a matter of time, Of course, we draw our battle lines tighter in wartime. Dad probably won't be going to Syrian places for a while. I won't.

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