Monday, April 11, 2005

Last night I went with Arbel to have a beer at the Zigmonim, a small cafe-bar on the corner of Gaza st. We drank Goldstar beer, munched bitter olives, and talked about the French artist Sophie Calle. "I think she does amazing things, but I would never want to be like her. She completely obliterated herself, there's nothing left there" said Arbel "she keeps trying to find herself in other people and through them; that's why she's chasing ghosts all the time. There's nothing real about her anymore, she's completely cut off from herself."
Outside I noticed an old men with a beret sliding down the street on a push skooter. He was smiling blissfully. He stopped outside the Zigmonim to have a rest on a bench.
"I think artists have to be outside everything all the time. They must be constant observors, of the place they live in, of themselves. It's unrelenting and very demanding. I think I preffer to live my life" she added. "Maybe this is why I can't be an artist."
The man on the bench stood up, corrected his beret and took off on his push skooter.

* * *

I'm back at work. Spent the day in a library, reading and taking notes on the economics of British-ruled Palestine. For lunch I went to Shalom, a Yemenite Falafel place. They're one of the oldest - and most famous - falafel joints in West Jerusalem. Their falafel is a bit dry and spicy, the mixture is slightly red.
When I got to the counter I could see that the falafer vendor was angry. A customer was standing there, nibbling his pita and chattering. I couldn't tell if he was over cheerful or over stressed. "My brother believe me I'm in a terrible difficulty but don't worry God the All-mighty will help us all and with his blessing I'll pay for this tomorrow, we should all trust his mercey and we shall be rewarded and you will be blessed a thousand times". There was something slightly camp about the way he talked. His clothes were pretty conventional, and unlike the falafel vendor, he didn't wear a religious head cover. "So you're not paying for it now?" asked the falafel guy, and snatched the pita out of his hands, not waiting for a reply. "Yes?" he turned to me, still irrate.
"Falafel in a pita, please."
"Do you want his falafel"?
I was a bit struck by this.
"Sorry, no, forget about it. I'll make you a new one".
"We shall all be blessed, forgiveness is a great virtue, and if you help others, you will be rewarded" started the guy again.
The vendor was getting angrier.
"I'll pay for him," suddenly said the woman that was standing there and eating her falafel. "Give him his pita back".
"Thousands blessing and wishes and God will help you many times always and forever" said the customer, as he received his falafel and quickly vanished.
"Have you seen this idiot?" said the vendor to his brother, who came out of the kitchen at the back.
"Yallah, forget about it. Nothing happened" said the woman, who kept cool about the whole thing.
"It's nothing for you, but we can't allow it. He can start coming here everyday. And he's not the only one around here".
"Blessed be his name and he shall bless you a hundred times and you shall win good fortune" the unpaying customer suddenly reappeared from nowhere, added generous amounts of Hilbeh sauce to his pitta, grabbed a few serviettes, and disappeared again.


Post a Comment

<< Home