In the very diverse hip area of Jaffa at the south end of Tel Aviv where we just stayed for two weeks, sits the old, famous shop selling delicious pastries and a culinary invention called “toast”. Toast is like a huge bagel-panini stuffed with whatever you want. The guys behind the counter, which is right on the street, wear teeshirts that say “Jews and Arabs Refuse to be Enemies”.
Ah, if it were only true throughout the Middle East rather than just in this small enclave of mosques abutting synagogues, neighboring churches.
But ignoring politics and embracing culture is much more fulfilling right now.
There is an expression used in Tel Aviv that I love: “Haval al hazman!” Literally it means ”a waste of time”. But the stupendous thing is that this phrase is used to mean “It’s fabulous!”
Suppose you bake someone a cake and bring it to their home. They might well say “Haval al hazman!”
Think about it. The idea of wasting time as the highest praise! Or, alternatively, you could interpret it as “such an honor that you would waste your precious time for me!”
The idea of putting a high value on wasting time is a new and radical concept for me. I need to really consider this.
I am quite neurotic about time. I do not “waste” it at all. I do not “waste time” in a somewhat extreme way. I’m beginning to think that how I go about living each day is very wrong.
I feel guilty if I am reading a book. I feel guilty if I am not eating lunch at my desk. Thankfully, I do not feel guilty when I am working out or taking long walks because, I reason neurotically, I need to keep my body in shape so that I can keep on “doing” stuff and not “waste time”.
I am an annoying person, am I not? Jeez, after reading this, I don’t even want to be my own friend.
One expression that I detest is when someone says “lighten up”. It is so condescending and dismissive of the other person’s thoughts. However, I have only one thing to say to myself at this point:
Lighten up, Margery!
All right. Ok. I am going to try to live differently. I am off now to sit in a café and read a book.
How long do you think I need to stay? More than 5 minutes? Would 15 be enough?
©2015 Margery Leveen Sher
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