A Fictional Tale

Remember all those word problems we had to figure out in school? John is twice as old as his sister Mary will be when John’s younger brother, Christopher has his bar mitzvah- how old is his mother? OK, John and Mary are not likely to have a brother who is having a a bar mitzvah, much less “Christopher” but that’s beside the point. It’s also a lot easier than the word problem I’ve been trying to solve in the last 24 hours.

Let’s say a fictional woman has 5 fictional children. Two of them live within walking distance and the others live less than an hour’s drive away. (I’m giving you irrelevant information, akin to the names above, but you have to figure out which information *is* relevant– you will be tested on this.) Now let’s say that there’s a fictional holiday coming up at the beginning of next week (end of this week for John, Mary, and Christopher). For this fictional holiday, this fictional woman has been inviting all of her fictional children and her fictional grandchildren (an ever-increasing number) for the last, let’s see, maybe 10 years. At first, they would meet in the morning to hear the (fictional) megilla. Then, after a few years (maybe 7 or so), they would meet in the evening. Bagels and lox would have been a component of this fictional adventure. OK, so now you have the fictional history up to a couple of weeks ago.

At that time the fictional woman wrote an email to all five of the children suggesting they meet in the morning since the evening was after shabbat and therefore it would of necessity start late and the grandchildren would be tired etc. No one seemed to object. Let’s call the fictional children living close by the fictional woman A, B, & C (yes, I am aware I had said two lived close by; A, B, & C are the names of all three of the two of them, but that’s another story). A,B, & C all were fine with the plan. Let’s call the three who live within an hour’s driving distance X, Y, & Z (this fictional woman was not very creative at name-giving. Poor children… imagine the looks they got in school when they introduced themselves. I’ll bet though, no teacher asked them what they were called “for short.”)

The first sign of trouble was when X said, “Remember, we must leave by 9:30 a.m.” Not that it was trouble, but combined with the next statement, it presented problems. It was when Y said “It’s unrealistic to think that we can get there before 9:30 a.m.” What to do? One is arriving when the other is leaving and the whole point is for everyone to be there at the same time. It became a problem especially since the fictional woman does not want to upset or hurt any of her fictional children and pretty much is waiting with bated breath to see all of her totally adorable fictional grandchildren in their fabulous (fictional) costumes.

The fictional woman consulted with A,B,C, & Z. There were a number of suggestions including Skyping the X family in, meeting on Monday, buying Y a new alarm clock (threw that one in to fool you– no one actually (or fictionally) said that), etc. The fictional woman tried several different tactics from “Work it out yourselves” to “Let the disinterested parties work it out and we’ll abide by their decision” to “Let’s talk about interests rather than solutions.” At one point X suggested that X & Y work it out over a steak. The fictional woman was pretty sure who would be called upon to pay for the steaks.

No fewer than 32 emails were sent and several telephone calls were made. In the end, the X family sent its chief negotiator to settle the matter, more or less to everyone’s satisfaction.

Stay tuned for the fictional pictures sometime next week.

Taking a deep breath

Who said that when you get old you slow down? Well, maybe there are days when I am not physically running around, but ohmigosh… busy!! I have to say, though, I do love it! It’s great to have my children and grandchildren nearby and it’s great to have other interests as well.

Right now we are working on learning everything we can about our new travel destinations. We also are trying to learn survival Spanish. There are enough cognates of French and English that we often are able to read captions and descriptions, but passive vocabulary won’t get you 4 more tablespoons or enough bread to make sandwiches for 36 people. So it’s a wild and woolly time here cramming for a test of our Spanish that’s coming in only a few months and that we must pass.

To say that the tour to Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, and Peru was fantastic, is such an understatement. Imagine for a moment that you were able to be present on earth on the 5th day of creation. There are the creeping things and the fish and the birds and all of the plant life, and the sea. Imagine all of it living together in harmony. Imagine how beautiful it would be. How pure. How utterly precious.

That is what you find when you step onto most of the Galapagos Islands.

There are no words.

But there are pictures. You can see them here.

Here’s a preview:

A blue-footed boobie

A blue-footed boobie

Feeling grumpy!

I am slowly recovering from my jet lag. We left Lima, Peru, at about 9 on Sunday night (Lima time), arrived in Madrid about 2 in the afternoon Monday (Madrid time) and took off again at about 11:50 pm, landing in Israel about 4:30 am on Tuesday– spending two nights on planes. So, I am a bit grumpy. And here’s what’s been really irking me:

Why is it that the woman in front of me on the last plane (the one that took off from Madrid at about midnight) who got onto the plane with her husband had to put on not only her own reading light, but the one beside her ALL NIGHT and proceed to blab with the 60 year old hippie guy with the earrings who stood in the aisle much of the trip talking to her and sounding like nothing so much as an overconfident teenager?

OK, I know there’s no good answer, but really people, isn’t it time that we grew up and started thinking about others? I mean, I understand that people want to do what they want to do, but at the expense of others? I mean I wouldn’t go and stand outside her window in the middle of the night and have a loud conversation. I wouldn’t take a flashlight and shine it in her face. Yes, I could. Yes, there’s no law against it. But is that the world you’d want to live in?

And while I’m grumping… Is it really necessary to push in front of everyone in order to get onto a plane? I seem to recall this thing called assigned seats. Best I can tell, if you have a boarding pass, chances are pretty good you’ve also got a seat. The first people onto the plane are not going to get to the destination any faster than the last ones.

And also, lines. People! Unless you’re having a health crisis, it probably isn’t going to kill you to wait your turn.

Yes, grumpy.