Saturday, August 28, 2010

"You Are Not Romantic"

Just before our 30th anniversary (a few days ago), I learned through a friend that I'm not romantic. At first, it hit me, but then I realized he is right. What he meant is not that I don't watch [and cry at] romantic chick flicks or like candlelight dinners (can't remember when I had one), rather that my thinking doesn't follow the romantic theory.

As I wrote in a previous post, contrary to romantic Hollywood comedies, there is more than one person whom you can partner up with. Question is what do you do when you find a good candidate. Do you keep looking to find the perfect one or stay with what (whom) you've got? Finding another one is time and energy consuming (this is what triggered my friend's remark) and nobody assures you he/she will be perfect either. I say go for the good partner. Maybe this is not romantic thinking, but it is certainly practical. Don't be the lady (or gentleman) who continues looking for the perfect outfit for the party even after the party has already begun. The party of your life will not wait for you, so you better learn compromising - again, a practical skill rather than a romantic one.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Stories We Like

Maos' Last Dancer presents a very American perspective on a true story of struggle and hard work with a happy ending. We like it because we can identify ourselves with the hero and it fulfills our basic need for justice.

Here is another true story. Mr. Y has 3 old and useless Shekel banknotes buried in an envelope in a drawer. On his way home from work he listens to a radio program. He is a big radio fan and radio programs helped him more than once in his life. From the program he learns about the extended period these banknotes can be exchanged. Once home, he looks it up on the net and prints out the relevant press release from the Bank of Israel. He goes over the last sentence with a marker. He fully expects he will need this. At his bank branch, he heads towards his usual banker, but gets transferred to another clerk, Haim. Haim listens to the request and is puzzled. He never heard about this. He calls someone in the Center. No answer. He tries a different number. He explains the problem and listens.
H: "Mr. Y, I'm sorry, but this can only be done at the Bank of Israel."
Mr. Y shows him the printout. Haim is now even more puzzled. He attempts to make another phone call to find out what to do, but Mr. Y stops him.
Y: "I'll leave you the banknotes, you find out the procedure in your own time, and then transfer the amount to my account. I really have to go."
H: "I have to give you a receipt for the banknotes, at least. I can't take money without a receipt. Could you give me your account number for the transfer and I'll see what I can do?"
Y: "Sure. 1276490/58".
H presses the keys on his keyboard and watches Mr. Y's financial status coming up on his screen. Haim watches the numbers and changes his attitude in an instant.
H: "Mr. Y, I certainly understand you are a busy person and I don't want to waste your time. I'll figure out how to handle this." Haim's attitude is metamorphosed completely by the time the last figures are displayed.  He walks over to a teller, takes out a few banknotes from the cash register without any receipt, and hands them to Mr. Y. "I know how precious your time is Mr. Y, please take the money and I'll deal with the paperwork later."

There are no surprises in the dancer's story and there are no surprises in this one. It's a known fact banks treat wealthier customers better than poor customers. So why do we still like the story?

Friday, August 6, 2010

I Don't Get It

I don't consider myself a bad person, occasionally I even consider myself a good person, but there is something I really don't get when it comes to the issue of deporting or not the children of foreign workers. I am not even at the stage of taking sides, I simply don't understand why is this an issue. Children are in their parents' custody and go wherever their parents go. If and when their parents leave, they should take their children with them. While the parents are allowed to stay, so are their children. While here, the children should get all the benefits Israeli kids do, such as free schooling. If an illegal worker with a child in school is caught and ordained for deportation, the authorities should delay the deportation until school year ends.

We should make the children's stay here as pleasant as possible. With good memories of Israel they may become Israel advocates.