Jlem

The lady at Cofix kept responding to me in English. That hasn’t happened in a while. I also haven’t been in Jerusalem as a civilian in a while.

The bus driver waited for me and then held my espresso as I sifted through my wallet for my rav kav.

“What do you want?” he asked a frazzled soldier without the command of a uniform.

“My rav kav,” I replied.

“It’s important.”

“I also want my espresso.”

“That’s also important.”

On the way back from the Old City, after fleeing (I was thinking of a synonym for escaping until I realized it wasn’t a synonym—I was reaching for the Hebrew word) a man trying to charge 65 shekels for rosaries and subsequently discovering that I had lost my credit card (again…oops), we saw two young men approaching.

“They’re American,” I commented.

“Ya think?” said Anaelle. “Obviously. What tipped you off?”

It was the tie dye and the hubris for me. It was the haircuts for Anaelle.

The topic of my Americanness surfaced. I didn’t look overtly American. Not with my ironic Adika tee that said “toxic love” (it’s only funny to me) nor my Blundstone’s and skinny jeans. Not even my Vermont cow socks screamed American. It’s interesting to consider how I no longer feel the need to externally express my Israeliness, as if proving it to myself through my clothes. Granted, I mostly wear olive in public, which is unmistakably Israeli. But as a civilian, I don’t cling to wardrobe staples purchased in the land or ones that explicitly denote my love for the land. I just get dressed, and I am Israeli.

Today I went to the bank to ensure that I ordered the correct replacement card. I arrived before the bank opened, yet somehow I waited 25 minutes before speaking to someone because business accounts take precedent, apparently. 25 was my tipping point as another business man was called who had arrived 20 minutes after me. I approached the counter and explained, listen, I am a lone soldier and I lost my card yesterday. No, I don’t need you to give me the replacement, I know that I ordered it only yesterday. I need you to check what I ordered, when it will arrive, and give me money because I’m a lone soldier and I’m not interested in using my American card that charges 3% on international transactions. Ugh.

Israelis. Audacious, aren’t we?

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