How I miss those mundane headlines of my youth back in the ’Peg. Nothing more serious than potholes and (the more serious) urban decay of the city centre.
I even miss those mundane headlines of the local papers here in Israel from mere weeks ago. Nothing more serious than the stuck peace process, disputes with Obama, the Iran nuke deal, stray mortar shells from Syria and the like.
I used to love the quiet of those mornings. Sipping my Turkish coffee with the paper spread out in front of me. Catching up on those mundane Middle East headlines before waking the kids up for school, walking the dog and getting ready for work. A typical start to most days probably anywhere in the world.
Well, my world is not typical anymore.
As of late, the headlines blare the new insanity of terrorism in our midst. Random, lone wolf attacks – how random, how lone wolf? – shaking up our beloved routine. No longer so pleasurable reading the morning papers when the headlines shout about multiple terror attacks around the country. Alright, we might expect it in Jerusalem (don’t tell anyone I said that). But for stabbings and car attacks to take place in the cities of Ra’anana or Holon? Even in Tel Aviv. What the heck is going on?!
What is a car attack? It’s when a crazed terrorist rams his car into a crowd of waiting commuters at a local bus stop and then jumps out and starts stabbing the wounded and shocked. Have I disrupted your morning coffee?
This craziness has done more than ruin my beloved morning time. Not sure if it’s just me – I am kind of embarrassed to ask my friends – but I find myself looking over my shoulder much more frequently. Even when exiting the elevator of my condo, I kind of prepare myself for the worst; if I am with my dog, I will let him go out first, just in case (don’t tell my daughter that).
Of course, I worry more about my kids now. They, too, are also frightened. Especially my 14-year-old daughter. Even my son – with all the bravado of a pre-army teen – is, well, let’s just say, concerned.
I picked my daughter up from an after-school event the other day. Much of the activity took place outside. I had terrible visions. Fortunately, the area was more heavily guarded than usual. Not enough for a paranoid parent, but there were a number of police stationed at strategic points. Probably better not to think about it.
Do I want my son walking home from his friend’s this weekend at 3 a.m.? Or meeting his pals at the local ice cream parlor or mall after school? For sure not! Will he? Probably. Life goes on, he says. He just wants to have fun, as do most teens everywhere.
And take my wife. She called me from a business meeting in Tel Aviv today. The city was on high alert. Those dang terrorists again. Major throughways were blocked. Helicopters hovering overhead. The army moving about in full force. The White City in lockdown mode. Stores and malls shut their doors. People stayed inside. Luckily, my wife’s meeting took place at an excellent restaurant; at least she could enjoy a good lunch. Or could she?
Hmm. Looking forward to a quiet morning tomorrow with my Turkish coffee and newspaper; catching up on the insanity taking the country by force, and hoping it doesn’t become mundane.
Bruce Brown, from Winnipeg, lives in Israel with his Sabra wife and children. He actually doesn’t like Turkish coffee – his wife drinks it every morning with her paper – but took the poetic licence to describe himself as drinking the black goo while reading the headlines of his morning paper.