On a bus to never-ever land

At some point, I should probably get over my fear of public transportation. I spent the last half-hour checking and re-checking the bus schedules from here to the central bus station in Haifa, because my bus to Eilat leaves from there at 11:30 and I can’t miss it. This fear stems from some absurd constant internal struggle between my American-ness, needing things to be on time and structured and predictable, with wanting to live and thrive in the carefree, time-free Middle East.

I will, of course, blame this anal-retentiveness on the fact that I do, in fact, need to get to Eilat because I do, in fact, need to cross the border because my visa does, in fact, expire tomorrow. Then I get to travel partway across Sinai to hang out on the beach for 24 hours…and then cross the border back again. Get your answers ready! The interrogation is coming.

While obsessively obsessing over my as-yet-imagined public transportation woes, I’ve been reflecting on the last three months (of which visa #1 consisted). I’ve thought about on my achievements and my failures, where I was in June and where I am now in September-almost-October, on life here, my opinions, how I see things like politics and the world and religion and language, if I’ve changed. I wonder if visa #2 will bring further changes. I can’t really imagine what they’d be. I feel like I have reached a place of contentment and acceptance and resolve, though not necessarily happiness. I understand better than I ever have before the true nature of this conflict and my place within it. It’s so easy to get caught up in the fiery language of two sides, but it takes a more hands-on experience to realize that this dichotomy and its frame isn’t the only problem and for most people, especially most people like me, our place isn’t on one of these two sides. It’s somewhere else.

And in 10 hours, my place is nowhere except on a bus out of this mindf*%&. Only to turn around and come right on back. Hallelujah.


2 thoughts on “On a bus to never-ever land

  1. If my past remarks made or attempted to make a public spectacle of your family-and-friends website, this one may push you all the way to calling the authorities on me. (Hello, authorities.)
    Somewhat inspired by your photography of wild and ordinary things, I described you and your website to Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Palestinian activist who returned to Palestine after an academic career in the US. You can Google him, you may have already heard of him. I left the link to his wife’s recent nature (and bunny) photos on your blog a while ago.
    So Mazin says today I should see if I can put the two of you together. I don’t know what your mother would think.
    Dear Chris

    Thank you for this. If you know Audrey, please connect us together.

    I’d told him you’d removed at least one of my comments. That explains the “if” partially. He’s a biologist. Empirical. His email is mazin@qumisyeh.org. He teaches now at some university in Bethlehem.
    I’d corresponded (been the recipient of hateful but sophisticated essays, occasionial responder to same, less-often recipient of really hateful personal replies) with Ira Sharkansky late of HU and even later (earlier–your rhetorical style is somewhat catchy) of Fall River, MA, and had suggested to him and Mazin at one point that they meet, which Ira assigned to the future which would never come (to summarize his views). Mazin somewhat humiliated himself trying to be reasonable and civil while I mediated that short-lived correspondence. I guess being officially despised makes you humble.
    Mazin signs his email-essay-newsletter:
    Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
    A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home
    Professor, Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities
    Chairman of the Board, Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People,
    I hope you had a stimulating relaxing time in Egypt. Which is a Greek term, for “mooser”, isn’t it?

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