Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Civilian Volcano

In the Israeli army, there is a clear divide between the army bubble and ezrachut (civilianhood), everything outside the bubble. Ezrachut is girlfriends, families and Facebook. TV, movies and guitars. Shorts, t-shirts and pretty much any non-green, non-uniform clothing. Pizza, shwarma and, most of all, home-cooking. Cities, beaches and the mall. Kids, the elderly and any girl not in uniform. It hardly need be said that everything ezrachut is, of course, greatly desired.

So what is it like to be back in America?

America, from the moment I stepped off a bus and into midtown Manhattan, is an explosion of ezrachut. A brigade-size no-earplugs live-fire detonation of civilian sensation. A... Strangelove says it best


Time in the army crawls by so slowly. A day is a month. A week a year. Two weeks a lifetime.

Hence I was surprised to discover how little has changed in peoples lives on my visit to America. Surely, my army time operating mind insisted, in the decade that has passed since I left New York in July 2009, friends have gotten married, birthed children, ran marathons, found jobs, finished grad schools. Nope, friends replied, not much has really changed since you left. Hearing this made me all the more grateful for the NYC High Line. A sign of true development if there ever was one!

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