I run into Aaron, my downstairs neighbor. “Do you happen to have a ladder?” I ask. “I need to change a light bulb.”

“Sure,” he replies enthusiastically. “I’ll come upstairs with you and help you.”

“Thanks, but I don’t need help. I’ll take the ladder and bring it right back.”

He insists on schlepping it upstairs.

Arriving at my apartment’s front door, he says, “I’ll change the light bulb for you.”

I laugh. “I’m perfectly capable of changing the light bulb by myself.”

He must really want to come in.

I’ve read that messy people are creative geniuses. Since then I revere my chaos, waiting for the spark of genius to ignite. But I’m still uncomfortable with unexpected guests.

I unlock the front door, and he walks in with me. Happily. Then I leave the door wide open. That way, I block from view a pile of stuff that belongs in the recycling bin. It will get there. Eventually. I have an outstanding capacity to tell my inner parent’s voice, “Later,” when it comes to doing my chores. I’d rather write.

Aaron keeps staring at me, and he doesn’t seem to take in the mess. I’m glad I’ve cleaned a bit today, but I still need to clean the kitchen — where the dead light bulb is.

“Why don’t you sit here?” I say, pointing at the armchair near my computer and entertaining the idea of turning him into my beta reader. Surely he could read my manuscript while I change the light bulb (and write a blog post, and start a new novel, and clean the kitchen…later).

Finally, he seems to get the message. “I’ll leave now. Tell me when you’re done. I’ll take the ladder downstairs.”

I don’t tell him, of course. Bringing the ladder back, I learn that he is forty three. “You look twenty eight,” I say. I never know how old people are.

“That’s the story of single men in my family,” he pauses dramatically, “until they get married.”

He then exchanges phone numbers with me. “If you need the ladder again, and I’m not at home.” And he looks extremely happy.

Back at my apartment, writing, I hear a baby crying somewhere near the stairwell. It must be sweet Angel, my lovely upstairs neighbors’ eighteen-month-old daughter. I decide to trust that either one of her parents can handle the situation, and I don’t follow my rescuing instincts.

I don’t like to give mothers the feeling that they should keep their young ones quiet.

I don’t like to give fathers the feeling that they can’t take care of their kids because only women can be caretakers.

I don’t like to give anyone the feeling that they must keep quiet/must not express their feelings.

So I keep writing. Then I realize that some time has passed. And Angel is still crying. I run downstairs, following her voice, and then witness a tragic sight: Angel is sitting in her stroller next to the building’s front glass door. Only the door is closed. Her mother is on the other side of the door, practically gluing herself to it.

Their eyes are locked in horror.

I open the door immediately. The mother rushes over to Angel. She had forgotten the keys on the inside and had gotten stuck outside. Thanking me, she holds Angel, who stops crying at once and looks at me as if I were her hero. A slow one but still a hero.

Then I go to Movieing café to write. There, two guys I chat with seem too enthused about me. Usually, only drunk guys are unaffected by my “nun-ness.” But these two don’t look drunk. Neither did Aaron.

That’s when I start to suspect that something is rotten in the state of Denmark — that my nun-like shield is cracking. Although this feels more like a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream than from Hamlet.

Like a James Bond, I’ll have to use my spy skills, even if they exist only in my friend Frank’s mind. Fairies or not, I’ll find out who is behind this. Or what.


A Manly Man, a Kick-Ass Woman and a Spaceship

BadGirl I wish the bag in the picture would say “A Kick-Ass Woman.” But “Bad Girl” is good enough. People smile when it’s on my back. Maybe I look too good to be bad.

I walk into a beauty store, and a pink wand grabs my attention. “It’s a wrinkle-eraser concealer,” the salesperson says, “amazing for wrinkles between the eyebrows.” Which I don’t have. I think. “Even manly men buy this concealer,” she continues. All the customers turn to look at her. “You know what I mean when I say m-a-n-l-y m-e-n,” she slightly raises her voice. I don’t know, so I say nothing. “Not like the men in Tel-Aviv.” She looks triumphant.

Such a man apparently had walked into the store and sworn that he would NEVER use any makeup. “Obviously,” she adds empathetically. “But he bought this concealer.”

“Well, if a manly man bought this,” I say, “maybe I’m manly enough to buy it too. I’m sure I can find something to erase with it.”

“No,” she says firmly. “For you I’d recommend an eye-cream to erase your dark circles.” My dark circles are proof that I pretend to live in the U.S., at least time-zone-wise. No eye-cream can take that away from me.

I leave the store without the manly-man concealer but with the Bad Girl bag on my back, a message to myself to be tougher after the Gu-Eun fiasco.

When I first saw Gu-Eun, she reminded me of the woman whom I’d seen walking in the park in the middle of the night, sobbing.

“Do you need help?” I had asked, rushing towards her.

“No,” she replied and kept walking and sobbing, her summery dress swinging to and fro with each step.

But there she was again–or was it her?–sitting on a bench in the dark with two bags on each side. Two guys riding bicycles hovered around, checking her out. Two other guys were sitting on the closest bench, drinking beer. They didn’t seem ready to leave.

“Do you need help?” I asked.

“Yes,” she replied. “I have nowhere to go. I’ll have to stay overnight in the park.”

“It’s not safe to stay here,” I said. “I must find you another place.”

A tourist from South Korea, she said she had broken her sternum in a bus accident in my country. Mentioning the accident, she closed her eyes in pain and touched her chest protectively. Since she had no money and looked about twenty-one years old, I suggested she call her parents.

“They have no money, either,” she said.

“Are you hungry?” I asked.


“First we feed you, then we will figure out what to do.”

I don’t have room for overnight guests in my current apartment. I paid for the night in a youth-hostel and gave her money for food. We met at Movieing café on Saturday, the following evening.

She was thirty-one and looked it. It hadn’t registered before.

I couldn’t prolong this financially, so I talked about finding another solution. But every time I brought it up, she closed her eyes in pain and touched her chest protectively. Her poor English deteriorated, and by Tuesday, we were communicating via google translate. I asked friends if they knew where she could stay for a couple of nights. Got nowhere with that.

On Thursday, Iris, a friend who is well-versed in medicine and law, said, “Nobody will help because they think she is a woman in prostitution and a pimp and drugs are involved. I’ve worked with street people. Bring her over.”

When we arrived there, Iris said, “I might be able to help with the accident.” Suddenly Go-Eun’s English was excellent, and she answered Iris’s questions eloquently. “You had left the scene before the police arrived,” Iris explained. “Two weeks later you went to a hospital in another country. That’s why the authorities won’t acknowledge your injury.”

But only when Iris told Go-Eun she was also a Christian, did Gu-Eun open up. “I’m looking for the bus driver. He wouldn’t acknowledge that I was on the bus that day. I won’t go home before I sue him. He is a sinner. He must pay.”

“So far, I’m paying,” I said.

Still, I didn’t want her on the streets. Iris explained she could hire a lawyer from home. Gu-Eun preferred to get the numbers of pro-bono local lawyers. She said she’d stay with Korean women outside of Tel-Aviv.

A bit further away from the bus-station.

But closer than home.

Sometimes, I wish that something extraordinary would happen–that the real would mix with the surreal. Like the spaceship I saw with my friend Harry. Anything that could relieve the suffering of people. Including Gu-Eun’s.


      Did you know that men used makeup in ancient Egypt? To find out more about that and other enlightening information, check out the wonderful post of Diane L. Major:

Writing about unexplained phenomena in my posts (there will be more), I’m inspired by Carolynn Pianta. Check out Carolynn’s fabulous posts.

Last but not least, Donna Davis Everhart, also wrote about unexplained phenomena. Sometimes The Twilight Zone is under our noses, and it doesn’t always smell great. 😉
But this week we celebrate Donna’s upcoming book. YAY! Such thrilling news!!!

Table Seven

Lana shows up.

“May I sit here?” she asks. She sits down at my table in Movieing café before I manage to tell her that I’m writing. “I’ll drink a cup of coffee then I’ll leave,” she says and doesn’t stop talking.

Two hours and three cups of coffee later, she is still there, talking.

I put my laptop in its case.

“Leaving already?” she asks innocently.

“I have to write,” I reply.

She seems to regret taking my time. “This will not repeat itself,” she promises.

A couple of weeks later, I see her at Movieing again. “I won’t bother you today,” she announces. Yan, a man in his seventies, is sitting at a table next to mine. She sits at his table first; then she asks him if it’s OK.

“Sure,” he replies. She turns to me and starts to talk.

I put my laptop in its case.

“Don’t leave because of me,” she says. Yan’s friends have just arrived. She turns to them and talks endlessly.

I go to the park to meditate. It’s dark and deserted.

A man is yelling.

Turning around, I spot a couple walking at a small distance from me. The woman walks behind the man; head down, shoulders slumped, saying nothing. Then she sits on a bench. He is standing, facing her, yelling.

Do something.

I walk towards them. “Hi, my name is Lilac,” I say in a friendly tone, “I just want to make sure you are OK.”

The man stops yelling. I stretch out my hand. He shakes it.

I turn to the woman. “Are you OK?”

“No,” she replies.

“Would you like me to sit here?”

She nods.

I sit next to her. She holds my hand.

They seem to be in their mid to late twenties. He has soft eyes and a pleasant appearance. But maybe that’s true for serial killers as well. I remind him that men tend to be taller than women and have big voices. And that it can be intimidating. “You scared me when you were yelling.”

“You scared me too,” his girlfriend says.

“I’m sorry,” he says and sounds genuine. “I didn’t realize I was scaring you.”

“Then talk about your feelings instead of yelling. Tell, don’t show.” I’ve never thought I’d get to say the latter to anyone. He seems to like my idea. Then he asks his girlfriend if she is ready to leave. His tone is soft. She stands up.

I turn to her. “You don’t have to leave.”

“I know. But I feel much better now.” She smiles. “Thanks for your help.”

I go back to meditating. When I turn around, I see them leaving the park. Hugging and smiling, they are waving at me.

I try my luck at Movieing again. Lana is gone. I sit at table seven. A published author sits there during the day. It’s a sturdy corner table indoors, which ensures no interactions.

At least that’s what I thought.

Eddie shows up. “I saw you walking in.”

“I didn’t see you.” I say. “Sometimes I have my head in the clouds.”

“All of you is in the clouds.” He grins. “I’ll sit with you for a while.”

Oh no.

He opens his laptop and starts working.

At least he doesn’t talk.

“It’s after midnight,” he says at some point. “Let’s go.”

“I’ll stay a little longer.”

He looks disappointed.

He holds a bag with huge oranges from his parents’ village.

“That looks very heavy,” I say.

“Not anymore.”

I don’t get his response.

Shortly after he leaves, I close my laptop lid. He left a huge orange for me behind it.

When I walk outside, the air is cold and fresh, and I hear loud and cheerful music. Then dozens of skaters dressed in colorful and bright clothes appear out of nowhere. They pass by me, rapidly.

Sometimes I feel like I’m in an Almodovar movie. Or making a guest appearance in a Coen brothers’ flick. Either way, the red carpet has never seemed closer.

The Female James Bond

Eddie gives me his business card. “Call me,” he says.

This was unexpected. Somehow guys seem to sense that I’m like an urban Dalai Lama. They don’t come on to me often (unless drunk) even on FB. But the latter might have to do with having a profile picture that says, “Kindness is the cure” or “We love refugees.”

On the other hand, I have a friend who never posts pictures of herself, only of beautiful scenery. Still, guys on FB tell her that she is stunning and that they have fallen in love with her. Many even offer to fly across the world just to meet her.

Being a regular at Movieing, my favorite café, I chat with everyone. No business cards involved. Occasionally someone says, “Write down my phone number.” Or, “Come over to my apartment.”

“But why?” I ask. “We always see each other here anyway.” I guess no guy wants to explain why, and that’s the end of it.

The same goes for Eddie who is also a regular. Instead of “Call me,” he might as well say, “Let’s mate” or “Let’s reproduce,” which also includes mating (or the sperm bank). Maybe he’d rather say, “Let’s see if we are romantically compatible.” But that’s less likely. Either way, I’m a nun. Who wants to have to discuss that with a stranger?

Although it did come up with a drunk guy who came on to me yesterday. I bet he recalls nothing. Not that there’s much to recall.

“I’m a nun,” I said.

“It can’t be true,” he said repeatedly.

I get that a lot.

People take appearances too seriously, which brings up my friend Frank.

“Saying hello from East Germany,” was Frank’s first FB message. In his profile picture, he was sitting by a pool in a bathing suit, a gorgeous guy with a friendly smile. We started to chat and didn’t stop for three years.

His initial profile picture was probably taken two decades ago. In more recent pictures, his hair wasn’t black. It was red. But hey, I also dyed my hair red once. It actually looked pretty hot.

Then he posted pictures of himself and his best friend. The body language said, “We are a couple.” I invited both of them to Tel Aviv. He invited me to East Germany. It was never simply “Germany.”

Now I’m glad I didn’t go. He probably would have locked me in a cellar and tried to get state secrets out of me.

For me, friendship is forever: a life of love and loyalty. True, my first best friend joined forces with the class’s evil queen. I lost the only supporter I had for my plan to rescue our out-of-control class along with the world in general, winning the cutest boy’s heart in the process.

Like a female James Bond.

There were others after her. But I don’t harbor bad feelings.

Frank wanted me to send him pictures of the park I meditate in. Maybe he thought that “meditation” was a code name for my nocturnal meetings with the head of the Mossad.

Why else in a political debate we had, would he have accused me of being a Mossad agent?

Shocked, I looked at his timeline and saw new information there. He was no longer a Conflict Resolution Consultant (which he seemed pretty good at, judging by his past advice to me). Instead, he’d finished some Russian military academy with honors.

Then he blocked me.


But you know what? For three years, Frank was a great friend.

As for Eddie, once he gets over the business-card shtick, I’m sure we’ll become great friends as well.

Either way, no matter the heartbreaks, love always wins…because it never leaves my heart.

Like an Urban Dalai Lama

Tel Aviv is small compared to NYC, for example, but it definitely has an urban vibe. From clubs to bars, cafés and restaurants, there are many places to hang until the small hours of the night. As for being like the Dalai Lama, I have a few years’ experience as a New Age Nun, which is my term for choosing a spiritual lifestyle and having an addiction to makeup…

That said, the way I react to injustices may get me out of the list of folks even remotely resembling the Dalai Lama—if there were such a list.

But I do focus on “seeing others as souls”—using Ram Dass’ words—and I love people. Devoted to daily meditation in the park, I send good thoughts and blessings to those going through wretched times on our planet. Plus I’m always ready to rescue others (whether they want it or not, but that’s for another post). And I really, really want everybody to be happy. Including you.

So back to Movieing, my favorite café in Tel Aviv. It’s after midnight, and I’m sitting at the counter with my laptop. Good music is playing in the background. It’s time to go to the bar upstairs and say hello to Adam, a nice guy I befriended here last summer. He came in a while ago with two of his friends, Joy and Sarah. I clicked with them immediately.

It’s packed upstairs. Adam and his friends are sitting by the bar, and I stand next to Adam. A guy whom none of us seems to know is sitting at the far end of the bar next to Joy. He keeps asking me to come over and talk to him as well.

I decline politely.

After hearing what everybody is doing, I tell them that I’m writing.

“Are you writing a book?” Joy asks.

“I’d rather call it my project nonsense,” I say in my usual low-key fashion, “so as not to jinx it. I’m at the editing stage.”

We chat for a while, and I’m about to leave.

“I would buy any book if your picture is on the cover,” the guy none of us seems to know says out of the blue.

“Me too,” Joy says.

“Me too,” Sarah says.

“Me too,” Adam chimes in.

I thank them humbly and go home. But I can’t avoid arriving at the following conclusions:

1. The best place to sell books is in bars.

2. People will buy my book if my picture is on the cover and they are drunk.

3. Despite my “nun-ness,” I can still get a boyfriend. At least in bars.

To be frank, I’m not fond of cameras unless they take pictures of cats. If I ever get to walk the red carpet, I will probably be the only one wearing jeans and ducking and dodging the cameras. But this is different, and I’m going to take a selfie right now. The blurrier the better.

You will find my novel at your local bar next week. Make sure to drink a double scotch, no ice, before reading it. You’ll have a blast, guaranteed.