A week ago we flew for a week's vacation in France, a wonderful country with magical landscapes, wonderful food and many other positive things like Alain Delon, baguette, croissants and French kisses (and also less positive, like French showers).
The company was pleasant, the weather was warm, and the prices are relatively low compared to Israel's prey (a meal at a Michelin restaurant costs like a skewer in an industrial area adjacent to a garage that repairs Michelin tires).
As in all my trips abroad, and especially when we reach small villages and picturesque towns, I ask myself the same question: Would I live here?
I envy the addictive silence, the people who seem calm, but maybe it's just because I don't understand what they're talking about, and what sounds like a conversation about the history of impressionist painting to me is actually a quarrel between neighbors who are hurling painterly curses at each other.
I also enjoy the fact that I have no idea how to pronounce what is written on the signs that include a lot of unnecessary letters.
Have you ever tried to write Champs Elysees?
I suspect that the whole purpose of the unnecessary letters is to condescend and make us suffer from feelings of provincial inferiority.
The water in the streams in France is flowing, although this year a little less, and there is no trace of wars and operations there.
APCs and iron domes are not stationed throughout Provence, no one has the "Color Red" app on their cell phone, which to them must sound like something related to Picasso, the food markets have been running like clockwork for hundreds of years, with low prices and high quality. And the European cleanliness is enviable, like My mother, may peace be upon her, used to say: "May their name perish, how clean this place is."
I imagine the first lady and me leaving everything behind, and myself getting up every morning to the call of the French rooster, which is actually a pheasant, drinking coffee in the small piazza, reading news from the country on an iPad, and instead of taking it to heart - thinking how exotic it is there in the Middle East.
We met such an Israeli couple there, who have been living happily in Provence for several years now, and enjoy every moment cooking and outings as a couple.
Sounds tempting, but after a little deeper thought, I realized that if my wife spends two or three months in a French or Italian village with only me, and without friends and family, she will lose her patience and sanity, lock me in the basement, make me prosciutto and run away with the priest.
I'm also not at all sure that I myself am behind this romantic fantasy, mainly because as a person with no hobbies, who has no intention of starting to collect stamps or hunt frogs, it is not clear to me what they do there all day: I don't have a job there, there are no traffic jams, there is no one to yell at on the road , there is no shawarma, the tahini doesn't drip (with grain mustard it's not that), there are no taxi drivers to argue with about the situation, and above all there is nothing to complain about how shit everything is, because it's not my shit.
Except that then I won't be able to threaten that if it continues like this - I'm leaving the country, because I've already done that.
So we stay in Israel.
One evening in the south of France, some friends went to an outdoor classical music concert.
It was a lovely evening, the gifted pianist Nikolai Lugansky played well, and we all sat on fixed plastic chairs and indulged in the classical sounds accompanied by a soundtrack of chirping crickets.
As someone who has spent many years of his life on stages in cultural halls, concert halls, community centers and just questionable halls with a sound where even the crickets sound like Arthur Rubinstein - such an event is quite routine, and does not provide a reason for excitement one way or another, except that after a few minutes I suddenly felt sex Some kind of unexplained anxiety attack with slight suffocation, rapid breathing, a pounding heart, but at least with the knowledge that if it's anxiety - then it's better in France.
I thought it was only a matter of time before I passed out or just died.
The thought that I would spoil the concert for everyone, faint on some Frenchman's shoulder and dirty his Yves Saint Laurent jacket with my saliva, or be carried in a French ambulance to a French hospital with a French doctor who doesn't know "Islam" - didn't exactly lower the anxiety level My.
The knowledge that I was sitting in the fourth seat closest to the aisle, and that if I wanted to - I could run outside to breathe fresh air, encouraged me, but then something more serious happened.
During one of the very short breaks between the musical pieces, one of my friends decided to pamper me and switch places with me, so that "you can see the pianist's hands".
It will be said here that my friends are mistaken in thinking that I am such a fine player, that if I see what the gifted pianist does, I can later express an educated opinion about his technique or that it will contribute something to my musical abilities, without realizing that this is an idiot who knows five chords on a good day.
Worse than that, the gesture of the friend, who had already gone in my direction, forced me to switch places with him and move forward in a row away from the aisle, which further increased the feeling of anxiety.
I sat in front of the doppelganger pianist and imagined my death, and at the first opportunity I ran back to a chair near the aisle.
On the way out I notice a stranger looking for my gaze.
Israeli, of course.
"What's up, Nitsani? I was sitting not far from you and I saw that you were stressed about something. What happened?".
I answered him "what a little panic attack, but now I'm fine".
"The truth, don't be offended, but I was at your concert and I saw you play, like this guy was playing the piano now. Compared to you - I would also have an anxiety attack in your place."
Tonight we are celebrating (or at least celebrating) Tu Bab, Valentine's Day. One of our first promoters at the beginning, Amnon Tsavan, had an opportunity to organize an evening of concerts at Ampi Zemach on the banks of the Sea of Galilee, and he, together with the local council, decided to invent what was called for "Night of Love in the Plant" years.
The performances there had ups and downs.
In a place that was intended for two thousand people, they managed to cram six thousand teenagers full of hormones who slept in sleeping bags, and among the revelers they also watched rock concerts.
There were challenging years when the audience took the liberty of throwing non-empty beer cans on the stage, as a sign of joy or dissatisfaction, and there were also years when they simply did not come.
In one of the first years we performed there, the long kiss contest was decided.
This event lasted for several hours on stage while the bands performed.
I remember myself trying to play, when a couple of young competitors passionately kiss right in front of me and hide the audience and the band from me.
Regretfully, I left my position and gently moved them slowly to the side, God forbid to break them from their kiss, which must have already lasted two hours.
I hope they have since married and have five grandchildren.
If you also remember the event, contact me privately and I will invite the grandchildren to reenact.
If you didn't get married, I demand that you pay me one hundred thousand shekels, or I will look for documentation of the event and send it to your grandchildren.
Were we wrong?
We will fix it!
If you found an error in the article, we would appreciate it if you shared it with us