On my way home from my Shiurim this evening, I came upon a group of French women taking pictures of their fellow homegirl in front of a jeep decorated with pink and metallic bows. It was obvious this was their last night of their friend being single as they oooh’d and ahhh’d with every picture. As I strolled by, one of the girls asked if I could take their group picture. I paused as they huddled together in contented happiness. As I walked off with my sentimental grin, I heard them oooh’ing and ahhh’ing at the group photo I just took. I clicked my tongue at the idiocracy of it: Oh Ginrod!! widowed girlfriend, looking into the digital lenses of someone else’s fortune.
Ever since the comments of the girl last week (see last blog), I’ve been turning the ladle of thought in my mind of the idiocracy of Susi in Israel. I’m a person that seeks constantly to define myself, to know what I stand for so I don’t fall for anything. To come to understand myself as a whole so I don’t surprise myself further down the line. I purge my thoughts into a bowl and stew it around until I make sense of it all. Could it be i’m a Zionist? Very well so. But if I just came to know Israel in the last couple years, do I deserve the right to assume I belong to Israel just like every other person that was born to belong here?
Every month when I was a child, the Philipino community in Tulsa would have a potluck gathering. It was quite the custom to teach the young girls traditional Philipino dances such as the E-tik e-tik and to participate in group dances …particularly Tinikling. The dance consists of two people hitting parallel bamboo poles on the ground, raising them, then hitting the poles against each other in the air with a rhythm. Meanwhile, at least one dancer hops over and around the clashing poles, imitating the tikling bird dodging bamboo rice traps set by farmers.
Like Philipino stick fighting in the backyard of our house, it was normal for Bry and I to have a concept of this dance at an early age, as young adults- we got hip hop with our moves, never catching our feet in the bamboo poles.
White people cannot do the Tinikling dance. They break their ankles.
During these dances at our Philipino potlucks, we would sit cross legged, watching the people sway in and out of the poles. After they completed their rounds, someone else would jump up to replace them. I remember one of my aunties telling me with a scandelous smirk: “Soooosi!! grab dat white mahn over der. Tell him to dance!!” . Inevitably the white man would attempt to dance in between the poles- relegating any graceful movement the Philipino women cast into the dance.
We’d watch the foreign man..tripping over the poles, breaking his white man sweat, squeaking like a trapped mouse. We would calmly sit there, big smiles across our face, encouraging him. “White man dance WHITe man DAnce ahahaha” our brains would scream. We calmly sat there. White people cannot do the Tinikling dance. They break their ankles.
Am I the white man attempting to do the Tinikling dance here in Israel?? I thought to myself today. Could the girl from last week be right?? Can I become something I wasn’t born into? Do I have the right to not limit my attachment to Israel in the death of an IDF soldier, but also in a spiritual and passionate way? Can I manage to raise my future family in a way that gives them a positive identity? Or will I always be the awkward white man nervously hopping through bamboo poles of Judaism, eventually getting some of the motions down but never having the grace of the ones that had the dance in their blood?
Then I remember: yes yes i’ve seen white girls shake their rump like soul was genetically programmed into it. I’ve seen white men play the blues. Eminem made his mark (did I just write that??). Perhaps I was never the white man nervously dancing, waiting to break his ankle. Maybe I am the white man who could play the blues all along. I suppose I should stop focusing on the idiocracy of it all, and keep the smug smirk on my face. We have no idea what red carpet is being laid out for us, and usually it’s only when we glance at the path of memories behind us that all the puzzle pieces seem to fit. It’s not an idiocracy at all, it’s simply the red carpet of the Ginrod life. Ain’t it now??
Powered by Facebook Comments