Saturday, February 22, 2003

So unnecessary
Bish and I rarely go out in the evenings. We have found that even if we make plans, by the time we manage to leave, we are both so exhausted from our long day, that we don’t really enjoy ourselves. And, after a late night, the next day is hell. I have to be at work at 7am. Besides, we can never agree on what to do. He would rather go out for a meal. I hate eating late. I love a good play. He’d rather watch the basketball on TV.

Every now and again, I decide we should invest in what they call here our “zoogiyoot”, one of those silly words that dime psychologists and other idiots discuss with self-importance on morning television. I think. I’m never home in the morning and if I am, I’ve better things to do than watch someone showing how to do flower arrangements or introducing the latest natural cure for warts, not that these subjects are not worthy and might even be interesting to some. Anyway, zoogiyoot would probably translate literally as something in the realm of “Couple-dom” or “Couple-ism”. The dictionary translates it as “intimacy” but that’s all wrong. It just doesn’t manage to catch the ludicrous aspect of the concept of zoogiyoot.

So, as I was saying, I occasionally think it might be a good idea for us to do something together (Doesn’t that sound more sensible than “investing in our couple-ism?”). The last time was quite a while ago. I suggested it to Bish, who agreed, reluctantly. Bish used to work as a waiter. He more than exhausted any hunger he might have had for any sort of nightlife before he even met me. I perused “Achbar Ha’ir” (= City Mouse), which gives information about Tel Aviv nightlife, and managed to find a familiar name of a rock musician who had a show on trying out some sort of classical arrangements of his repertoire. Relieved to find someone who was actually born in those far off days when I was young and fancy free, and young men used to take me out to try to impress me, I decided that that was a suitable choice. Do I sound like I miss that, by the way? Well, I don’t. First of all there were not all that many of them, young men, that is. And considering the pressure of the whole thing and what terrible torture most of the dates turned out to be, if I can rack my brains that far back, I’m quite happy to be out of it.

But I digress, again. Bish suggested we go with another couple. So much for a romantic evening, working on our couple-ism. On the night in question, the babysitter arrived, clothes were flung around until I was happy (what do you wear to these things these days?) and after some further messing about (our friends’ babysitter was late) we were finally off. When we got to the place there was an enormous queue. Lucky we had a reservation. We eventually managed to get inside. It was a musty, low-roofed basement, down scores of winding stairs and we were shown to our table, in a far-flung, hardly accessible corner. I immediately needed to go to the bathroom, naturally, which meant fighting my way back up the winding stairs, this time against the flow. Later, back in my seat, as the basement slowly but surely filling up to sardine capacity (smoked sardines at that, no adherence to no smoking laws in this place), the thought crossed my mind that there were no emergency exits that I could see, and we were pretty far away from the winding staircase. I’m a bit claustrophobic at the best of times, but this time my slightly panicky feelings seemed justified. We were in a firetrap. I soon remedied the problem by downing a nice big glass of wine and forgot about it. The show was great.

Last night, watching the horrific pictures of that nightclub catching fire, reawakened those unspoken fears that I felt that evening. You could see that the cameraman who was filming it all realized what was happening long before anyone else, because he was gradually edging himself to the exit, away from the fire. But everyone else seemed oblivious. Maybe the cameraman was the only sober person in the place.

Just people who wanted to have a good time. Aren’t there enough dangers out there that we can’t control, that such a thing should happen?