We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Saturday, November 12. 2005
To learn what this is all about, click on the Aliyah Diary category.
Whatever happened to L: or Why I moved back to Merkaz Klita
Aliyah Nov 3, 2005
Whom I meet. A decent, polite fellow, polite to others: to his mother
he has not a kindly word, barely a word at all; in our first meeting,
refuses to unlock his door to her entreaties. During my stay, she
telephones him frantically for such emergencies as: a burnt out light
bulb; a ventilator register out of her reach; an unplugged computer.
That she is unplugged, he can not help.
I am not of a mind to have beasts rubbing up against my body without
invitation. Cats do this, uninvited. I sit at breakfast on a stool,
legs up on the rungs to avoid cat rubbings. But, I am surprised one
morning to have a cat leap onto the dining table. As I should have
expected when I realized that his bowl of fresh morning tuna was on
the table. I eat warily, quickly. (I am also of a mind that this
woman exacts castration for feeding, so I stock my own victuals.) Am
done-in when, dish cat-licked clean, the feline, tail aloft, marches
over to my dish. Wants a sniff. This is too much for my stomach. I
request that when I am sure la table, L. will put the cat's dish on
the floor. Only when I am at the table, which I promise will be just
for morning coffee. She arches her back, L. that is, explaining that
the cat has become accustomed to eating from the table since it was
frightened by a dog who once inhabited the premises. I reply: no dog,
no table; just at breakfast. She tries to remove said feline, which
resists. Then she removes its empty dish and succeeds at dislodging
the cat. Who knows well enough to leap back up. I decamp.
Future breakfasts not as bad. Less cat hopping. But, one evening as
I step away from a treat on my dish to speak with L. and Gershon, a
delivery fellow, the cat is nosing my dish. L. sees; does nothing. I
state: no cat on the table while I dine (such as it is). She moves
into action, L. that is.
Then, one morning, after bowl-banging hour, I learn from L. how
useful are these cats. A dead cockroach lies beneath my stool, near
the table. Almost dead, a few twitches remaining. She follows the
line of my sight. Explains. She does not believe in poisons, even
poisons on such beings as cockroaches. She herself will only eat
organic vegetarian foods; no burnt flesh for her, she states
parenthetically, nods towards the flesh-laden side of my refrigerator
shelf. The cats, she announces with appreciation, catch and kill the
cockroaches. Well, she continues, doesn't kill them right away. Like
to damage them, then return to play with them for a day or so until
the roaches are good dead. Then L. will sweeep them into the garbage.
When, a few days later, I discover my room inhabited by two or so
cockroaches, she explains that since I do not permit the cats in my
room, I must suffer cockroaches; no poisons permitted. (At this
moment, I am thinking of poisons, but not for cockroaches.)
For some reason the next event was most disgusting for me, perhaps
because of the feline insousiance. I now wait to have coffee; wait
for after the morning "bowling" serenade; after I hear the front door
slammed against persistent cats, hear her retreat to her den and
shower running. Then I time my descent, my coffee, before I leave.
And this morning, as I drink coffee made from the special faucet with
filtered water that she insists I use, I see from the corner of my
eye, the faucet dribbling. And a cat standing on the sink edge,
lapping from the faucet. Its tail is upright, the end bent and
switching sharply to and fro, its ass in the dish drainer, winking,
kissing the silverware. I think there is some mistake here: L. forgot
to turn off the faucet and this feline is taking advantage. I shoo the
cat and turn off the faucet, caught in the act by a descending L. Who
explains, imperiously, that this cat is special; prefers its drink --
well, fresh -- from the faucet. Which L. turns on; doesn't really lick
the faucet -- she points -- only the water. Let him be.
I have seen this cat licking regions of its body with which I wish no
contact with my lips or other body parts. In fact, its twitching,
upright tail seemed to say: "Hey mister! Check out where my tongue's
been last." Even as it sits, its ass in the silverware, puckers its
rear hole at my once more for good measure, it winks again with its
But I say only, I will drink water from the regular faucet. This, I
learn later, irks L. as she feels that I am offending her cats, and
that I won't drink water boiled in her teapot, using instead an
electric water kettle. I add something medical about coccydiomycoses
carried by cat shit; she counters that she thought this was only fatal
to pregnant women and infants. I demur, being neither of the two, I
may not be vulnerable to fatality; just don't want cat-shitted
It was the night before the last, that I left my door ajar to use the
facilities adjoining, take a whiz, that is. Long enough for a cat to
enter my room and entangle itself with my computer cords. The cat
liberates itself quickly enough to retreat, but I spend the evening in
pajamas, untangling what's been done.
In the morning, passing a dead cockroaches on the stairs down from my
room past L.'s room, I sit on the kitchen stool, knees up to avoid
cat-rubbings, drink my coffee, unlicked by cat tongues. I ask L. what
we might do about keeping cats from entering my room when I step out
Here she becomes unhinged. Accuses me of being a cat murderer.
Whips her arm to the door; insists I leave before murdering her cats.
I, a bit taken aback, ask that she refund the six months rent I paid
in advance. She, approaches, hisses --this non-practiciing attorney
-- "You have no lease. Good luck, mister." She returns to
screaming, accusing, insists she must protect her pussy. I stand to
And, she hits me. Not terribly hard. Kind of between a slap and a punch.
Odd my response. I calmly explain, as I slowly reach for my cell
phone, that I will now call the police as I leave the house.
She, brushing her thatch over her face, cries forlornly: woe, she is
a lawyer, this will ruin her, how can I do this.
I exit as the scene continues.
Some hours this takes, the denoument. I call my friend, Michelle, in
the mayor's office, who offers to call the police for me. She drops
her children at school and heads to meet me, telling me to return to
the house, retrieve my computer. The door is locked.
The police arrive with a worn look. The cat lady, they say, oh yes,
the cat lady. They deal with her gingerly, not exactly kindly, but
carefully. Get her to agree to open the door, to let me move out.
She admits to having slapped me, but only lightly and only to keep me
from striking her. Explains to them that they should know that she has
been attacked by men before. I was just another one of those luggards.
They nod quietly, ask me to leave so they can speak with her alone.
One exits and asks me firmly to be "wise, not right" and leave. He
got her to agree to return some of the rent in the form of a check,
which I cannot cash for a month, since she has already spent the six
months rent I had paid. They very reluctantly let me sign a written
complaint, even as they complain that it is they who have to face her
Michelle offers to stay while I move so that there are no
allegations. I pack wickedly fast, make an exit. Find refuge for the
weekend in Jerusalem.
The next Sunday, Michelle finds a place for me in the Merkaz Klita.
The check? Could have been farmed on a rubber plantation in Brazil.
Could have played squash with it.
Copyright N. Szajnberg, 2005
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
Keep these coming, Dr. S. We are enjoying your slices of life.
Agree with above.
What you are doing has always been an idle dream of mine, but I know that I will never do it.
Thanks for your comments above.
I agree that Nathan renders these moments well, especially the little things that he observes. He is a shrink, after all.