Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My mind has turned to mush

Since the war began, my mind has turned to jelly. I seem to have a very difficult time deciding which bus to take to Jerusalem, and what time or how to go back home. I can't decide whether or not to stay outside and clean up the leaves that have overtaken the garden, or if I should keep the doors and windows open or shut in the house.

The reason for this severe difficulty is not dementia or a blod clot in my brain. At least not as far as I know.

The reason is the war.

The constant sirens announcing the onslaught of the constant rockets and the constant booms, one right after another, so close and so loud have turned my mind into mush. I begin one thing only to find myself starting another. I start a sentence, lose my train of thought, and then begin another, completely different, conversation. I feel myself holding back tears many times during the day, but am no longer sure who or what I am upset about. I try writing this blog, which usually seems to almost write itself, and find that I don't know what I want to say, or how I want to say it.

Yesterday, when my oldest son and I tried to go from Beer Sheva to Jerusalem by bus, I came very, very close to freaking out. On the way from the kibbutz to Beer Sheva, I was pressed against the door, ready to roll out of the car and take cover if a siren went off. When we got to Beer Sheva, we saw the bus that had been hit by the rocket just a few minutes before we got there. At the bus station, the 9:10 bus to Jerusalem never showed up, and we had two sirens. The bus station, which has now turned into a huge construction site, does not have available safe rooms, unless you are standing right next to one. We - a hundred of us or so - ran into one of the new rooms that they are building. It had a roof, but plaster walls. There is no floor, and there are construction materials all around. Nothing safe about this safe room. When we went to inquire about the bus that was take us away from this nightmare, that never appeared, the answer we got from the Egged administration was: "We don't know. Sorry. Yes, we agree that its chutzpa that no bus came and that we're not sending another one."

Yes, yesterday morning did a lot to bolster my sense of security.

A bus came that stops at every bus stop from Beer Sheva to Jerusalem, but I refused to get on. This ride would have taken an hour more than the express bus AND it would have had the extra advantage of driving through many of the places that are being constantly  hit by rockets these days. No way was I going to get on a bus that was sure to put me in danger for 2.5 hours.

I felt trapped: I so desparately wanted to get away from this life-threatening madness, but couldn't get out! Since my mind had turned to jelly, I couldn't decide what to do: Should we look for a taxi-sherut that is going to Jerusalem, but is also, very likely to stop at different stations along the way dropping people off and picking up others? Should we get on a bus and go to Tel Aviv and from there get a bus to Jerusalem - making the whole ordeal twice as long? Should we give up and go back to the kibbutz that is under rocket attacks, and where we have no safe rooms?

I had an insight - for the first time in my life, I began to understand, just a tiny, tiny bit what the Gazans must feel during this war. What they must feel most days of their lives. They are trapped and can't get out. They are bombed, and have no safe rooms. They are cornered and cannot make a clear decision about what to do.

Yesterday, I truly understood the meaning of helplessness and fear, or what it means to be trapped.

My son and I eventually got on an express bus to Jerusalem and arrived safely after an hour and twenty minutes. When we were having lunch with my sister and niece at a cafe in Jerusalem, there was a siren when a rocket was fired toward Jerusalem.

Yesterday, while my mind was a jelly mold, I felt deep pain for myself, for other Israelis and for Gazans.

Let's see what today will bring.

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