Not Fit for Tel-Aviv
For the first time since I returned from my beloved South Africa, I can rest. We wandered there for eight months, then landed in London, stayed two weeks in isolation in a Dutch barge and another three weeks in a small canal boat. We returned to Israel and entered a quarantine hotel for two weeks, followed by a brief stay in Ramat Gan. Now, a month since we landed - we have a flat in Tel-Aviv. Although only for three months, but for us it's a lot. So to all the men who ever asked me, now I have an answer - yes, it hurts to fall from heaven.
T immediately began moving furniture around, rearranging the apartment, exploring potential cupboards and sockets. And I, unable to see anyone work without lending a helping hand, stood aside with hands in my pockets and made constructive comments.
Although Tel-Aviv is a beautiful and lively city - and by beautiful I mean falling apart, and by lively I mean as noisy as a Jewish family's holiday meal - but at least the people are rude.
I'm glad to have the chance to feel Tel-Aviv at times like this, because what is more Tel-Avivian than people with a reason to protest. And what better reason to protest than a global pandemic handled poorly?
But in all seriousness, I'm not going to become a typical Tel-Avivian who tells political jokes. We already have sixty-one of them in parliament, and they're not that funny. I prefer to write about the day I went out for a cycle.
Caution: drama ahead.
It's been months since my daily cycles in Prince Albert, South Africa, and I'm not fit. Days of isolation, what feels like a million apartment moves and flights in between while trying to maintain a writing routine, make it quite challenging to find leisure time for physical fitness or general sanity.
T and I rented a couple of bikes and went for a cycle along the beach. At first, it was fine, the weather was nice, and I took a deep salty inhale. I chatted with T and looked at the view. It only took me five minutes to start panting like my grandmother as she made her way from the kitchen to the living room and crashed on the couch. I sweated in places I didn't know could sweat. Instead of fainting like a normal person, I continued to pedal on while my muscles screamed for help and my lungs, which are already full of tar from daily smoking, went down to my knees and asked for mercy. We were riding from the Old North to Neve-Tzedek when I saw a cold water cooler and almost toppled over.
An enchanting mirage. My body stopped as if out of instinct. It managed to drag itself with the bike to the blessed cooler, and I drank eagerly as T disappeared in the distance. The water went down my throat and into my arid body, scattering life and joy everywhere. The sea was blurry, the surfers blended in with the water's foam, and I couldn't tell them apart. "I'm sorry body," I said, in my heart of course, because if I tried to speak, I would die, "I didn't know I was doing you so much harm."
But I say this to my body at every hangover, every failed attempt to do push-ups and every bite of ice cream that freezes my brain. Each time it also knows I'm lying.
Dear body, this post is dedicated to you if you can find in my heart the grace to accept what I'm going to say. Please, pull yourself together and stop being such a loser. A few hours of flights and a bit of isolation and you're already crashing on the asphalt and making me look bad in front of big-city hipsters who spend most of their days doing fitness or fitness training in public parks? You disgrace me and have to shape up, literally.
Like after every workout, I felt terrific when I got home and crashed on the couch in a perfect imitation of my grandmother, may she have a good, long life. That was nonsense, I told myself. I could double the distance tomorrow. The gears on the bike were not operating right. The road was unstable. I was distracted by the sea. I try to live in harmony of body and mind and lie to both equally. But there's one thing all three of us know, and it's that I'm probably not fit for Tel-Aviv.