by added on 1 July 2015, Comments Off on Happiness , filed under Artistic Process (Israel)

So these are my favourite shorts. I bought them for ten shekels (about $3 CDN) on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv from a very nice and super patient shop owner whose name is Happiness. I must’ve been there about three hours trying on a whole wack of shorts and T’s because Happiness was having a liquidation sale and the weather had turned from winter to summer. Since I arrived in January and it was already May, I had to beef up my suitcase with some clothes for hot weather.

Not too long after, my favourite shorts started tearing at the seams. By then I had moved from Givatyme to Herzlyia. In a genuine effort to save my favourite shorts, I wandered up one of the main arteries in town looking for a seamstress. Within two blocks of my quest, I found a French tailor who had set up shop in a strip plaza. At first, I was a bit shy to wander in and ask a seasoned tailor, who was working with fine woolen fabrics, if he would repair my cheap linen shorts. He looked up at me from behind the counter, welcomed me in with a smile, and we started chatting. On a stool in the waiting area, about a foot to the right of me, sat an old man and his dog. He looked about eighty-five.

In a thick French accent, the tailor asked,

Where are you from?

—- Canada.

Do you speak French?

—- No, not really. Sorry.

Why not? Don’t they speak French in Canada?

—- I’m from Ontario. They speak French in Quebec.

My English is not too good. I speak French.

—- Your English sounds good to me!

What do you think of Israel?

—- I think the police are corrupt and useless in this country. There is nobody to call for help. They should tell all the police to go home and use the money for healthcare and education. How long have you lived in Israel?

Two years.

—- You made aliyah from France?


—- How do you like it? Business good? Are you happy here?

No. You are right. The police are corrupt and this is a lawless country. There is no respect for the law in Israel. Not what we thought it would be.

—- Nahon? Who do you call for help if you get robbed or beaten? 

There is nowhere to go.

The tailor looked at me sadly, his eyes swimming in disillusionment. I imagined him packing his life – his family, his home – and moving back to France. What a pain!

Then the old man piped up, “I fought in three wars and in the past thirty years this country has really changed. There’s no saving it. Israel needs to be swept into the sea and we need to start over.” And as he said that, he swung his cane toward me, moved it in a smooth arch over my head, and pointed it out the window.