Sadly, when faced with an immigrant making a formal complaint about a perceived insult (even when the insult can't possibly be open to perception and/or interpretation), the default response of many people in this country is, "You must not have understood...", or "That was not my intention...".
This is doubly frustrating for a non-native Hebrew speaker because even in cases where the insult is so glaring as to be beyond misinterpretation, the immigrant is often expected to feign difficulty with the language in order to allow the insulter to climb down from their tree and save face.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
RivkA's death has really driven home a point. Yes, the blogosphere really is a community. Of friends, compatriots, supporters, rivals, and everything in between.
On Friday at her shiva -- how odd, and empty, to be in RivkA's home, without her there! -- this topic came up in discussion with her mother and father. Like my own parents, they could not understand at first what would possess a person to write (and especially in RivkA's case, so openly and personally) to a vitual audience, "somewhere out there." After a time, they came to appreciate the regular updates, her shared thoughts, and especially, her very real blogosphere friends.
In RivkA's case, she was a source of information and inspiration to many, many people. Her writing brought people together. As I told her mother on Friday, whenever I read RivkA's blog, I felt the acute presence of others reading alongside me, a tangible community of supporters and friends.
This afternoon I had one of those -- dare I say it -- "Israeli" experiences... and there was Treppenwitz, right there behind me. You can read his whole piece here (recommended), but meanwhile, here's the the part that hit home:
Ahh, so true, I nodded as I read along. And so sad, so frustrating. We've all felt this at some point, but for me today's experience took the cake. For the first time in a long time, I felt a tinge of regret for having moved here.
Here I was, standing in front (underneath, really -- it was cranked up on the repair lift) of my decade-old Beloved Renault, the recent victim of an unfortunate but -- thank God -- harmless accident,* with the insurance assessor trying to convince me that he had not listed the obvious damage to the ABS on the insurance claim because I hadn't initially reported it (I had) and maybe I hadn't understood him properly.
Oh uh, Mister Assessor. Now you've done it. Deep breath, short pause. Think of Treppenwitz, and Rev Up Your Engines.
I let the assessor have it. With a capital IT: Don't you dare pull that one. I understood you perfectly. And you know it.
He yelled, I countered (two rounds). He relented. I got the repair approved.
Thank you, David Bogner, for reminding me that I do understand. Perfectly.
Keep the balance,
* Wouldn't ya know it? Two days prior to the accident, I'd signed on a trade-in deal to have someone pay me to take the Beloved Renault off my hands. Murphy's Law, still valid. Or maybe just Freud. Oy.