Maine: The Way Life Should Be

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This afternoon, three lovely soldiers showed up at my house. My settler house. They came to interview me. They were quite lovely. From three different cities in the States, these boys all moved here and are starting off their lives by serving in the army. Today they wanted to talk to a settler. And there I was. Settling.

I don’t come by it naturally, being a settler. There is an awkwardness that I have about it. There is an apologetic part of me when the conversation turns to my life choices. I am, in my heart, a very liberal Canadian (as all Canadians seem to be) so this seems counterintuitive, doing something that makes people angry, hurt, uncomfortable. But here I am sitting in my quite lovely home with some quite lovely soldiers talking it through.

Today was literally a day of sticks and stones. Stabbings and attempted stabbings in Kiryat Gat, Jerusalem and Petach Tikvah (and maybe Maaleh Adumim in the past few minutes). Some sort of attempted lynching (do we even use that word?) on the Tekoa road. All in all it seems like the perfect day to throw in the towel. Just the littlest bit of research has told me that Maine has the lowest crime rate in all of America. And it has lighthouses. It’s looking pretty good to me now. Also not lost on me? The irony of Maine’s tagline: The Way Life Should Be. Hilarious.

In America, there’s a lot of talk about helicopter parenting. Parents who cannot separate and hover, taking control over the minutiae of their child’s life making sure they are on top of every detail. I’m looking to coin a new phrase. I’m no helicopter parent but I did call my son’s school principal to make sure that the right security measures are in place in their seemingly super unsafe school. How do you say — can you make sure my kid doesn’t get attacked while under your guidance? It’s all just the littlest bit bizarre.

I told those three soldiers a story this afternoon: During the second intifada as I was driving home from work one day my car got stoned. And I was sort of expecting it to happen, we all were in those days. But what I was most interested in was my reaction. I wondered would I suddenly feel rage, fury, anger? Would I feel unsafe? Betrayed? Aggressive? And here’s the truth, I just felt sad. As we all swerved around the rocks and kept driving, I just feel deeply and truly sad. It is definitely that sadness that sits with me tonight. (and fear, a nice healthy dose of fear.)

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