Step-by-Step: Making Aliyah to Israel

Documenting the very personal process of making Aliyah (immigration to Israel) by one very atypical Israeli-American girl. Aliyah on 17, August, 2005. Roadmap: What do you mean there's no roadmap?! Hang on, we're in for a bumpy ride! Ole!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

So the taxi driver. This man is now responsible for two sleepless nights because, having not slept and then slept until early afternoon, I am very non-sleepy now. I'm still trying to figure out what this guy was thinking. The idea of a terrorist of any kind is certainly no joking matter. The idea of a Palestinian terrorist is really no joking matter. Not in this city. Not coming from someone who is from Kuwait.

Not coming from someone who, after being told by the taken-aback passenger that this really is not something to joke about, responds with "but of course I'm joking" but then proceeds to launch into a tirade against Sharon and the corrupt and evil Israeli government. Okay.

Until I had the dream I didn't realize how much this was bothering me.

I'm trying to figure out why he would say this. People often do things that are counter-intuitive and that end up hurting themselves as a result: for instance, the rude waitress who, while depending on tips, acts rude and thus...gets nada for her work. I've had more rude and/or inefficient cab drivers than I can count who rude themselves out of what would have been a much more generous tip. People often poke fun at themselves, their nationality, their religion and so forth.

But having someone who is quite obviously arabic smile and introduce themselves as a Palestinian terrorist is sort of like having your son's new boyscout leader smile and introduce himself as a child molester.

Then after telling you, ha ha just kidding, he goes on to set you at ease by waxing rhapsodic over the physique of (insert cute male child actor here) or argues with intensity about the innocence of Michael Jackson. Righty-roo.

Do I think this guy is a terrorist of any kind? No. Well, 99% no. Here's my problem with the 1% of doubt (aka a little knowledge can do bad things to your dreams): people are highly motivated to make others aware of important aspects of their identity, particularly when these aspects are somewhat recently acquired (see Gollwitzer, PM, & Wicklund, RA (1985). Self-symbolizing and the neglect of
others' perspectives. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology for instance. *grin*) or when they pertain to self-aspects that are not easily in evidence to others. Should someone say or do something to suggest that we might not measure up on some identity-important quality we will tend to subsequently tell anyone and everyone (no matter how situationally inappropriate) how great we are on just that aspect. So, if you tell a young medical student that a test he took indicates he really isn't cut out for medicine, he will manage to insert comments into conversations with other, totally unrelated people from the person who told him this and who have no idea that he even took such a test, that "I'm in medical school, you know" or all about how great he is doing in med school or all the things that indicate he will be the best damn doctor ever and so forth. We also do this if it is not us specifically who were criticized but a group to which we belong.

So I 99% think this guy was an idiot with a capital I. In the cab I thought he was an idiot, when I got out of the cab I thought woooo bizarro and then went on with my busy day without giving it another thought. But the doozy of a dream last night tells me that that 1% is niggling away at me.


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