Like any good Jew I have my doctors on speed dial. (Or in Iphone speak, “favorites.”) That’s why yesterday as I was driving away from my favorite salad place with a salad in my lap taking bites as I drive and I felt a pain in my bite, I knew that Dr. Gandin was only a phone call away.
I’m on the phone with Laurie, his secretary, describing my tooth pain in detail when all of a sudden I notice a police officer on his motorcycle flashing his lights, no siren.
”Laurie, I think I’m getting pulled over. I’ll call you back.”
I find a spot to pull over, quickly going through the list in my head “My plates are on (took me a while since it was a new car), my stickers are up to date ( I had lost the ones they sent in the mail with the new plates and had to get them replaced, ugh), I wasn’t speeding, I was using a handsfree device… What could it be? Is eating illegal? Could he even see the groovy avocado salad in my lap?
ME: “Was I doing something wrong, officer?”
OFFICER: “Did you not see the pedestrian in the crosswalk?”
ME: “No, I really didn’t.”
OFFICER: “Well there was a pedestrian in the crosswalk and the car behind you didn’t go so they saw him.”
ME: “Maybe I didn’t notice because I have a terrible tooth ache and was on the phone with my dentist.”
Is that a smile I see cracking? Yup, he smiles and turns his head. I swear I thought he was going to give me a warning.
OFFICER: “License and registration please.”
Ugh. I give it to him. He goes back to his motorcycle and I see him pull out the dreaded ticket pad. You know the ones where they don’t tell you how much the ticket is going to be, but instead MAIL you the fee because they don’t want you to go balistic on a cop when he tells you it’s going to be $300 plus traffic school. (I’m guessing on the $300, it’s probably gonna be more…)
As he’s writing the ticket I realize that my license has my old address on it. I have a supplemental card with my new address that goes with my license, but how do I tell him that? I’ve watched enough Unsolved Mysteries, America’s Most Wanted, Dateline, 48 Hours, etc. etc. to know you do NOT get out of the car unless instructed to when pulled over.
So I sit and wait as empathetic and nervous drivers slowly go by me. He returns.
ME: “Are you reeeeally gonna give me a ticket?”
He’s laughing now.
OFFICER: “Yes, unfortunately I have to. But let me tell you why. In the last month two people have been hit there so they put me on that post because of that very reason.”
ME: “But I drive like a grandma.”
OFFICER: “Except in crosswalks.”
Should we go on the Road?
And then I see it. I don’t know how I missed it before. The sun hit it in almost a g-dly type way… his name tag. COHEN. I’m in.
ME: “Come on Cohen!”
OFFICER: “You’re killing me.” Hands me the ticket to sign.
ME: “Oh I forgot to give you this.” I hand him the card with my new address.
OFFICER: “Why didn’t you tell me?”
I told him I knew better than to get out of the car.
OFFICER: “You coulda yelled.”
ME: ” “What was I gonna say? Hey You!!”
OFFICER: “Yes! Why not?”
He’s not relenting. I have to sign.
ME: “Can I draw and unhappy face? I’m gonna have to go to traffic school aren’t I?”
I notice his wedding ring.
OFFICER: “Yeah, but do it online. I did it online before I was a cop like thirteen years ago. It’s not that bad.”
Is he insinuating one doesn’t have to go when you are a cop? Interesting…
ME: “They are SO bad. I even did the comedy one a couple of years ago and it was terrible.”
OFFICER: “I’m sorry.”
I think he really is. I finally sign. And slowly take the ticket…
ME: “Alright, alright.”
He didn’t say a word about the salad.
OFFICER: “You have a good day. And good luck with the tooth.”
He has a cute smile, but too short for me.
ME: “Thanks. You too.”
It’s a right of passage for every Jewish woman when the day comes that she turns into a matchmaker. Whether by design or just happenstance, ladies, it happens to each of us. Either someone will seek us out, or we just wont be able to help ourselves!
See the thing about Jewish women is that we know other Jewish women and if you’re lucky, we know attractive Jewish women. But without a doubt we definitely know single Jewish women.
So it should not have been a shock to me when an old friend, correction, an old Hebrew school friend, called me the other day to tell me that the time has come to make finding a relationship a priority and that he would appreciate it if I would set him up with someone that he might like. The only qualifications - she must be Jewish and not in the entertainment industry. (The second being of equal importance, this is LA after all.)
When I first heard his request I thought it odd for a second. Yes he and I had spoken of his dating (or lack thereof) woes in the past, but why did he think to call me to set him up? And then like a flash, I knew.
He was probably on the phone with his mother ( a lovely Israeli woman I remember from Hebrew school carpools) who predictably asked him if he’s seeing anyone. (If the answer was yes, she would follow with “Is she Jewish?”) But when he obviously answered no, there was something a bit more somber in his voice. Unlike times before, when annoyance would be the undertone, she heard something different this time. She heard a longing, a lonliness. It was time, he was ready. So, like a good Jewish mother, she picked up on this and the rest of the conversation probably sounding a bit like this:
Nice Israeli Mom
You need to get out there more! Are you going to Jewish events? Single girls always go to those to find husbands!
I went to one.
Nice Israeli Mom
What about Lauren, have you asked her to set you up with anyone?
No, Mom, I haven’t asked Lauren to set me up! That’s so dumb!
And soon after he hung up. But that was not it. Because of that new longing in his voice, which was really a longing in his heart, he actually thought about what his mother said. Maybe it was time to “put it out there” more. He was ready for a relationship in his life and clearly whatever measures he was taking to make that happen weren’t working. And then I got a phone call. The funny thing is he actually left me a message a few weeks ago, and because I was out of town I hadn’t gotten a chance to call him back and he called me again. But almost instinctively, I knew by that first message what he wanted and it had only said to call him back. And I think that I was a little intimidated by my new awesome responsibility.
And soon after he hung up. But that was not it. Because of that new longing in his voice, which was really a longing in his heart, he actually thought about what his mother said. Maybe it was time to “put it out there” more. He was ready for a relationship in his life and clearly whatever measures he was taking to make that happen weren’t working.
And then I got a phone call. The funny thing is he actually left me a message a few weeks ago, and because I was out of town I hadn’t gotten a chance to call him back and he called me again. But almost instinctively, I knew by that first message what he wanted and it had only said to call him back. And I think that I was a little intimidated by my new awesome responsibility.
As one might imagine, it is more than a little implied that when setting up two Jews you are not only helping a couple find love, but you are performing a mitzvah, a good deed, in perpetuating our religion for at least one more generation. And no doubt, if you are successful, others will ask! Oy! And what if it doesn’t work out…the “How could you think I would like him?” or “You said she was pretty!” I’m exhausted just thinking about it!
Many, many factors go into a match, but like an angel getting her wings, it is my time. I did not ask for this, but I accept my destiny.
First, an apology to our faithful readers (and by “faithful readers” I obviously mean Lauren’s friends that she pressures into reading the blog and Lauren’s family members who read the blog because they love her) for the HUGE delay between posts. It’s 100%, totally and completely my fault. I don’t even have a good excuse; I’ve just been lazy. But, with Passover fast approaching, I thought I’d revisit my Jewish roots, my “joots” (I wish that worked better!), and write something.
Second, a second apology. This time for the weight of this post. I usually try to keep it lighter than the alcohol content in a shot of Manischewitz, and talk about something like summer camp, which is at the same time, fun, light and Jewish! I had a thought today, however, that seemed to be relevant and interesting (at least to me), but not super light. For that reason, this entry simply shall not be numbered — it shant — but hopefully still will be appreciated by the aforementioned faithful readers.
Third, the entry. I was having lunch with a gentile coworker today, and for whatever reason — I honestly cannot remember what led up to it — she told me about one of her girlfriends, a black woman, who is married to a Jewish man with two Jewish kids and a VERY Jewish mother-in-law (note: the mother-in-law is a red herron and will not reappear in this entry). My coworker’s girlfriend complained to my coworker that she, the black wife in the Jewish family, was more Jewish than the rest of ‘em. I jokingly replied, “Well, it’s more important to us that our kids be bad Jews than good Christians.”
Then I thought about what I just uttered, and it struck me as not only funny, but also true. The things I value about being Jewish aren’t those things that make someone a good Jew. (In fact, I think “being a bad Jew” was one of my pervious reasons why I love being Jewish.) The things I value are spending time with family and friends around the holidays, the food, (sadly) the songs, summer camp (added because it’s true not just for levity), and all the other things this blog discusses. Ultimately, it’s the common experience I enjoy, not the religious component (although the magic of miracles — see the story of Hannukah or Passover — is kind of engaging). Even if ignoring the religious component makes me a bad Jew, and even though I actively avoid the religious component of being Jewish (e.g., I will not be keeping Passover this year), I really appreciate sharing the common Jewish experience with all my other Jews.
All that said, I don’t really care what any yet unborn children of mine will believe, but I do hope that they share in and enjoy the Jewish culture. While all I wanted out of lunch today was a delicious sandwich/salad combo, I nonetheless learned something about myself. How wonderful!
(Also, for the most part, good Christians can be SUPER annoying! I mean, I get it: you think Jesus is neat! Leave me alone about it.)
"I mean, it’s been [BEEP] years, I think I know when her birthday is, Mom." My brother’s reaction to my mom calling him to remind him to call me on my birthday (which was December 20th) like she does every year. To all of us. About each of our birthdays.
The holidays have just ended (goyishe - we all know that Hanukkah is not a real one…) and even though my family and I do not celebrate these, we do partake in the annual flying-to-different-warm-parts-of-the-world-to-spend-time-together Jewish tradition.
One highlight this year included my mother thinking she was a genius to get adjoining rooms with my sister so she could be available to her two kids night and day. Isn’t that sweet? Cut to my sister calling me screaming from the airport that she is not in 7th grade anymore and adjoining rooms are, in fact, her worst nightmare and if I do not call housekeeping and lock those doors she will get herself right back on that plane and go home… and that was just the beginning!
When you are dealing with a Jewish family there is no escaping the drama. Especially on vacations, when all of the kids, I don’t care if there are 2 or 22, are destined to share one room, in the fanciest of resorts in Palm Beach. This is because it is the goal of the parents (read: Mother) is to make everyone as close and loving as possible (the father’s goal is to curtail Mom when she gets out of hand, THANK YOU, DAD). And if that is impossible? At least take a damn picture of the family that looks as if you would all do anything for each other so Grandma can tell her friends at canasta what a tight nit group they are and how they would do anything for each other. ”Just like my kids!” Grandma’s friend Dorris would say.
It all comes back to survival and the fact that Jewish parent are keenly aware that they won’t be around to meddle forever, and remind you constantly of that fact, so all you have is each other. The only question my 93-year-old grandfather ever asks me is when I am moving back to the East Coast which is immediately followed by the “How could I be so far from family?” Series of questions. Maybe I should have him read the “adjoining rooms” anecdote…
My family’s mantra has always been you can say anything bad to your family, but never to anyone about your family. That is just not an option. And if someone does something against your family, well, you don’t even wanna go there. Because as my mom says “You don’t know who I know and what I’m capable of.”
At the end of the day for Jews, family is all we’ve got. Why should we trust anyone else, what are you gonna do for me? We barely trust each other to remember birthdays.
I wish you a happy happy holiday season with this video I made with my friend Erika for her movie night. It doesn’t make a ton of sense outside the context of her movie night, but who doesn’t like making fun of stereotypical Jewish parents???