Saturday, December 02, 2006

Up and down, all Shabbos

My mood has been rather volatile this Shabbos, to say the least. I was invited out for both meals, so at least I wasn't alone. Friday night I went to Eric and Ahuva, who gave me a lift (in two ways -- a ride, and a spiritual boost) to my ex-boyfriend's wedding.

Everything was fine, I was chatting and socializing, and I helped organize the seating, making sure that Eric and Ahuva's daughter (Mara)'s friend could sit next to her mother and Mara.

Then the man next to me turned into Rush Limbaugh.

"You know," he bloviated, "the difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats run away from confrontation, and Republicans don't."

You think that might be because Republicans say unpleasant things in an extremely loud voice, as if they believe that will imbue their blatherings with truth?

That's what I should have said, but I'm so on edge from all the school issues, I'm just not at my best in a battle of wits. I just underwent a very unpleasant interrogation, which I had to walk into blind and defend myself as best I could without getting angry. I wasn't in shape for anything but a relaxing Shabbos, and I was sitting next to a goddamn Republican.

I shouldn't have said anything to him. I wasn't in the mood for a debate; in fact, I had a whole bunch of very unpleasant arguments along those lines with my ex G.I. Josh (not the one who married a 26-year-old; I'm no longer in contact with G.I. Josh and don't wish to be). We got into screaming matches about abortion, Terri Schiavo, gun control, etc. I think he was trying to talk himself out of liking me, so he decided my political views were contemptible and therefore he was safe from having to marry me.

Anyway, after a bit, I said, "I really don't want to have this conversation."

"See!" he blared. "This proves my point! Democrats are afraid of confrontation!"

"Look," I snapped, "I've had a really crappy week. I might get kicked out of school. I ... " and I rushed from the table (so fast that I slipped out of my shoes) to the bathroom, where I tried to collect myself.

I couldn't. I was shaking, crying, furious with myself for losing my cool and telling a table full of strangers (Eric and Ahuva entertain huge numbers of guests every Shabbos; I think the minimum they average is 14) about my school troubles. I thought maybe the faculty was right; maybe I'm too angry and out of control to be a psychologist.

Finally, after I'd gathered a few crumbs of composure, I went back to the dining room, retrieved and put on my shoes, and got my coat. Ahuva came over to me.

"Ayelet, what's the matter?"

"I've lost my appetite," I said, and hurried out the door, down the stairs, straight to Alona and Adir's apartment.

Thank Gd for good friends. They managed to calm me down and reassured me that everyone has bad weeks, and my behavior wasn't entirely out of line.

Later, Eric walked to my apartment with a plate of food; apparently he ran after me when I left his apartment but went down the other staircase and didn't see me on the street.

He and I stood in the hallway, talking about what's going on with me at school and how distraught I am about it.

"When I was studying for the bar," he said, "I was very careful not to study on Shabbos, at least not until the very end. I let myself enjoy Shabbos and really relax. The rabbi isn't going to talk to the president's assistant until Monday -- there's nothing you can do until then. So just try to enjoy Shabbos. I'll see you in shul tomorrow."

He also assured me that he found the bloviator's politics just as odious as I do, and chose not to talk with him on that topic.

It meant so much that he tried to find me and brought me food. He and Ahuva are definitely on my team. Right now there are more people with me than against me -- unfortunately, those against me are the ones with all the power in the program. But I would think that the president of the university might have a little influence. I just hope he can use it to help me.

Shabbos morning I made sure to go to shul so that I could see the rabbi and Eric and Ahuva, and let them know I was doing okay. I told the rabbi I liked his tie, and he said, "Tell the rebbetzin -- she bought it for me."

So I went to give her the compliment, and she asked me what I was up to.

"I'm in school." I decided to keep it brief.

"Oh," she said, "how's that going?"

My rabbi is a very discreet man.

"Oh, fine," I said blandly, and turned the conversation to her children and grandchildren.

Then I went to Ruchama and her family for lunch. That was the best therapy. Tikva was very affectionate, as always, sitting on my lap through lunch and crying when I had to go home. Although she didn't like my red sweater and red lipstick. She prefers pink, and I had to promise to wear pink when I go there for lunch next week (apparently she's decided she isn't seeing quite enough of me, and told her mother I was coming over next week as well).
Copyright (c) 2006 "Ayelet Survivor"

1 comment:

  1. It's really great to have supportive friends who are behind you all the way. It's so much less miserable when you know you're not alone.