My concept of reality has shifted since I moved to Florentine in south Tel Aviv last month.
First, there's my sleep patterns. Never very reliable, they've only become more sporadic since the move. I'm actually closer to work than before, which logically should mean I get more sleep, but I'm only getting less. I never get to sleep before either the wee or not so wee hours of the morning, if at all.
I blame the construction workers. And Ya'akov.
Construction starts every day at the crack of dawn and doesn't stop until the builders' voices are dry from yelling at each other, or until they are sure everyone in the neighborhood is wide awake. They really are nice guys, but they drill right into my wall every day and drop heavy objects (I'm talking cinder blocks and metal beams) onto my rooftop (right above my head) from the top of their work site in the adjacent building at least every half an hour. The sound shakes the building and leaves me cowering, certain whatever is being thrown up there is going to come crashing straight through the roof and onto my head. It has scared me right out of sleep on countless occasions (I work midnight shifts at least a few times a week, and am usually trying to get to sleep right when they start work). At first I thought they were just using the roof as a storage spot. Then I went up to the roof and saw them dropping a block of cement from their rooftop to mine. They told me they hadn't thought it would bother me. They also told me a month ago that they would be finished in two weeks.
Ya'akov is my landlord. He is in his late 80s and is very interested in us and our apartment. He calls early in the morning, often, to chat and is surprised when I am not always in the mood. He doesn't understand that I don't always work at midnight, and am sometimes trying to sleep. He also likes to collect rent checks and fix things not before and not after 6:30 am, and hasn't caught on that it's not necessarily everybody's best hour.
Then, there are the mysteries.
Mystery # 1: The feces in front of my apartment door
When my roommate came in the other day and told me someone had taken a shit outside the door, (actually, what she said was, 'aliyana! why do you always gotta shit right in front of the door!'), I thought she meant downstairs, actually outside the building. But no, there it was, right in front of our door in a building with a closed entrance and only one other apartment besides our own.
Naturally, we assumed the feces belonged to our neighbors' dog, so we wrote a nice note asking them to please clean it up, and assured ourselves that the dog must have done the deed while his human friends were calling his name from downstairs - our neighbors probably hadn't even realized it had happened, we told ourselves. Poor, shitting dog.
Note securely taped to the neighbors' door, we went out. When we came back, the shit was still there, and the note had been relocated to our door, folded inside out, and stamped with a new message: 'Not our shit. We sold the dog last week.'
This of course brought on many questions, not the least of which: whose shit was it? And, of course: who was supposed to clean it?
Mystery # 2: The artichoke, leek and potatoes rotting on top of my refrigerator
When I came home last week from Jerusalem, there was a bunch of vegetables sitting in and above the fridge rotting. I didn't think much of it, except for a bit of surprise at my roommate's choice of decaying artichoke. When I pointed out to him a few days later that the vegetables were still there and rotting, and maybe he wanted to eat the artichoke, he told me that they weren't his. My other roommate said she hadn't bought them either.
A true mystery.
Mystery # 3: The burning garbage dumpster
Without fail, every day since I have moved in, the garbage dumpster on the corner of my street has been set on fire, and police and fire trucks cheerfully visit the neighborhood. I don't take it personally - I think it started before I moved in. At first we assumed it was a vandal throwing kerosene and a match into the dumpster, but every day? Another unsolved mystery. Perhaps there is something flammable inseparably attached to the dumpster that ignites from daily friction? Or perhaps it is a criminal, underworld conspiracy (and perhaps these are the same folk that shat in front of my door and left a bag of rotting vegetables in my kitchen).
(I'm looking for a roommate, by the way, if you know anybody)