Thursday, August 03, 2006


Yesterday I heard my first loud sirens. I did not enjoy.
SIREN 1: The first sounded around 10 AM while I was working wirelessly at a cafe. We went down to the basement\bunker\kitchen until the noise stopped and a few extra minutes passed. There were no booms following the screaming siren but I felt shaken up. I was also tired and felt this just confirmed my sense that I should not have gotten out of bed today. Adi called a few minutes later to say he'd been driving to the university library and had barely heard the siren but was surprised to see no guard waiting at the gate. Apparantly the guard had sought out a safe place and was not yet back at his post.

At Adi's advice, I sat inside the cafe. In addition to the rockets, there are increased warnings of suicide bombers and several armed terrorists were caught yesterday in the center of the country. This cafe had no guard, but a pretty circle of concrete flower planters slows the path of potential bombers.

My friend Shirley, her colleague Ronit and I each had our own wooden cafe table. We lined them up in a row, our backs to the wall. The waiter brought us an extension cord with 3 outlets for us to plug into. It was very cute! A lot of people asked us what we were doing so diligently.

An unidentified chunk of metal about the size of an apricot fell out of the sky, tearing neatly through a red cloth umbrella shading one of the outdoor tables. It landed inches away from where a man was sitting. It smelled like gunpowder, he said. The bomb squad was called but no identification was made or at least none given to us.

SIREN 2: I had to rush home for a 4 PM meeting. After it ended, I continued a meeting-related IM chat with a colleague when suddenly... ARHGGHDHHAAAHAHAHAHHAHAHHWWWOOWOOWOOWOWOAAHAHH a nerve-wrenching blast of noise broke through the apartment right into my core. Adi rushed to the window in a valliant attempt to shield me from the noise. This only freaked me out more and I shouted at him to get away from the window. We ran down one flight of stairs. I was bearfoot, in a T-shirt and underwear. I was shaking. I grabbed Adi for support and cried into his neck.
When the blast stopped, we tapped on the door of Lola, our neigbor, to make sure she was OK. She welcomed us inside and gave me some water to calm me down. She welcomed us to come to her place whenever the siren sounds since she has more of an internal wall than we do. Lola is a great grandmother and a Shoah survivor. One tough cookie and a lover of life.
She showed us a beautiful pair of Channel shades she bought last week in Tel Aviv, explaining:
"I got a discount because I'm from the north." Go, Lola!

I wasn't able to keep working after that but instead took a cool bath and tried to relax. I then organized all the toiletries in the bathroom, carefully packing a bag of supplies we'd need if we decide to flee our home again.

We considered our options but didn't decide yet.

SIREN 3: This time wasn't as terrifying because I knew what it was. I put on shoes and walked down this time, after Adi had made me promise not to run. Adi didn't come right away and later I scolded him for the reason: he wanted to put away his humus and pita so that Koshky wouldn't eat it. Not a good reason! He promised not to do that again.
We discussed leaving again but I pointed out that it was already 7PM. It would be dark soon and they haven't been shooting after dark (since we'd be able to pinopoint their exact locations).
Before my next work meeting (an exhausting 8-9 PM and beyond) we watched some relaxing TV and some news.
The news showed IDF footage of Hezbollah rocket launchers mounted on trucks. When the truck drivers sensed they were about to be targeted, they drove into parking garages located in people's homes. Another scene showed arms caches stowed in a hospital. Another, piles of weapons in a private home. So you can see why the civilian casualties in Lebanon have been so high.
Meanwhile Hezbollah targeted and hit Naharia hospital yesterday. Somehow I think they knew that we do not hide our weapons behind civilians.

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