A Bubble No More
By Nicole Taylor | 2:53 pm August 3, 2009
It was Saturday morning, and my girlfriend and I woke up in Tel Aviv. I’m here for a month from London, engaged in an ongoing flirtation with the place where I think I want to live. Poppy is here for a week, skeptical, but with an avowedly open mind. All week I have been propagandizing her about the city. Schlepping her hither and thither, wheeling her into cafes and out again, waiting, and hoping for the love to take hold. Look! The world’s first secular Jewish city! 100 years old! I listen to myself and realise I sound like some kind of publicity instrument of the municipality. But it’s genuine, I feel it-that beauty flowers everywhere here. I want her to feel it herself, that thing, whatever it is. Not Zionism, necessarily. But Tel Aviv-ism. It’s a bubble, she says. How can people live like this, not engaging? What she sees is a city of consumers-dancing, eating, hooking up, ignoring. I see that too, but feel happy: to me it’s just a city of people living their lives. We were supposed to wake up at 6 a.m. and travel to Ramallah. That was almost a condition of Poppy coming here: to see the other side. But we slept in, didn’t make it to Jerusalem, and missed the organized tour I had booked. I was relieved, I admit. I can-and do-engage with ‘Israel the occupier’ from London-there’s no other option. Here, I just want to live for one month-as a young, gay, Jewish woman, far from the sense of otherness that I grew up with. I didn’t want to go to Ramallah. I didn’t want to be pushed out of the bubble. Being in the bubble is what I came here for.