Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bed bugs. And the "Gatekeepers." And what we have to deal with.


I come around the corner and see Sean in his wheel chair and my heart sinks. He’s talking to Stephen. Bums a cigarette from him. They’ve got a place for him to stay, but it’s at 28th Street. Issues about his wheel chair. And it’s  room for 8 people. How can he do that? I look at him. Don’t know what to say. And this wheel chair’s ‘bout done in he says. And I look and he’s right. It’s falling apart. He’s got to stick with this. Has to keep trying. The wheels have big empty spaces in the rubber. He asks for his poncho. So I go into the church, find the saddle bag we’re keeping safe  for him, find the poncho and bring it back  to him. I’m always uncomfortable going into his stuff. Its like all he’s got, his life. As he begins to wheel off, he turns and says, I got to say thanks, man...I know I made messes for you. I know that. And i”m sorry man. But you did me a solid. Charged me up. Keep charging me up. I mean doin me solids. Thanks. And he wheels  off in his rickety wheel chair. 
RL comes in and reports that his crew can’t make the scheduled couch pick up today because of the rain. Wait a minute, couch pick up? Marc has it set up. A very wealthy person. Stephen reminds me that Session has instituted a no furniture that isn’t wrapped or with cushions or...We survived the worst of the #ows onslaught with no bed bugs. Do we want to risk it now? RL assures me that he has a nose like a dog and can sniff them out.
Later, Marc will come in very upset that I would even question it. It’s from a fine family.A fine apartment.A wealthy apartment..I remind  him that my next door neighbor’s apartment is worth over a million dollars and they had bed bugs. In New York City, bed bugs are no respecters of persons. It’s very democratic. Rich or poor, there they are. I hate these situations. Absolutely hate them. Everybody is so convinced they are right and offended that I would even consider the other position momentarily. 
Stephen has been working the negotiations. We may be approaching an actual term sheet. Don’t want to get my hopes  up, but...
Cara helps with sweeping for awhile. Then goes in to play the piano. Hasn’t had the chance to do this for awhile.  I listen as her improvisation fills the sanctuary.
Glen and Kim and David S are all on the case today, too. RL’s crew of the day.
Tonight is our screening of The Gatekeepers. We’ve got it downloaded and Marc and Stephen and I are working to figure out how to get it onto the big screen. So much easier with a DVD. But we get it figured out. We give it a test run. It’s working.
Once again, a good crowd gathers.  This is the Academy Award nominated film for best documentary. Interviews with retired Israeli Shin Bet, secret service officers. 
I don’t know what to expect. But I am profoundly moved. What I see most in these Shin Bet officers is integrity. A love of their people. And country. A desire  to do their work honorably. And right. And an awareness that it isn’t possible. Their efforts to track down and capture Israeli terrorists planning to blowup the temple mount only to see them released. Our own flesh and blood say the politicians. The tragedy of Rabin’s assassination. The pain and anguish is palpable. As is their ability to identify with their enemy
And of course when I say this in the q&a, an ideologue will say, But it’s all because of the occupation. And they are guilty too..
Of course they are. But few of us choose the situations we enter in to. We come with our own values loyalties, prejudices and do the best we can to do our work honorably.  To do what we can. And then leave a situation for those who follow next to deal with.As each successive week’s films roll by, I get progressively more depressed. 
These Shin Bet officers remind me of Israelis I have met. Mainly through Andrea. In 35 years of  personal engagement with this issue. Good and decent men. Trying to do the best they can. As the evil of the  occupation continues to devour the country both outside and in.
We need to continue this discussion. But I’m not sure where It leads.
I sometimes think that I should just focus on one thing like the movie in my blog. Leave out the mundane. The daily urban chaos. But it is the context within which this work is done. I’ve already said context is calling not circumstance. Me and the Shin Bet guys. We didn't create he worlds we live in. But we have to deal with them. Maybe that’s the connecting piece. 

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