You date. You go to dinners. The beach. A friend's showcase. You retell your charming story until you hate every polished detail.
"Love is a fine thing," the Yiddish saying goes, "but love with noodles is even tastier."
Setting out onto the yellow brick road of singlehood at 40, I could already see it would be a haunted trail. Those of us, man or woman, who have been married a long time, who have birthed children together, dandled and diapered them together, those of us who thought we were building lifelong partnerships before we were betrayed or bored or desolate or dead inside, cannot help but be haunted.
First let's do the numbers: It's been about four days that I've been single. I was married at 23 and stayed that way for 17 years. I've just met a charming and articulate woman at a party and stumbled through an uncharming and inarticulate request for her phone number.
And wonder of wonders, she gave it to me.
Now all I had to do was call her for a date.
I am completely frozen.
I have just walked out of a pitch meeting in Santa Monica. Wilshire Boulevard is breezy and gorgeous. It
is 4 p.m. I have been married for 17 years and now, it appears, I'm not. For the last 17 years I had a wife, a family, a home, a dock in the open sea of the world.
Moreso, for the last 10 years, I've had chubby, laughing babies to return to, who then morphed into muscled cyclones, ready to hurl themselves onto my back the moment I walked through the door, then preteens, eager to sing me their triumphs, real and imaginary, at school.
At the end of the day, I knew where to go -- home.
It's 3 a.m. and I'm awake. Again.
Being Jewish is to be bombarded by time-by seasons, weeks, history.
I am in a cult.
Not one with an Indian twist, nor a homegrown one full of fervid believers waiting for a modern-day Shabtai Tzvi to fly us all to a New Jerusalem. No, my cult is more like that of those UFO suicides in Rancho Santa Fe waiting for the spaceship to take them away to a far better place.
My cult is called Hollywood.
I swiftly began to feel that I was crazy for notbeing crazed.
These are three experiences that have made me most hate being Jewish:
For me, there are only two obstacles when pickingHigh Holy Day Ground Zero. Only Content. Only Context.