Jeg er i Norge! I’m in Norway!
Lies. I’m actually sitting in Heathrow. But I’ll post from Bergen. I strongly suspect that once there I’ll have no time to write for awhile, so here’s a quickie about my journey.
First flight: Columbus to Philly, beside a friendly man with a sneeze who wanted to discuss modern art with me even though we all know there’s nothing to say.
First layover: I headed to the International Departures terminal behind a family of three that strongly set off my Jew-dar. Sure enough, they peeled off the moving walkway two gates ahead of me, at the flight to Tel Aviv. Surreally, I passed them and the line waiting to enter a special security check, past the women wearing mitpachot and babies, and said a quick goodbye to the last kippot I may see for months. The two degrees of separation separating me from any Jew on the planet is an umbilical cord about to be cut short. Waiting at the gate for my flight to London, I felt cut off from the group of people in the airport that went to camp with my aunt, shared a teacher with my father, have a sister who married my best friend’s big brother. (upbeat intrepidity here so Bubby doesn’t worry).
On the flight to Heathrow, I had a quiet neighbor who switched between reading her bible and a salacious-looking novel. Two rows ahead of me, a loud man who had stolen the rain forest and tattooed it upon his back pontificated in the accent that we all thought Enry Iggins had cured. Tigers peeped over his shoulder and out of his bicep, and as I joggled in and out of sleep, confused images of flesh-crinkled trees dug into my dreams.
In Heathrow, at the gate for Bergen, I heard and understood my first Norwegian phrase. A man quietly asked his wife if she wanted to sit over here. Ja! Haer! I wanted to shout, and pump my fist in the air. But instead I maintained a demure Norwegian silence, and smiled at them, waiting to board the plane to Bergen.