Thursday, August 23, 2007

clang, clatter, clash....koubeh....

at precisely 7am of my first day in my new apartment on Graetz St., a residential street in a rather upscale Jerusalem neighborhood, i was awakened by an unusally loud sledgehammer drilling directly above my head. after rubbing my eyes and trying to figure out how it was possible that whoever was drilling had not yet drilled a hole through my ceiling, i wearily rolled out of bed.

in the hallway, i met my roomate, yael, who looked as bewildered and groggy as i felt. i asked her why she hadn't informed me upfront that there would be blaring 7am wake-up calls in our apartment. yael told me that this was the first time she had experienced the dreadful noise since she'd been living here, for over a year. unable to become productive members of society at 7am(since we had both gone to sleep well past 1am), we plopped down on the couches in a daze.

after continuous drilling for more than a half hour, i decided to head upstairs and meet our neighbors and kindly request that they begin their drilling after 8am, at the very least. i dragged myself up the stairwell and mustered whatever strength i had to knock on the door. after a brief wait, the door opened and i discovered a 6"2, perfectly tanned, chiseled, muscular israeli guy.

i stood, mouth agape, horrified that i hadn't yet bothered to brush my teeth... or my hair! after staring at the handsome guy in front of me for what seemed like an eternity, i managed to stutter something about the noise. he explained that he was the "kablan," the contractor, and promised that the "massive" noise, as he described it, would last only three days. not one to miss making a new (-and very good-looking-) israeli friend, i introduced myself and offered daniel, the cause of my quickly disappearing anger, a cold drink.

later that day daniel came down to our apartment looking for keys to the roof, which he needed access to in order to fix something in the apartment above. we gave him the number of the woman in charge of the building and he left. the next day he returned to fix a pipe in our apartment that was connected to the work he was doing above us.

over the course of his visits to our apartment we learned that daniel is a yerushalmi (native jerusalemite) who runs his father's construction business and lives in the adjacent neighborhood. despite his rugged good looks, daniel is an extremely sweet, thoughtful, giving person. as i have been working on papers for school from home, and yael works from our apartment, we both welcomed daniel's afternoon visits to fix our pipes. from fixing the pipes, daniel has graciously become our own personal fix-it guy. we have also gotten to know daniel's friendly crew of ahmed, muhammad, and rizik.

it has now been three weeks, well beyond the promised three days, of "massive" noise every morning at 7am. each morning when yael and i meet in the hallway we bemoan our upstairs friends. but by afternoon, we are all smiles when our "fix-it" guy stops by to fix something or just say hello. despite myself, i have even begun to appreciate the amplified beckoning call of the drill awakening me from my slumber during this month of elul...

last night after dropping his crew off near beit lechem, daniel stopped at his parents home to bring us dinner. daniel surprised us with his mother's homemade koubeh, an authentic middle eastern dish. after raving about his mother's skill in the kitchen, i tasted the koubeh, and to my pleasant surprise, really enjoyed the new delicacy. sitting in our dining room, discussing israeli culture, travel, and family with daniel, the contractor from the upstairs apartment, while eating his mother's homemade koubeh made me smile to myself... despite the fact that i had been up since 7am.

(Daniel, our "fix-it" guy)