Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Crazy Guy Across the Street

I think I mentioned the guy who lives across the street from me, the one who thinks he is invisible if he has his prayer shawl on his head. He likes to walk around with his staff (looks like a curtain rod with a sharpened point on one end and an amulet of some sort on the other.

In a way, I feel for him. He is a retired music teacher and he lives in a run-down shack in a neighborhood that used to be filled with run-down shacks. But as Jerusalem has sprawled out into the areas that used to be just across the green line into the West Bank, expensive neighborhoods have cropped up around homes like his. And now he thinks we are all part of shin bet, here to spy on him. I'd feel for him more if he didn't follow me around pointing his staff at me.

He was out this morning, without his prayer shawl (which is how I was able to see him) but with his staff. I went into the little field that is between my building and his house (the Queen of England owns it...seriously) to let Noostie do her business. He came to the entrance and waved the staff at me, but I turned away and ignored him. So he walked across the street and started ranting at the Palestinian guys who do our building maintenance. He was yelling in Arabic (I had no idea he spoke Arabic)...I don't know much Arabic myself, but I do know "shu hatha" (what's this) and allah (God). He was waving the staff and asking if they knew what it was, and then telling them God spoke to him through it. Here's another word I know in Arabic: majznun. It means crazy.

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