I Remember When

In 2003 Tel Aviv was filled with tiny little restaurants selling Thai noodles in baguettes. Everyone had long hair. Those recently released from the army did everything they could to make their hair grow longer, faster just to show that they weren’t in it anymore.

It was a time when Shenkin was a cramped street filled with little kiosks selling every different kind of equipment a weed smoker could wish for. The unmistakable smell of the now sort of legal plant emanated from the apartments leaning over what was then a narrow road. But people still said Shenkin wasn’t like it was once, in the 1970s.

Beri Sacharoff visited army units then (and now) to play his latest hits, the Dag Nachash had just released a new album, their second. It was being blasted from CD players everywhere.

Chilling on the beach was almost a political decision. A decision not to be afraid. You couldn’t help yourself from making a tactical decision as to where to sit on the bus, where was the best place to be sitting if a bomber did come?

The Dizengoff Centre was open for business. A couple of border guard jeeps sat outside. On Friday nights the kibbutz parties were the place to be, somewhere in the middle of nowhere there was always a party. Alcohol was free with only a 20nis cover charge to get in.

Mike’s Place had been bombed and had recovered. Some of the victims never would. Some people went there just because it had been hit. A friend introduced me to Ehud Banai’s music. The wistful sounds from the album Karov will always remind me of that time.

I ate my first malabi on the beach of Tel Baruch but mispronounced it as mabli. I fell asleep on the sands near the sea, a friend dropped a medusa next to my head I chased him down.

I rented an apartment on Ben Yehuda Street Tel Aviv for the princely sum of $350 a month. Property rent was still done in dollars.

Tzvika Pick played at the Bima and the army got us tickets. I downed a half glass of whiskey before the show and somehow we all found ourselves dancing on stage with him before being gently ushered off by his backing group.

Hangar 17 was a club in a rundown part of the port that was hip for that reason. People still used the word hip. They didn’t really.

I remember when the present was king and the future irrelevant. Living for today because tomorrow might not come. Coffee tasted better, weed and hashish were plentiful and consequences irrelevant. I remember being arrested by Military Police at Savidor Station for not having enough polish on my boots. I went into a shop and couldn’t understand why they looked at me funny when I asked for galhatz.

I remember the world I once knew and marvel on how much it has changed. I look around and marvel at how much I have changed. Those times I understood what was going on around me.

These times less so.