Home May 2013 A Feathered Nest

A Feathered Nest

“They recognized me in the post office!  I couldn’t believe it!  Everyone was saying ‘Kol HaKovod’ and slapping me on the back!  It was unbelievable!!!”
I was happy for my husband.  Truly.  I wanted him to bask in the sun and feel the rush of being recognized for achievement.  God knows, he deserves it.  Which is why I felt so ashamed of myself: I was hiding.
Unlike Ronney, I hadn’t been out of the house since the first article appeared in the Hebrew papers, including our names in the roster of this year’s “Amazing Race” contestants.  I’d gained weight since the contest began, was limping badly due to out of control arthritis and felt frightened that someone would recognize me and utter the words “They chose you???”  We’ve been sworn to secrecy, but I can share feelings about being the oldest couple on the show and the first Anglos (Israel talk for English speakers).
In truth, we went to the interview on a lark.  A friend in the media had heard from one of the producers that that they were seeking an older, fun and inspiring couple, but time was growing short.  The friend saw Ronney pass by and called the producer.  “I’ve got the couple you’re looking for!”
Now, if I had ever seen the show, I would have undoubtedly said, “No way, Jose!”   But my husband never asked me.  He agreed to the interview for both of us and, consequently, we came close to having our first marital argument.
It behooves the reader to know that I hadn’t been feeling well.  “Terminal-sloth” has a way of snowballing, and I’d been lying face-down on the bed at three o’clock in the afternoon when the station called to say that we were to come in that evening.  Standing up on osteoarthritic legs, I walked to the shower.  Everything hurt.
But with pep in my step, I entered the Tel Aviv studios and enjoyed what was a riotous experience.  Am I or am I not a “closet-Kardashian”???  Reality Television, here we come!!!  The cameras rolled, and we talked about our meeting, courtship and children.  We spoke of the things that we love about Israel and the things that make starting over in a new country very, very difficult.  Ronney shared the pain of losing his business and the death of his wife while I mercifully said nothing that would make my children uncomfortable.  We both expressed mutual gratitude to God for the chance of starting over and finding “happily ever after.”
Ronney’s Hebrew is quite good, and he was able to express himself beautifully in the language of the typical Israeli viewer.  I, however, spoke in a horrible hybrid tongue commonly referred to as “Hebrish.”  It was both mortifying and clear that the producers would put a big black X through my application page because they laughed whenever I spoke.
And because we knew that we would never be asked back, we posed like a couple of yokel tourists next to the massive hand-and-microphone sculpture for “The Voice.”  Contestants for the Amazing Race are not allowed to post photos like that on Facebook, but we had no reason to pay heed.  We posted them, big time.
The Amazing Race is not called “amazing” for nothing.  It is the experience of a lifetime, and at times like this, it is reassuring to know that we’re contractually forbidden to share very much.  Because how can one accurately describe something so brilliantly constructed, personally challenging and spiritually invigorating?  Instead, I will describe our perfectly inane behavior post interview:
And so, after the interview, we were starving and chose to hit our favorite shwarma joint.  It was almost midnight, and, wearing sunglasses to “shield our identities,” we dodged into the restaurant as though the paparazzi were hounding us and adoring fans lined the sidewalks, hankering for autographs and to press the flesh.  Sharing this joint delusion, Ronney and I addressed people who were not there from behind non-existent barriers.  If anyone saw us, they were most certainly frightened.  Oh, how we laughed in the restaurant that night, imagining Ronney posing in his underwear astride a Harley Davidson motorbike in a GQ ad, the words boldly shouting, “Ronney wears Hanes.  Do you?”  It was an incredible, silly, laugh-filled night, and we will remember it forever.  Blissfully unaware of the magic that would soon unfold, we cherished the dreamy fun for the wonderful moment in time that it was.
B’kitzur  (“to make a long story short” in Hebrew), my husband and I have become reality television stars almost overnight.  This new-found celebrity will most certainly be of the Andy Warhol genre (“15 minutes of fame”) because after the shows are aired and we do the talk-show circuit and/or appear at shopping-center holiday events, a new crop of personalities will be unveiled, and we will sink back into oblivion.  If we win the million shekels, I can assure you that it will barely warm the tips of our fingers before going toward debt, children, charity and, maybe, a few pairs of new pantyhose.
And if we don’t win, we don’t care.  We did not put our precious lives and limbs in danger for the possibility of a prize.  We did it because we could.  A good enough reason in a life that is already rife with surprises and blessings.

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