Friday, 7 January 2011

The Charivari of Friday Night Dinner

Friday night dinner at the Karp-Adler’s is usually a cacophony of sound.  If only one solo voice can be heard, unlike “normal” families, something is seriously wrong. Shabbat dinner is an opportunity to exercise the volume of one’s vocals and one must shout above the others in order to be heard. There are, of course, diminuendos during the evening, but these are short lived as numerous discussions occur simultaneously. There is no formal etiquette of speaking solely to those positioned on either side or opposite you and it is perfectly legitimate to shout across the table, hop between conversations or interrupt others. When you have grown up within this variety of family, you believe it to be the archetype and know no different. Babble and bustle is homely and commonplace.

I have only truly appreciated how much of an integral part of me this obstreperous discourse is since I have been removed from it. Tonight when my family entertains, although every individual will visit me and amuse me, I will be upstairs and everyone else will be eating downstairs. I will hear the commotion, but be too far away to understand it. However, if the flurry of excitement were to be brought upstairs, it would be overwhelming. There is no pleasing me. This period of ill health has made feel, in many ways, like a young child again. In my constant dependence on others, and also, in that terrible feeling of being left out. The noise may be unruly and dissonant, but it is a part of my family and my culture that I love and sincerely miss. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm new to reading your blog but I just had to comment and say that I know exactly what you mean. I got hurt at work in 2005, had back surgery on 2 discs in 2006, and have basically been homebound ever since.

    I used to complain and bemoan that I had too many places to go and too many things to do. After I got hurt and my ability to travel to see friends and run errands, I realized how badly I missed what I used to hate. I miss running around, having to drive over town to get bills paid or grocery shopping done. In my circle of friends, we're quite social crowd where we go out to dinner or movies or the like. I never thought I'd miss those things but now, I'd give any amount of money to be physically able to go out to the mall or go sit through a 2 hour movie.

    The worst part by far is the loss of independence that I've suffered. Before my surgery...before I got hurt, I could do so much more for myself than I can now. Now, I can't drive myself even to the store or the doctor. I can't cook (and I ADORE cooking), clean up around our apartment...I have so much trouble walking my dogs that I can't walk them by myself in case I fall down. I can't even take a shower or a bath unless my husband is here to help me get into and out of the shower/bath and dry off.

    I empathize and sympathize with you and what you're going through. I found your blog, like others, courtesy of Mr. Stephen Fry but I'm so glad I followed the link he provided. Not many people know what it's like to be under 50...even under 40...and have this level of mobility and health issues stemming from back pain. I'm working my way through your blog. Thank you for sharing how your back problems have affected your life.