Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Soul Cleaning

Here, chronicled, is the very original diary of my escapades into a second identity, my little trips into a life as a shiksa.

* * *

I heard about it from word of mouth. It's not really, ahem, in compliance with the law. But it seemed that with the right contacts you know where to go.

The other day, I summoned the courage and made my way there, to a corner in the City. There they all were, just as told. Lots of people mingling and interacting and doing their 'business'. People from different walks of life were gathering there. I was hesitant, wasn't aggressive enough. I leaned onto my baby carriage, and watched other people converse uncertain who I'm here for. After an hour or so, I found myself going back home empty handed.

A number of these trips followed. I came but went without advancing. I couldn't stop myself from doing this, but I couldn't stop myself from stopping myself either.

Finally, on Monday, things took a turn. There were just a few initial greetings between 'us'. That was all. We looked at each other for a bit, said a few words, and then I turned my stride homeward. Someone followed me this time. It was happening.

My boots dug into the melting snow with every step, in sync with a pair of light thuds coming from behind, along with the music of crackling of bags hanging at the sides of my follower. I continued to look straight ahead, never looking back. It was a nice day, a combination of a glaring spring sun at 11:00AM and layers of semi-white snow covering the sides. I left my baby girl with my mother, and my husband was off to work. I knew I had the place to myself.

We both walked into my apartment, but I offered no formal greetings. It was like following an old habit, where words were no longer required. It was only after the door was shut that I wondered where to begin.

"The pants." I said to myself. "Get the pants."

Yes.

I locked my bedroom door.

Inside, alone, I shuffled through the bags belonging to my new friend, Maria. Indeed, there were a pair of hot-pink leggings, real pants, the ones I yearned for when I was little. I pulled them out. They smelled of shiksa, of thick, sweet strawberry perfume. Ahhh.

I slipped them on, and stared at my reflection. I felt my pulse racing. I didn't quite fill them out the way the real urelta did, the one that I just brought home from the corner on Division. There was something about her curvilinear figure that I couldn't quite imitate. The leggings sagged to the floor. I felt my hopes to break free crush with them.

I wasn't gonna give up there. All my life I've envied the shiksa with all her choices. All my life I felt oppressed and restricted. Here, now, I was finally gonna be one too, even if my useless rearing has crippled me unfit for its 'perfect mold'

I looked around, and the solution struck me. I put suspenders onto the legging's waist-band and I looked semi-shiksa-perfect. I fetched a short white frizzy wig out of its hiding and pulled a short-sleeved purple t-shirt out of the shopping bag --- and over my head. Pink lipstick I remembered, and penciled eyebrows like rainbows o'er the forehead. I looked like a dream. I was finally a shiksa --- a goyta!

"I am finally a goyta!"

I gulped. This was real.

In the full length mirror, I saw the door across the room vibrate. She was knocking. My cleaning lady wanted to know what to do next, it seemed, by the mix of demands she cursed through the keyhole. I had the urge to ignore her as I was too busy stealing her identity. I was conquering my dream. But a girl's gotta have a strategy, so I yelled at her to go clean the bathroom or pray, whatever she felt like.

The following step, of course, was breaking the law. As a teenager, I never got to break the law. No pot, no alcohol, no nifty little crimes. I was denied basic youth privileges. Now I was proudly an Illegal Polish (or Uzbekistani or Russia or African, if you can tell a difference) immigrant. @#$^% Amirica! Its laws meny-meny stoopid!

Of course, that wasn't enough. To get me on a high, I had to steal too. I hear that's what goytes do. So I grabbed all my Jewelry and I packed it into the cleaning lady's bag. The rush of adrenaline! Oh God!

Then came the peak of adventure... All my life I've been cleaning like a slave, especially Pesach season. A Jewish woman gets no career, just a broom 'n a mop. My labor is unrewarded. Now, I proudly walked over to rub my stove for $10.00 an hour. Here, I was getting paid, I was getting an agent, and I was getting a career!

Look at me!!

Maria Antsvigonaria'! I'm a somebody!

I sprayed easy off, and let the sprits whirl in the name of my mother, my father, and my awful education. "I went off the derech, eh?" I rubbed. I rubbed harder. And yet harder. "Zey go tell me what do? No Missis! I happy now! I become not-Jew!"


I took a break. I pulled Maria's bag out again, and scanned it. Finally, I'll eat real food, with real ingredients, not the hechsher stuff. I bit into the brownly banana with a clunck, full of relish. I was enjoying it. You know, it tasted good, it tasted real. Not like our Ungarishe same-ol' fushit.

My time, outside the realms of my society was coming to an end. I had to rush back to the role-play of my yiddene identity, before my boys come home from cheddar. I shuffled back into the floral punjello, the turban and took to cooking the same-ol' fushit.

For a moment, I lingered in front of the purple size xx2 top, reluctant to give it up. My fingers ran over the dinosaur design. Oh, what great things secular people take for granted. They don't know to appreciate basic things that when denied, become of such importance. I stared at the flip-flips before I returned them to its real owner. I had no choice but to go back to my double life. Spritz, Spritz, Spritz em all! For denying me a world that is neither as forbidden nor as sweet as you made me think it was!

I stuck the phone under the turban, as par, and was immediately transformed back into veibele mode.


So long.

29 comments:

Social Worker/Frusturated Mom said...

I am sure you make the most beautiful shiksa around, now that had to be the best pic ever ROFL! To freedom, amen, drink to that:)

Ex said...

Look who is back.

Good ol'SHPITZ.

Nice.

Anonymous said...

How did it go with that guy that came home with you?

It's All Good Now said...

I've always wondered if I was the only one who saw the oyxmoronic relationship between all the Pesach prep and the nomiker Zman Chayrusaynu. Then again, perhaps one needs to go through hardship before (or in order to appreciate)feeling properly liberated

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Anon - Gotchya!!

Who said I met a guy, hu? If you go to that corner in Williamsburg, you’ll get girl. Polishe girls, actually.

I knew I can make ya’all think one way in a snap! Lol.

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful story! Not that it is any of my business, but your husband might enjoy meeting "Maria", too. May such an adventure bring you both great joy.

Anonymous said...

Since you 'worded' it in a manner that easily, and indeed by default, would lead the reader (especially one new to your writings) to believe certain implications, it is obvious why such a question would be posed.

And since many believe that there is a certain truth to even a subtle implication, dare I ask do you know who your sweethearts daddy is?

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Anon - lol – come to think of it. For $10 an hour, I think that’s cheaper than the Mary’s over at the bridge...

If you meant the 'other' Maria (namely, me) my kallah teacher said that it's not oisgehalten.

Oy… Ven meshiga vult gemacht vaksen…

Anon Again - No, no. Don’t take it personally. Of course I mislead you intentionally. I had to make the story seem like a ‘dark’ expedition, to compete with all the other rebels that took to doing their own hair-raising things. See, had you known that all I was doing was picking up a goyta to clean my house, (and to wear her cloths) you wouldn’t think my whole experiment with Shiksa-life was all that exciting.

Wish –wash…

(Don’t worry. I’m usually not this crazy and my posts are often more understandable.)

Anonymous said...

Oh but Shpitz'le, all the other ''rebels'' I read are yingerlach. You're different. I want to take it personally. Will you let me?

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

I'm wary of this. What does 'taking personally' entail?

Anonymous said...

No need to be wary shpitz. It only entails whatever you want it to entail. You decide, I listen.

Baal Devarim said...

Hilarious story!

However, may I recommend the next time you feel an urge to take a flight-of-fancy you imagine yourself as more than a poor, hard-luck illegal immigrant? You might find it more enjoyable. You might try imagining Margaret Thatcher or Golda Meir. Maybe Katie Couric or Oprah Winfrey if that strikes your fancy. Perhaps Eileen Collins or Linda Godwin. How about one of the Williams (Serena or Venus) sisters? Maybe Florence Nightingale is more your speed. For a stretch try Sappho, Hypatia, or even Ada Byron Lovelace. For God's sake, anyone but your goyta!

(Not that you'll find anyone whose life is all peaches-and-cream; then again, I don't imagine anyone's life is all fushit-and-potatoes either.)

Gittel said...

Hmm, how to distinguish myself from the other anonymous...Anyway, I did mean you when I said "Maria". I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't know it wasn't oisgehalten. I'm reformed, they don't teach us such things. Sorry about that. :(

Leapa said...

Dittos to Baal Devorim.

But how about being one of the Sullivan sisters?(here: http://online.wsj.com/article_print/SB117124259912205306.html or else here: http://shortschrift.blogspot.com/)


Remember your own lines about the 'American dream whistling your name'? And the two income family?

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

BD - Oh, what am I gonna do with you?

Look, I’m just trying to follow the drift. The guys that take their own flight-of-fancy don’t seem to be anywhere near George Clooney, Donald Trump or David Letterman either. It appears as if our people find freedom in rather unproductive and unreal expeditions.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, so long as it’s a release and it’s not damaging (which, sometimes it is). But still, I feel like yelling ‘goddamit, not your goyta’. If someone is going to pass our rope to taste the big ‘n crazy world, why go for the lowest, most unproductive, for-the-moment-only liberties?

It seems that our restrictions backfire in itches for the most thrilling adventures. It’s as if when we leave one extreme, we want to escape to the other. It’s a risky direction.

(Upon your advise, I should leave this tanning bed tomorrow as Oprah Winfrey. Let the red carpet unroll.)

Gittel - Hi, welcome. Oh, I was just mocking. I didn’t know that you were unfamiliar with our rules. Sex is not really a talked-about issue, but when it is it’s discussed in a negative light. Experimenting is not openly encouraged.

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Leapa - That's me. The America Dream calls a bas-kol to me every day...

See my comment to BD.

JewishBiFemme said...

OMG!!! You little devil.....

Anonymous said...

JBF, shes not such a 'little' devil, I tell ya first-hand.

Leapa said...

Unfortunately, our lack of education and sophistication (and no, I'm not goin' anywhere) leads us to the gutter.

So when we lose appreciation of yiddishkeit, we don't even have the keylim to be a discerning consumer of goyishkeit.

Truly, past nisht.

Baal Devarim said...

Shpitzle:
"If someone is going to pass our rope to taste the big ‘n crazy world, why go for the lowest, most unproductive, for-the-moment-only liberties?"

I think you misunderstood the gist of my comment. I have nothing against "low," unproductive, for-the-moment-only liberties -- if that is what floats your boat. But since you seemed rather unhappy with your for-the-moment-only liberty, I thought I might suggest imagining yourself as something other than an illegal immigrant; it might make for a happier experience!

Anonymous said...

Shpitzle, which corner of the city was this? I'd like to be the one to follow you home next time you go there for business.

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Anon - Wouldn't you say? Tell us a bit about yourself and how you come to know 'first hand'.

Sire Leapa - Bingo! I was trying to point that out via hideous sarcasm. It's painful to see those kids lack judgment of what's good and what's just glitz in the tempting outdoors. Many blame it on the outside world and see it as further proof that the goyishe society is dangerous.

BD, you're a real pal. Even if I'd become an illegal immigrant at corner Lee Avenue with lots of Thank-You-Thank-You shopping bags you'll support me, because that's what does it for me. I'm touched.

I hear that 'modern' morals seek and grant freedom almost in its entirety, often to the point of self-destruction. That doesn't float my boat. I'm an old fashioned kinda person. I still believe in intervention.

(I assume you know this but I just want to be sure. Nothing personal.)

Anon - Go, go. Arbeit.

Skeleton said...

A more likely reason why those of us who choose to 'experiment' will go for a wild ride is that those who aren't interested in the wild ride also don't have the courage to 'experiment'. IOW, a certain type of personality that is prone to experiment is also prone to take it over the edge, while the rest shrink back in fear at the mere thought.

Just a thought.

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

Skel - I had also always assumed that experimentation is simply a product of gut, but I reconsidered since. I think it's really about connections. If you have the right friends, you'll experiment, if you don't, you probably will remain in your hole without even the courage to join an acting class for the fun of it.

When you're starved, you lack proper judgment in what's really good for you. You'll probably stuff yourself with food you might regret later. In part, this is what happens when an imprisoned chassid is left to choose from the free world. Another factor may be a lack of basic preparation or immunizataion; of understanding what these risks are about.

Anonymous said...

Shpitz, arbeit macht frei? lemme have the location, and I'll do the arbeit.

Semgirl said...

Your hysterical, like always. I didnt get your sarcasm at first. Why would you want to be the lowest of the low, surely there are bigger taivos, but then you made it crystal clear in the comments.

David_on_the_Lake said...

Great Post..
Great Sarcasm..

L'tzeinusa DAvoideh Zora

Youre a light in this dark bloggosphere

frumhouse said...

Great story! I hate to say it, but "Maria" sounds like she resembles a clown! Maybe you should take her to get a makeover over at Bloomingdales, complete with a personal shopper to select more fitted and elegant clothing.

Would your husband ever play the role of "Marco?" Perhaps you two could paint the town red together as a goyisha couple? LOL!

You really have a way with words!

nuch a chosid said...

so now you can say
"been there done that"
and u r back to
Bizchus noshim tzidkoniyos Nigalu Avoiseinu....