We went to a storytelling event where people shared how they ended up in Asheville, NC and the organizer used those words to describe why people who come here don’t leave.
We have been spending our days swimming in the French Broad River, going on nature walks around the cabin as well as in the many National Parks that surround us, and enjoying the comforts that America provides so well.
When I moved to Israel at age 18, I would argue with people who complained about the quality of life because, coming from Mexico, I felt they had no idea what was out there. Israel provided education, medical services and welfare to all (maybe not all, but let’s leave that for another post) and that, to me, was utopia. I remember one night, a couple of months after I moved, when I heard my neighbors yelling and sudden crashing noises. I got scared and for the first time in my life, I called the police. A couple of minutes later they had come, figured out what was going on and restored calm. I couldn’t believe it. You could actually call the police! Imagine that. So when people talked about how bad it was, I scoffed. Sure, there was a lot to improve, but the starting point was a lot better than what many people in many countries had.
These past weeks in North Carolina make the starting point here seem a notch (or more) above Israel. All of the services work here— the post office, the roads, the visitors’ centers — to the point where I found myself daydreaming what I would do if I lived here. Everything is so beautiful, we are surrounded by clean and gorgeous nature in every direction, and people are always nice. Like, really nice Southern charm nice. I thought, these are the claws that woman was talking about. This place grabs you and all your senses and makes you want to stay forever. But then there are the other kind of claws.
After I parked, Avri opened the car door and slightly hit (touched?) the neighboring car with our door. It was a dark green pick up truck and the driver was sitting inside. He honked his horn loud and long to us and we apologized with our hands. That wasn’t enough. He got out of the car and started telling us off for “slamming” the door in his car. We apologized and I went to see if there was any visible damage in his truck. There was not. He continued raising his voice and trying to make a point, he asked how we would feel if he did *this*, at which point he opened his door, full force, and slammed it into our car. He had to pull his door out of the dent he created, now scratched with green paint. We managed to mumble something like, why would you do that, sir? before we understood that he is that guy. The one who bullies people. The one who feels racially superior. The one who pulls a gun over nothing. And just like that, he scared us into silence.
I wonder why he is so angry and defensive, and if he knows how lucky he is to have a pick up truck, in the well paved parking lot of a restaurant where he probably ate till he was full, in a city with running water and electricity, to be wearing good clothes and a good haircut and to have enough strength in his body and fully working limbs to be able to get out of the car, walk over to us, and slam his car door into mine.