Rebel without a map
People tell me that my father and I are a lot alike. And sometimes I see it. Then again, sometimes I don't...
My father doesn’t ask for directions. Talk about living on the edge. This caused an incredibly strange journey during my parent’s vacation in Brazil last summer.
It was Friday night, the sun was setting, and my father decided that he wanted to celebrate the Sabbath like the good Jew I'm not. Sure, some people come to Brazil for the beaches, the music, the bikini waxes, but not my father. After getting the name of a synagogue from the concierge, he set off with my mother and no command of Portuguese. After twenty-five minutes of walking, it turned out that no such synagogue existed in said location.
“Well, we tried. Let’s head back,” my mother said.
And just as my father was about to respond he spotted a couple, a very obviously Jewish couple. How do you know they were Jewish, you anti-Semite, you ask? Well, let’s just say nothing screams Heeb like payas (those curly sideburns) and an accompanying girl with a long skirt and a stroller full of babies.
“Perfect!” My mother exclaimed. “I bet they know where there’s a synagogue. Saul, go ask them.”
“Roberta, did you hear them speaking Portuguese? How am I supposed to ask them?” Now, I’m going to have to disagree with my dad on this one. I think there are a lot of ways he could explain himself. Simulate praying. Draw a Star of David in the air. Show him you’re circumcised.
Instead he said, “Let’s just follow them and see where they’re going.”
And that’s when my father started his Jewish reconnaissance mission. And as my mother knew it was fruitless to argue, she went along for the ride. I don’t know if it’s because my father was in the army during Vietnam—albeit it was language school—which made him feel like trailing someone was a good idea, but off they went, following just close enough. Whenever they feared they would be “discovered” they would jump into the nearest doorway, like some kind of two member A-Team gone horribly wrong. They followed the couple for three miles, past the beach, past the prostitutes, the pick pockets, and the many salsa and merengue clubs that littered the city with music.
(Note:It was at this point in the story that I decided that my mother must really love my father. You just don’t go on a three hour tour with someone you’re just ehhh about.)
Finally, the Jewish couple entered a building. Only problem was that it was someone’s house. Seems the couple was heading to Shabbat dinner, and not to hang with God just yet. Dejected, my parents began the trek back to find our hotel. Granted, the expedition wasn’t a total loss as my mother found a “Curves” gym, (or “Rolls” as my friend likes to call it), to which she belongs in the states, and over which she got very excited.