On my way to meet a friend at 61 Hakishon Street, I wound up at 31 Hakishon Street by mistake. The building was empty at night and the quiet street engulfed by the smell of baking pastries. I've lived by this bakery for brief months in the late 90s, right around the corner from Hakishon, taking in the unglorious days and nights of northern Florentine. This is the unhip part of Tel-Aviv's densest neighborhood: A wholesale garment district by day, a gritty albeit scentful wasteland by night.
Could a lonely wind chime hanging over a concrete balcony save this neighborhood's soul? Does it have a soul? Hakishon St., named after Israel's most polluted river, was built before Tel-Aviv adopted the garden city concept and kept its structures seperated by green passages. A long corridor of shabby bauhaus treasures, it reminds me of Havana de Cuba as it appears on the cover of the "Buena Vista" album. But no one shakes an ass on this street nor lights a homammade cigar. This is cuba by looks, not by spirit.
Yes, but when that sweet smell came, it brought back everything that happened to me on this random Tel-Avivian street: The pretty girl on whose door I knocked here one night (She opened up but I was 18 and she was older and I didn't quite know how to go about it), The night on which I walked here with Lin and we witnessed twenty cats having a convention, just at the spot on which, another night, I bumped into Vera and she was madly wasted and I felt sorry for our fucked up generation. The smell brought back the rain falling over a car bringing Yoel back from the airport - he returned from India to a flat where Ronen and I were playing Brahms and Duran Duran intermittently on the vynil record player. I cut my long hair that same night for the first time since highschool, have been feeling slightly naked ever since.
I've been seeing myself in Jerusalem's stone and in Europe's highway gas stations, at times giving people an address on the moon, to illustrate my lostness. I've been calling myself a Jaffoite for over a year now. It's all pointless. In a whiff of cheap, darkening, sugary dough, Tel-Aviv reminded me that I'm her own, hugging me to its filthy, magical bosom.