Considering I’m afraid of clowns, mimes, dolls, and anyone in costume, Purim is a rough holiday for me. Only with alcoholic fortification am I brazen enough to venture forth among the monsters, villains, animal people, adult sized Disney characters, etc. I’m not afraid of children in costumes. Even a pint sized clown is not quite enough to scare me. It’s the full-grown ones that terrify me. I got a text message Purim day from a friend warning me not to go outside since the streets were swamped with clowns.
Purim is a fun holiday. It’s like Halloween except that it’s fun for adults too (those that drink anyway). The kids dress up (and many of the adults as well), everyone partakes of the Purim feast, the adults drink, the younger adults drink even more and spend 2 days (Purim and Shushan Purim) partying. Plus people knock on your door all day and hand you food. What’s not to like? Aside from the clowns.
This being my first year living in Jerusalem, I HAD to spend 2 days celebrating. The traditional Purim seudah at my parents is epic. I couldn’t miss it. Mostly because I was planning on making off with most of the leftovers. Which I did. My dad always comes up with a theme (this year was Chinese food with a Thailandi soup) and we end up with absurd amounts of food that everyone has contributed. So instead of feeding a small nation for a few days, the leftovers feed me for a few weeks. I don’t feel guilty about this. Not even a little. The other reason I never miss it, is because it’s one of the few times during the year I get to see my parents tipsy, if not 3 sheets to the wind. My mother always whispers to me at some point, “I think I’m drunk,” as if it she hadn’t been giggling for the past 20 minutes. And if I play my cards right, I can get my dad to do his world famous “hand trick.” This basically involves him balancing his hand in the air for 30 seconds. Yes, it’s as impressive as it sounds. The only other time he performs this trick is after the third cup at the Pesach seder.
After the seudah, I went back to Jerusalem to get ready for the next part- more parties. As many as you can fit into one night and part of the next morning. I’m honestly not much of a partier but I figured that partying once a year wouldn’t kill me. Probably. Also, there would probably be free alcohol and I never say no to free alcohol. Unless it’s arak. I borrowed a mask from a friend, and after scaring myself half to death when I looked in the mirror, I borrowed a much less frightening one from a different friend. I ended up at 2 house parties and then the shuk, which was definitely a mistake as it was packed with teenagers dancing to bad techno music. Which is frankly a public health risk as you’re liable to get a limb in the eye, stomach, or other sensitive areas of the body. Techno in and of itself should be labeled a public health risk.
I started the next day with the megillah reading (ok, it was a 15:00 megillah reading. Don’t judge me) in front of the Gerard Behar Center. The construction a few buildings away started a few minutes later, and add that to the buses whizzing by, the car horns, and the drunk Israelis who decided to crash the reading, and I can’t say I actually heard much of the megillah. I was then invited by a random passerby to a vegan Purim meal. I told the guy I was right behind him and quickly ran off. Then there were more parties and I finally got home at around 1:00 or so in the morning.
The next day at work was a difficult one. I was only partially functional, and at one point got right and left confused with each other. This confusion lasted an entire 3 minutes. I am not proud of myself, but on the other hand I once subtracted 2 from 4 and got 1. On the SATs. These things happen.
Even worse was the news that my roommate was celebrating his birthday with ANOTHER party that night. My roommates usually go to a shiur every week, hosted by a different person each time. That night, they were holding it at our place and then having a party afterwards. This was a bit too much for me so I took a friend to the quietest bar I know to escape the madness at home. All I wanted to do was sleep. I have never wanted to sleep so badly in my life. I kept looking at my watch wondering if it was safe to go home yet. At 11:15 I decided I was going home no matter what. After scrubbing the bathtub (which had gotten filthy when my roommate washed the floor and spilled the dirty water into the bathtub, clogging the drain so that all the dirt dried onto the bottom of the tub), I took a quick shower and then waited for the last few people to go home. At 12:20 this finally occurred and Johnny and I climbed into bed and slept like logs.