Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cool Stuff

A dear friend of mine is coming to visit next week. When she lived here about a decade ago, we used to go to the beach together a few times a year. At that time, I knew of a reasonably-priced kosher Chinese restaurant that was located on a street near the beach. On one of our trips I suggested going there. We went and enjoyed it very much.

When I spoke with my friend a few days ago, we made a date to go to the beach like old times, and she said that she would like to go to that restaurant again. But it had been so long since we had been there that I no longer remembered its name or where it was. I looked on a well-known directory of kosher restaurants in Israel, but it wasn’t listed there. Finally I tried typing the words “kosher Chinese restaurant” and the name of the street where I thought it had been into a search engine—and found it! It’s moved from its previous location, but it still has the specific dish that I enjoyed and the reasonable prices that I remember.

Still more reasons to love the Internet: this week, two friends from high school contacted me. One was a particularly good friend back then, and in all the years that have passed I have never forgotten her kindness and sweetness, offered so naturally at a time when I needed them very much. I wasn’t all that close with the second, but we were in choir together for years and I admired his singing voice a lot. I was surprised—and flattered—that he even remembered me!

The next cool thing combines two activities that are close to my heart, music and translation. Recently I translated some liner notes for a composer who is about to release a CD of some of his earlier work. (Sorry, but I can’t give any names or identifying details at this point. When the CD is out, I’ll mention it here.) As part of the job, the composer gave me a copy of the CD so that I could listen to the music described in the liner notes and provide a more accurate translation.

I had already listened to quite a few songs when I suddenly heard an upbeat introduction that sounded familiar. Suddenly I felt a jolt inside my mind, for a fraction of a moment it felt as though I could hear nothing at all—and then, within seconds, the entire song came flooding back to me, even as the recording playing through my speakers was still on its first several bars. This song had been on one of my tapes of Israeli music back when I was still living in the States, but with no attribution, so I had no idea who had composed it. It was one of my favorite songs at the time and I listened to it over and over, but when my lift was jettisoned from the cargo ship during my move here, the cassette went with it. Now, nearly twenty years later, I was listening to it on a CD that its very composer had given to me—and as if that weren’t enough, I was playing a small part in its re-release.

Cool, no?

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