The Daily Grind

P1000971Blame it on the heat. Or fatigue. But the third time I passed the pomegranate juicer in the Old City of Jerusalem, I decided it was time for a little drinkiepoo.

Here they are. In all their beauty on the left.

His stack was at least two feet taller than the crate outside the shop. A big pile was on his right and a plastic container on his left, the latter holding halved pomegranates ready to be squashed. The colors alone were enough to seduce me.

The Old City is a place of scents (and sights and sounds…). The pomegranate man was there every day. Patiently juicing pomegranates, one half after another, waiting for locals (most of his market, from what I observed) and the occasional brave tourist to P1000969slake their thirst.

I had passed oranges juicers. And lemon juicers. Date juicers were probably lurking somewhere. But everything paled in comparison to the pomegranate guy.

In an ancient place, he wore plastic gloves. I found that totally incongruous, but encouraging. I had just, somehow, stupidly wandered through the butcher alleyway, trying to look unaffected by a stomach-churning smell. I didn’t want to be rude to the severed head of goat or the lamb shanks (legs) with hoofs still attached, so tried to be discreet as I held my hand over my nose. (Epic failure.) I told my husband I was walking ahead to meet him where the meat ended. I could not imagine that alleyway in August.

Which brings me back to the pomegranate stand. And the man who stood there patiently juicing pomegranates at every hour of the day. See how carefully he positions the pomegranate half in the photo to the left? P1000972That’s a man who takes pride in his work and in getting it right.

Does he worry about unemployment? Health care? His children’s education? Old age? Has the recession impacted him, and does he covet a pair of Nikes? Does he own a car? Is it insured? When he sits with his friends, what do they talk about? Sports? Immigration (where the illegal is most likely a terrorist)? The stock market?

His daily grind is, literally, a grind. I hope he sleeps well at night.

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