Alex Lang Responds to "Satisfaction Guaranteed"

Having just returned from a three week trip to Israel, what struck me most about your story was the absence of fear.  Sure, it was a hassle to get to Vared Ha'Galil; sure, you were schlepping through the backwoods of Israel; sure, you may not get to ride her horse, but you were never genuinely fearful of the people she met along the way.  Indeed, when you saw another person, " a fellow passenger or serial killer—or both"  you followed him as he was "your only hope."  I doubt you would have done the same thing in Wyoming, California or North Carolina.  It's odd because traveling in Israel as an American Jew you find yourself doing things you would never do in the United States based on daily fear or paranoia.  For example, growing up in California I would not dream of picking up a hitchhiker.  In fact, I'd be really surprised if I even know anyone who has picked up a hitchhiker in the last 20 years.  Oddly, however, as I was traveling through Israel in a rented car it seemed perfectly natural to pick up a hitchhiking soldiers, on leave for the day or weekend, and give them a ride.  Never mind that these 18-20 year-old young men have machine guns, which they bring in your car, and travel in packs. I must admit I did have slight moments of panic where I would think that the young men in the backseat were only dressed as soldiers and were actually terrorists or psycho-killers who would leave us for dead on the side of the road and move on.  But those moments would quickly pass—that's American paranoia, not Israeli reality. This is not to say that there are no Israeli serial-killers (although I know of none).  It's only to say that despite the suicide bombings and presence of machine guns in public places, I oddly never felt safer anywhere in the world.

Alex Lang is a lawyer whose paranoia causes her to avidly avoid local news, films like "The Silence of the Lambs," and underground parking lots.

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