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The Same but Different

My wife and I made aliyah as a mature couple in our fifties with experiences and associations derived from our personal backgrounds of life in the United States.

We found contemporary Israel to be very "American" in many aspects of daily life. On the other hand, we found very many things, from the profound to the mundane, to be decidedly different, so much so that my wife talked about writing a book to be called "The Same but Different" , comparing everyday objects and social encounters.

Very early on in our aliyah, I had a "same but different" revelation. I bought a full-zip-front hoodie, a basically American-style garment, also fashionable in Israel. When I tried it on and attempted to fasten the zipper, a largely mindless and autonomic procedure, I immediately sensed that something was "wrong". The fine motor coordination of my hands and fingers was definitely "off". I had difficulty inserting the half-track of the zipper into its slot so as to zip up the hoodie.

After a moment, I realized the problem. The hand-pull of the zipper was on the left half-track side! For me, this fact meant a complete reversal of my "normal" of zipping up garments with right side hand-pulls.

My first thought was that this hoodie was "irregular", a one-off. But all the other full-zip jackets on the row of hangers also had left-hand pulls.

Was this a woman's jacket? To the best of my memory, all of my wife's zipper jackets from America had right-hand pulls. Zipper fronts are not like button fronts, flap over the left for women, to the right for men. I bought the hoodie. It fit and at most, it was unisex.

Back at the apartment, I saw that all of our zipper jackets brought from America had right-hand pulls. I started noticing the zipper front sweaters and jackets on people outside our home. Men and women alike all had left-hand pulls. You could see this when the jacket was worn unzipped.

I am somewhat ambidextrous, so I quickly adapted to a left-handed zipper pull. I pride myself on a modicum of flexibility. I could live with the inconsistency (hypocrisy?) of wearing my left track hoodie under a right track parka.

In fact, in my youth, I probably would have preferred the left track. But with the experience of decades, even though I can still close the zipper from the left, I know that the right-handed pull is the more logical and anatomically more correct.

The right-handed pull keeps me on the right track! 



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Thursday, 25 July 2024

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