Friday, June 3, 2016

Queens County Revisited: The 1970's (64)

While still living alone in the basement apartment in Jamaica, Queens during the 1970's, I was surprised one evening in the Fall to hear a knock on the basement apartment door. And when I opened the door, the former roommate of mine, who had moved from Jamaica, Queens to live in Israel near the end of the previous Spring--Barry--was standing in front of me.

'I'm back from Israel. And I'd like to move back in with you. Unless you've found a new roommate," Barry quickly said, as I motioned for him to sit down on the chair in the kitchen-dinette.

Although I enjoyed living in the basement apartment without a roommate more than I had enjoyed living with a roommate like Barry, who did not share my 1970's political and philosophical views, since the basement apartment had first been rented by Barry, before he later agreed to have me as his roommate the previous winter, I felt morally obligated to agree to let Barry move back into the basement apartment as my roommate--if that's what he now wanted to do. And besides, since I--at that time--expected to be living for the next six months on a weekly unemployment benefit check that paid less than what I had been earning from either my Bulova Parts Department clerk-typist job or my temporary student-travel agency clerk-typist jobs during the previous 9 months, getting a roommate--even one who was as sexist, male chauvinist, non-feminist and pro-Zionist as Barry was in the 1970's--who would be paying half the monthly rent and utilities expenses, now made sense from an economic standpoint for me.

"If it's O.K. with the landlord for you to move back in with me, it's O.K. with me," I quickly replied. And after getting the landlord's approval the next day, Barry handed me the $75 in cash, which represented his half of that month's rent, and moved into the apartment again as my roommate.

Despite being raised by a right-wing Zionist New York City cop, who moved to Israel following his retirement from the NYPD, Barry had apparently decided after, himself, living in Israel for a second extended period in the late Spring and Summer during the 1970's, that, despite his pro-Zionist upbringing and political sympathies, he was too Americanized, himself, to want to spend the rest of his life living in Israel rather than living in New York City.

And once the Israeli government apparently notified Barry that, if he was going to live in Israel and become an Israeli citizen, he would have to then serve some time in the Israeli military, Barry quickly purchased an airline ticket back to the U.S.A.. After all, in Barry's view, one reason he had left the U.S.A. was that, like most of the people he had grown up with in Queens, he was anti-war and opposed to serving in a U.S. military that waged endless war in countries like Vietnam. So it made no sense, he felt, to--despite his pro-Zionist politics--to now suddenly risk his own life, by being compelled to serve in the Israeli military, after having been previously successful in personally avoiding serving in the U.S. military of the country of his birth.