Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Parallel Realities



Hubby and I spend a significant amount of time watching television. Personally, I am very tired of the slick American movies and T.V. series where everyone is gorgeous, skinny, brilliant, a vampire, or a superhero. There are only so many predictable permutations and US filmmakers seem to have run out of ideas. We have begun watching some fascinating Turkish television series on Netflix. The characters and plots are outstanding. There were hundreds of segments to occupy us during a Covid-19 pandemic lock-down. The problem, of course, is that it should come as no surprise, we do not speak Turkish. Fortunately, there are English subtitles. Hubby has new television prescription glasses and can now read the English below. I must admit that Hubby is as fascinated by these series as I am, and I had presumed we are somehow enjoying the same experience. Not so.

The other night there was a romantic scene where two people fall in love and into bed with one another. Hubby decided to explain to me (during the “good part”), that he is tired of all these “prison movies.” Honestly, there were no bars, or police, or any clue as to how he came to the conclusion that a man and woman in bed with one another might be in prison. I could not think of a brilliant response.

This evening, I wanted to join a Zoom conference with international political leaders. The panel members were all esteemed contributors to different levels of governance. The panel was in English. It aired at our dinner time so I placed my iPad on the dining table so I could do two things at one time. The first challenge was that Hubby was reading the newspaper at the same table. He had been reading it for over an hour – aloud. He read with incredible expression as though he had an audience, but I was the only one in the room. He wanted to continue reading aloud as dinner was served, and we had to take the newspaper away from the table or he would never have eaten a bite.

Then the Zoom panel began. Hubby decided to argue with the speakers. Fortunately, we were already “muted”. Major complication: Hubby was not following the context of the event, and decided to verbalize his contrary opinions to what he thought they were expressing. He could not control his reactions. My holding my head in my hands was not a clear message to him. Finally, in a weak moment I exclaimed “I cannot take this anymore!” I grabbed the iPad and ran into the next room in order to listen without competition. I went to hide in my favorite corner where no one can see me, and then watched the rest of the Zoom conference. It was not one of my finest moments.

Just as I begin to fool myself that all has calmed down and that we are back to our “new normal” and the illusion is again upended.

Hubby and I got comfortable after dinner and I decided to try a French T.V. series called LUPIN. It began with an auction at the Louvre Museum of Art in Paris. It began in the iconic glass entrance and I reminded Hubby that we had been there together many times. We especially went to see the first painting that the film showed on screen: The Mona Lisa. I reminded him that we had gone to see it together years ago and that we were disappointed that it was so small! He responded, “I don’t want to go to that hospital again.” I took a deep breath, and I tried again.

“This is a film about an auction at the Louvre.” I offered as a clarification.

“Nobody has any money these days, nobody will buy anything!” he responded. I explained that it is simply a series which was made years ago in France. In the film, the necklace on auction sold for 61 million Euros. Pure fiction!

Often when we are watching a movie, Hubby will comment that no one in the film is wearing a mask. He understands everything important about the dangers of the Covid-19 virus. That is not the confusing part. He has no automatic understanding that the film we are viewing was made years ago and is not happening in “real time.” While we are sitting in the same room – sharing the evening and watching television together, we are having very different experiences which like all parallel lines, will never intersect.

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Barbara Diamond is a journalist living in Jerusalem, Israel. She has been a political activist on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people for over fifty years, having participated in political and humanitarian missions to Ethiopia, the former Soviet Union, China, and Europe to meet with world leaders on matters of concern. She has written over 100 articles for the Jerusalem Post and on her blog at The Times of Israel, hosted an English radio talk show in Jerusalem and continues mentoring others to pass on the torch of responsibility. You can reach her at [email protected] and visit her site at