As if I needed another sign for the undeniable connection between all “random events”, and the manifestation of life itself as an Oscar winning film script.
A story so well written, that we, the hero himself, would only fathom just how every tiny occurrence in life follows Chekhov’s gun principal, to not only make sense at the end, but truly become a masterpiece tale, a story that is larger than life.
The connectedness of all living things is something so complex and hard to grasp. Yet both the spiritual novelist and the relativity theorist would agree – We are but the universe experiencing itself.
And that’s my explanation of meeting Jean-Pierre just as I left Howard and arrived New Orleans, Louisiana.
We just parked our camper at the RV gathering spot we saw from afar, right next to the police station on the north east corner of the Walmart parking lot.
Next to us was a brand new, 36 feet Class A mobile home.
It looked like everything a traveler could wish for. Full size living room and bedroom, 3 sliders, hydraulic leveling system and even automatic blinds, you know, so the sun won’t hit your face as soon as you wake up!
I’m mostly friendly and chatty with people I meet, but I’ll usually keep the “not impressed” look on my face, even when it comes to the most marvelous thing in the world.
Part of it is to restrain the desiring eye that seeks pleasure outside, when everything we ever need is within.
And part, not to let others ego grow on my expense and have them foolishly belive they are better than me (and in this case, my 82’ rusty looking Winnebago).
Danielle on the other hand, she’s like a curious puppy who just left its mother’s womb, and ready to explore the world.
Free from all the deception and manipulation our society has taught us, just so we can further advance in the status latter in life.
Her innocent personality doesn’t carry all these life’s unspoken rules as a burden on its shoulder, but have her free to do what she wants, when she wants, without overthinking possible consequences.
And so, as she saw our new neighbor stepping outside of his RV, she opened the curtains and strike up a conversation.
“Wow, this RV is so cool. Can I come inside to have a look?”
“Seriously Danielle?” don’t sound so needy”. I was thinking to myself, without saying a word, and letting her to do her thing.
After a few “Wows” and excitement laughters, I heared Danielle yelling “Lior, you gotta come see this, this is exactly what we need!”.
As I walk towards the RV, a short, European looking man, with a big smile and a blue V neck sweater, greeted me.
“Hi nice to meet you, Jean-Pierre”.
“Lior” I replied.
“Wow, you’re from New York?” he asked after noticing the yellow license plate.
“We’re actually from Israel” I answered, waiting to see the reaction on this European traveler’s face.
“Really? I was there a few years ago and loved it! It’s so beautiful and peaceful there”.
To hear a European calling Israel “peaceful”, a place most of the world, particularly Europe, sees as a chaotic war zone, isn’t something one would take lightly, especially if you’re an Israeli who took on himself a mission to share this truth throughout this country.
Jean-Pierre’s remark sparked a long conversation where he, a Flemish man in his early 60’s, shared with me his life story.
Jean-Pierre grew up working for his family Pommes Frites cart, a fact that pushed him into starting his own mayonnaise factory. A factory he sold at the age of 35, and bought him the freedom ticket to travel and live around the world.
We talked at length on life, and Jean-Pierre shared how seeing his mom undergoing 27 surgeries in 25 years before dying of cancer, made him realize he should live every day to the fullest, and how he basically retired after that early success he had, and today mainly tries to enjoy life with his wife and 2 children.
Jean-Pierre also shared with me how he never asks for one’s occupation.
“It’s something I’ve learned with time, as it almost automatically turns you biased, and adjust your behavior towards the person you’re talking to.”
“Numerous times I’ve met Doctors who were stupid and didn’t know anything except for their work, and I met beggers whom I had the most interesting conversations ever, because all they did was read and learn”.
I smiled and nodded as I understood perfectly what he was referring to.
In New York, this annoying question would come up in the first 10 seconds of a conversation with a stranger.
What do you do for a living and where do you live, are the two assessment tools most New Yorkers use to determine one’s net worth and potential value for their interests.
Jean-Pierre was planning on taking his new motorhome back to Europe, and I sent him with a bag of Israeli coffee (because let’s face it, the coffee here suck).
We said we’ll talk again in the fall, as Jean-Pierre will be in Oregon and maybe our paths will cross again soon.
To what extent the story of Howard The Jewish Redneck and his KKK friend, was an introduction to this of Jean-Pierre, where both demonstrate just how much prejudice can be eliminated by personal experience, that I don’t know.
What I do know is that for me, it’s not only evidence that personal experience overcomes any media distortion of the truth, but also that my grassroot work of having Israel supporting people, be more engaged in the inventions this country is bringing to the world and use them to positively affect other people’s lives, is the way to defeat antisemitism and the hate towards Israel.
*We left New Orleans early as Mardi Gras was just a bit too much drunk people around us, and arrived to Houston Texas. From here we’ll continue to San Antonio, Austin and Dallas before heading west. As always, if you have any connections in those places please let me know!
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