My eldest daughter India moved out last year. The process of individuating can be challenging at the very least. Over the past year, there have been times, when i am not sure who has been individuating from whom! The hardest part of having an adult child who no longer lives under my roof, has been the feeling that i am not there to protect her anymore. I have had my fair share of phone calls – a parent’s worst nightmare, where i found out she had been in a car accident. I honestly think that driving at 16 is really too young. Children have no idea that cars are little death traps. Anyway, I digress – this post is about a phone call i got yesterday of a very different nature.
It was very Seinfeld!
My 21-year-old daughter India called me to tell me about an unusual incident that occurred yesterday – It was very Seinfeld!
She was about to get into her car, outside her apartment in Hollywood, when all of a sudden, a frantic 13-year-old boy, dressed in Hasidic Jewish garb, raced towards her, screaming, “Help, please help! A plate is on fire!” All India heard must have heard was “HELP & FIRE” because if she had listened to him, she might have realized how odd his request sounded! But being the good Samaritan that she is, she grabbed her bottle of water and followed the boy at full speed back to his apartment. There she found the boy’s family, gathered around their dining room table, watching a paper plate go up in flames. The mother explained, “We are Orthodox and we are not allowed to put out a fire – as it is considered work.” She poured seltzer water into India’s hands and asked her to please douse out the fire. But then, a nanosecond before India flung the water on the fire, the mother asked, “Wait a minute, are you Jewish?” India answered, “Not traditional. My mother is Jewish” (Actually it is my late father who was Jewish!)
The mother shrieked, “STOP! Then you cannot put out the fire! It is not allowed!” So, they all stood there, frozen, watching the fire run its course. I asked her if the fire had spread and perhaps consumed the table or more, but India assured me that it had not! Luckily!
She said it was one of the most bizarre, surrealistic moments of her life. Afterward, the family invited her to stay and join them for their Sabbath meal!
I prefer these kind of calls any day!