You told me that the idea for your story “Mitzvah” came from a taxi ride. Can you explain?
I took a taxi ride in Tel Aviv with a young driver who seemed to be nice. The driver was telling me about a date he’d had, and the way that he was speaking about the girl he’d dated and about women in general was so disrespectful that I found myself yelling at him. When I got out of the cab, the driver, who seemed genuinely offended, told me that I was aggressive and that, because of people like me, he wanted to leave Israel.
At that moment, I realized that we were seeing the world in radically different ways, and that, in our different versions, we each saw ourselves as the good guy. When I sat down to write this story, I tried to tell it through that taxi driver’s eyes, a story of somebody who is offensive and rude to some of the people around him but is totally unaware of it. I must admit that this is a recurring scenario with me: I fight with people, can be really nasty to them, feel bad afterward, and then later try to write a story from what I imagine to be their point of view. It’s strange, but this always helps me calm down and feel slightly less self-righteous.