I took the day off work today. But I wish I hadn’t. It’s been a disaster. And it’s still not evening . . .
7:05 am: Dexxy and Stuey have slept enough. They decide that I have too. Little bastards.
7:15 am: Take them down for their walk. Huge clogs of soiled toilet paper are still spewing forth, excrementally, from the drain at the side of our building. It seems there cannot be a backside in Greater Tel Aviv left unrepresented.
7:55 am: Sit down for coffee at my “local”. I feel the women at the next table crowding me. Israelis do that. You are at the cash machine, and invariably ‘feel’ the person standing behind you. They have no concept of personal space over here. I pull a face, and feel I’ve made my point.
10:20 am: Moshe “the thieving plumber” (can there be a better example of a tautology?) comes to unblock the drain. He immediately says he’ll need an extra 100 shekels to clean up the toilet paper that has already flowed out of it (he must have thought, when providing his original quote, that we wouldn’t possibly want him removing so worthy a candidate for the Tel Aviv Museum of Art).
10:30 am: Moshe phones from downstairs. The festering cesspit greeting his arrival was obviously insufficient giveaway . . . he’ll need a further 100 shekels, because the blockage is “particularly bad”.
11 am: My induction to the gym. I joined on Friday, after my gay friend, Yossi, told me that I had to get my act together. Buying a new wardrobe and losing my keress [Hebrew for beer belly] was the gist of it. I am not doing the tight sleeveless vest and leather cap thing, so it was the gym or nothing. But I hate the places. The introductory circuit is thoroughly humiliating. As he watches my face get pinker with every pitiful exertion, the instructor downgrades the dumbbells from Macho Black to Girlie Pink. I want to tell Boris to f*ck off back to Uzbekistan. He informs me he’s the Israeli national wrestling champion. I decide not to.
1:30 pm: Head off with Dexx and Stu to MASH, to watch the satellite broadcast of Histon Town (it’s actually a village vs Leeds United, in the 2nd round of the FA Cup (the reason I took the day off).
1:55pm: Receive a text message from the pub’s owner, informing me that – in spite of the game having been advertised on the MASH website – it’s not being shown. When Roy, the most intelligent Tel Aviv White (no distinction in itself), phones to complain (I can become irrational during such conversations), he is informed that it is actually our fault for not having phoned to check yesterday. “Sorry” is not a word in the local consumer industry lexicon.
4 pm: My beloved Leeds United has lost, for the first time in its history, to a team from outside the Football League. And to a goal by a postman. If anybody knows where Histon is, will they please bloody tell me (what I do know is that it has a population of under 4,500, compared to the over 715,000 in Leeds).
4:10 pm: City, my last hope for rescuing the day, go one-nil down to United in the Manchester derby, which I am watching at the home of “Mad” Eddie (see The Tel Aviv Whites). Most Leeds fans would point Indian intelligence officers, searching for evil perpetrators, in the direction of Old Trafford rather than Pakistan.
5:16 pm: Injury time. City still losing. Eddie declares that he’ll let Dexxy and Stuey “do a Monica” on him – the “eat one’s hat” idiom obviously never reached Yorkshire – should City equalise.
5:17 pm: United’s goalkeeper makes a great point-blank save, denying City at the death. My last hope of a smile today vanishes. Eddie, just inches away from becoming “Mad, I Did Not Have Sex With Those Dogs” Eddie, breathes a huge sigh of relief (so do Dexxy and Stuey . . . they’d have had a good case for cruelty to animals).
On the bright side, I met a lovely woman yesterday evening, at the opening party for a new theatrical production of Oliver Twist (at least Fagin shouldn’t be portrayed too unkindly here), the latest project of legendary Israeli film director, Menachem Golan.
But I think I’ll call her tomorrow.