Category Archives: Shit happens

The Letter I Will Not Write

Dateline: the day after Yom Kippur, 2016

Last night, as the fast ended, I sat with my cup of tea and a slice of Elite Confectionery’s finest honey cake, and perused Facebook — all of which are collectively, I believe, the official modern day remedy for post-fast headache and stomach rumblings.

Imagine my horror when i discovered in my feed that someone who I once knew at school had taken my pre-Yom Kippur blessing, the words that I had elegantly crafted myself for the specific purpose of communicating with my many friends and relatives, and plagiarised them in their entirety as his own. No credit. No sharing. Theft, pure and simple.

I was (almost) speechless by this act of sheer impudence. The person in question and I had never been close — high school is full of cliques, and we were neither of us ever in the popular kids’ crowd, but we were also not in similar social groups. But we knew each other. All in all, cliques aside, it was quite a friendly atmosphere for a high school, particularly in the final two years. So I didn’t know him well, and from a distance had thought of him as nice enough, mostly harmless and a bit weasley-looking.

Apparently, “weasley” just about describes it. Word for word, he lifted what I said. Word for fucking word. Not a word of apology, remorse or regret. Grand theft status.

I was (am) absolutely livid. Incandescent with rage, even. And yet, the reaming that he deserves will never happen. I just spent 25 hours in self-reflection and personal prayer, thinking of how I could be a better person. While the temptation to explode all over his Facebook page in lethal writer mode, with words that would cause him to rethink his very existence, was enormously strong, I curbed myself and blocked him instead. It’s not that I said nothing — discretion may be the better part of valour, but there’s a limit to how zen and spiritual I can be when I’m riled. When I saw it, I straightaway commented about how I **forgave him for stealing my words without permission or say-so**, and how **giving credit would have been the right thing to do**. The little shit de-friended me on the spot, which further fuels the “weasel” hypothesis.

I use words in my daily life as my tools and props. Words are what allow me to express myself in my personal life, and are also the very things that enable me to make a living. I’m blessed to have always had this ability with language — one of my earliest memories was writing out my frustration at my mother by viciously criticizing a dress of hers. I never showed it to her, but it eased the tangled fury in my head and I could breathe again. I was six years old.

I choose to use my power for good, rather than to sully my talent with the blood of this pathetic individual. And there would be bloodshed, make no mistake. If I chose to tear him apart using my keyboard as a weapon, be very sure that I would. I choose not to, because I’m better than him. I shall let the higher authorities do their worst with him (Facebook? Ha!) and I have prevented him from ever seeing another word that I publish.

The theft of intellectual property leaves a person feeling as violated and laid bare as a physical robbery. This may even be worse, since physical items can be replaced. Yet, his conscience is his business, and for him to reconcile with her Ladyship god almighty as he sees fit. He’s clearly a sad little person with low self esteem, and the inability to own his own shit. Poor poor him.

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Working Dilemma

Hypothetical situation, crowd-sourcing opinions. Read all the way to the end before giving me the benefit of your opinion.

A person works at a company. Their spouse has been unemployed for over a year and half, and unsuccessful at finding gainful, permanent employment, despite their best efforts.

A job comes up at the company where this person (TP) works, so they give in their spouse’s CV for a potential job. A telephonic interview is conducted between potential boss (PB) and said spouse (SS), and SS is told they will be contacted the following week to arrange a further and more in-depth interview.

The following week, SS receives an irate phone call from PB, to the tune of “where the hell are you?”. It transpires that PB sent a Google calendar invitation to SS, which never arrived (verified), and didn’t follow up on confirming, except to send a reminder TEN MINUTES before the start of proposed interview.

SS is taken aback, and utterly distraught at the thought that a possible job opportunity is disappearing into thin air through no fault of their own, and pleads their case to PB — to no avail.

SS then calls TP and asks for them to call PB and explain the situation, since PB had been so irate at the no-show, that SS believes that she didn’t take in the fact that a genuine misunderstanding had occurred. TP, caught between doing 87 things at once (in the week before Pesach) agrees to call, despite the fact (realised after the event) that it is possibly not the most appropriate of phone calls, under the circumstances.

TP then calls PB, to try to explain, not to beg for further chances or anything — and gets reamed for interfering. PB is CONVINCED that SS knew about the interview because it had been discussed during the original telephonic interview — which SS maintains is completely not the case, and TP is very inclined to believe them, knowing them as they do (being spouses/ spice / whatever) and also knowing that when a person has been unable to find work for over a year and a half, said person is unlikely to fuck up on purpose.

The situation is now like this:
— The job is a no-go, the rejection letter has been sent and received.
— TP has searched the email account of SS, to which she has full consensual access BTW, and no interview date was sent to the calendar. A reminder was sent (mentioned above, 10 minutes before start of the-interview-that-never happened, but the interview does not appear in the calendar, backing up SS’s claim.
— It seems to TP that there was a huge cock-up, and that while apportioning blame does not help, PB could and should accept 100% responsibility for their 50% of the equation.

TP would REALLY like to say the following to PB, but is being cautious because, hey — they do have to work together. However, they don’t have to work together very much, and TP believes that this needs saying:

“I appreciate that it was inappropriate of me to call you in that way the other day. However, my intention was not to beg, or put you in any kind of uncomfortable position, nor did i expect you to help out simply because it was my spouse in question.

“That said, I sincerely hope that you never have to undergo the crippling humiliation of being cast aside like yesterday’s rubbish by a large corporation which buys the company where you have given 13 years of dedicated service, and decides that it no longer has any use for you because you are too expensive. That you should never feel the shame that comes from being unable to secure gainful employment because you’re not in the right age bracket. That your years of hard work have garnered you so many years of useless experience, because you’re too expensive, or “you’d be bored doing this menial shit”, or “i can’t hire you, you’re better than me and would take my job out from under me”. That you should never have to feel depressed at being so useless. That you should never feel the debilitating effects of being on the dole.

“Life looks rosy for you now — at the tender age of 29, working in a start-up with great prospects. However, one thing I have learned in my 45 years. Life is a long road that is full of twists and turns. You never know what’s around the corner.

“Also, karma is a bitch.”

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The Natural Blonde

I did something so unbelievably daft over this weekend, that I absolutely have to document it for posterity. Or pastority. Something, definitely.

It is clear that the rot is seeping into the very darkest and undusted crevices of the lump of grey matter that I laughing refer to as my brain.

I woke up, and realised that I was just in time to not enjoy my customary and oh-so-necessary five-minute snooze if I wanted to shower *and* wash my hair and get myself and my daughter out of the house in time. Bummer. Suckworthy. Aval ein ma la’asot.

So up I get, and begin abluting, and I know all you men (all three of you who bother reading here) will fail to understand the significance of a hairwashing day as opposed to a non-hairwashing day, so I shall enlighten you. Don’t groan, it won’t hurt and it will only take a minute. Being of blonde hair of the natural variety, my hair has a specific period where it can be termed “looking good”. In the winter, this can be anything between 12 and 24 hours straight. In the summer, particularly on a humid day, I can get away with a couple of hours, if confined to air-conditioned surroundings with no respite to allow in the sticky summer air. I have a window of opportunity that presents itself between laying my trusty hairdresser’s model hairdryer to rest, and grabbing my cup of tea and computer bag, and heading out of the door towards the car, which, if I time it right, enables me to retain some semblance of okayness about my hair and thus arrive for work not looking as though I’d taken a post-shower shower, while clothed.

Yes, I am extremely vain. And?

Into the aforementioned window of opportunity, I squeeze making myself breakfast-on-the-go, packing up my computer with all relevant papers and accoutrements, and rousing my 7-going-on-15 year-old daughter from her mattress — usually a feat best achieved when using an industrial spatula — or “schpachtel” as they are known here. Using my innate sense of persuasion, plus the usual hefty bribe, I succeed in my attempts, and she gets up, washed and dressed in a relatively short amount of time. Her brother is thankfully sleeping over at a friends’, greasing the wheels of my morning rituals to the extent that at 7.40 on the dot we are ready to go.

Quietly, I poke my head around the door at my slumbering husband, whose occasional yet thundering snores leave me believing that he’s still asleep. Clearly a far lighter sleeper than I suspected, in response to my tiny whispered “Bye, dear, we’re going..!” he rolls over with all the elegance of a phlegmatic walrus and mumbles “where you going?”

I adopt my best “ke’ilu duh” stance, and raise a sardonic eyebrow at him.

“Well, it’s Sunday, so, you know, I *thought* i’d pop into work. That place where they pay me to show up on a Sunday — remember?”

He rubs the sleep from one eye, and eyebrows back at me. (Dammit. I’ve taught him too well. Bugger.)

A beat, and then:

“It’s Saturday, you daft bint.”

Ahem.

See, the naturally blonde are a logistically challenged species. Not always, not all of us, but I am, and for the rest of my life.

Apparently.

😎

The best and worst concert I ever heard

I have really wanted to see Dylan for years and years. And so last night, I went — but I couldn’t tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed it, because that, gentle reader, would be a big fat stonking fuck-off lie.

(Oh, by the way, if you faint at the sound or sight of the word fuck, you clearly haven’t spent much time with me.)

My husband is, I believe, his biggest fan. Ever. Not just in the country, not even just in the entire EMEA landmass. His. Biggest. Fan. Ever. Anywhere.

Anyone who knows my husband, knows that his love for me comes second — that Dylan is his one true love. (In an esoteric and entirely non-sexual way.)  He listens to his music almost-but-not-quite exclusively, refers to him as the king (sorry, Elvis fans, your guy has truly left the building as far as my husband is concerned), reveres him thoroughly and quotes him at the drop of a hat. He actually described our wedding as “a really good night, almost as good as the Dylan concert in the Mann auditorium”.

I shit you not.

The idea of seeing such a powerful and significant figure — literally, a living legend in the music industry over the past 50-odd years also resonated with me, and enormously so. It seemed incontheivable that such an event would not pay off, emotionally, and artistically — whatever the outcome.  I’ve been a fan of his poetry for many years, although his more recent music, while good and enjoyable, is not my most beloved cup of tea (although it is up there with other teacups, to fully stretch a metaphor).

So when I heard that Dylan and Paul Simon were coming to Israel this summer, I was all gung-ho and excited about seeing two living legends — one of whom I’d already seen (Rhythm of the saints, Wembley, 1990) and the other who has pretty much accompanied my relationship and 14-year marriage like a sort of musical gooseberry.

A quick review of the financial situation, and my good sense quickly indicates to me that it will have to be one or t’other. I was torn. What to do? Then my sister, god bless her, helped make the decision for me, by asking, pleading and finally guilt-tripping me into babysitting my nephews so that she and her husband could go to see Paul Simon. (“You know how difficult it is for Elder Nephew to get to sleep, and with any other babysitter he’ll never sleep and it’ll be a complete nightmare and he won’t sleep which means none of us will sleep properly for a week, and I haven’t slept properly since Younger Nephew was born, and we never get to go out anywhere beyond 9 o’clock in the evening anymore, and please please please please do this for me!!!“)

All that guilt-tripping worked. Although, since I am not without guilt-tripping powers of my own, i have managed to bag myself a Paul Simon t-shirt as a babysitting fee. Heck, I missed Paul McCartney and survived — I’ll survive this too.

Which left me financially resourceful enough to afford a ticket to Dylan. Not a front row seat, because at 1000 NIS a pop, that’s way too rich for my blood. Plus, I thought to myself, I’ll see the stage from afar and close-ups on the screen.

Oh, the irony.

It was just about the worst big-scale concert I’ve ever attended. In front of our section stood a screen, ostensibly situated to enhance the visual experience for those of us sat 3 miles from the stage. However, the positioning of the screen meant that everyone in my section could ONLY see the screen; the stage was completely blocked from view — a feat of idiocy unparalleled in my experience. When the show did start, after the warm-up acts (Ricki Lee Jones with “Chuck E’s in Love” — wonderful, she still sounds like a 19 year old when she sings), the cameraman (please note, singular) kept the camera in place at all times. On the whole stage. No close-ups of the raddled old hippy, with his broad-brimmed, stylish and utterly daft hat. Nada. And to add final insult to injury, just at the beginning of the encore set, all the screens went blank. All of them. No one could see anything other than bright lights and what appeared to be ants playing guitars, one of whom sported a broad-brimmed, stylish and utterly daft hat.

As my friend Sandi texted to me from section 12 (I was in section 16) — “WTF??? For this I paid good money???

Laura Chiesa at Inside Out speaks of a “special look people have when they are trying to decide if they have been screwed, and how deeply.” Believe me, I sported said look on my face until past 2 a.m. Of the many concerts i have attended in my lifetime, both here and in the UK, I have never left a venue quite so unsure of whether I’d had a great or crappy evening. And there have been many venues and many concerts — Royal Albert Hall (Sting, Al Jarreau), the old Wembley stadium (Bruce Springsteen, Genesis, Dire Straits),  to name but two.

To be honest, I’m glad I went, because he played a stonker of a concert — despite his surly and uncommunicative presence . Please god i should be rocking out like that when I’m 70.

But I tell you now, I will not rest until I have exacted my terrifying vengeance on that production company. As they say in Hebrew, boosha ve cherpa, translated by Morfix as “shame on you! Fie! Unacceptable and disgusting”.

To say the least.

UPDATE: Ha’aretz seems to agree with me — although they describe the music better than I did, and apparently no screen blocked their view at all.

Oh, and one more thing. There was an utterly delightful and charmless girl and her doped-up, spacey boyfriend, who left their comfortable good-view-of-the-stage seats to stand in the aisle and slob all over each other — seemingly prior to leaving, since it was already well into the encore — and  then refused to let anyone else sit on them, possessively and snippily claiming that they were “stretching their legs”, if we “didn’t mind” and that “the floor is free”. It was a sheer delight to make the acquaintance of such sociopathic selfishness, rudeness and anti-social behaviour, and once I’m done with the production company, I’m coming after you. 😎

The Ultimate Answer

…not to life the universe and everything, but to the question that my dear friend Liza periodically asks me — why don’t you write more often?

Well, it’s quite simple. My best ideas occur to me when I’m engaged in circumstances where writing is pretty much an impossibility. The shower, for example. When driving down the highway. When driving pretty much anywhere, actually — and no, having a pad on hand does not help. Especially not when I’m in the shower.

And then, when i finally sit down at the computer — my mind’s a blank.

I have great ideas, I really do. I walk around all day with them buzzing around inside my head and no recourse to pencil and paper (or keyboard and screen). They sound great as a commentary, as narrated by the little man in my forehead. “How interesting,” he notes. “Must blog that.”

I know, it’s pathetic, isn’t it?

Still, at least I got one blog post out of my dilemma. Now all I have to do is improve my memory skills. Hypnotherapy, anyone?