Taking the SMS: Avi the Texting Masseur


By Melchett Mike
August 19, 2010
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Just when you think that the chutzpah can’t get any worse, the Israeli will usually surprise you . . .

During a massage, last week, in her holiday home in Herzliya Pituach – the hot destination, these days, for British “Deckchair Zionists” – my friend Donna’s blissful indulgence was intermittently disturbed by a faint clicking sound.

She ignored it.

Opening her eyes, however, towards the end of the one-hour session, Donna caught her masseur, Avi, with one hand on her foot and the other typing a text (SMS) message on his mobile phone.

Now, call me old-fashioned, but I would say that a masseur on 300 shekels (50 British pounds) an hour can reasonably be expected to use both hands!

The incident reminded me of a university flatmate whose girlfriend, in the middle of doing something to him that he could not do to himself – would we males ever leave the house? – looked up to find him channel-hopping with the TV remote. (In his defence, there was footie on the box . . . but she gave him a mouthful anyway. The cheeky chappie, meanwhile, eventually migrated to his natural habitat . . . Israel.)

Such chutzpadik multitasking was also exhibited by an Israeli first date of mine who, on arrival at the pretty garden café handpicked by me – and having evidently resolved that I was not as attractive as I considered her – insisted on sitting inside, so that she would not miss any of the goings-on in the Israeli Big Brother house.

Indeed, the Israeli is a multitasker nonpareil, who can, for instance, smoke, devour garinim (sunflower seeds) and cuff the kids and/or missus . . . all while driving at excess speed, with one foot on the dashboard, cursing down his mobile and gesticulating at other road users.

While now – having lived here for over ten years – conditioned to Israeli chutzpah (and not averse to dishing out some of my own when required), I am also far less likely to put up with it . . .

Overhearing, in my local hummus place on Sheinkin, that I was flying back to London the following morning, an Israeli woman who I know from the area enquired whether I would mind taking something for her son, sojourning in Wood Green (of all places).

“Of course not,” I foolishly replied.

The woman scuttled away, returning a quarter of an hour later not with the latest Amos Oz novel or Arik Einstein disc, but with a plastic bag – from the makolet (supermarket) over the road – weighing several kilos and bursting with family-sized bottles of Osem tomato ketchup.

“He is used to it,” she declared, as if that should have been of interest to me.

Some years earlier, I would have been so taken aback by such chutzpah that my only reaction would have been momentary paralysis, an awkward smile, and a hasty unpacking of my suitcase to accommodate the condimentally-challenged nincompoops. And I may even have thanked her for selecting me for the honour.

But no longer.

“I’m not taking that,” I laughed, almost contemptuously. “I am already overweight.” I wasn’t. “Anyway, what’s wrong with Heinz?!”

What could she say? She had been outchutzpah’d.

You see, it is just that on encountering foreign accents – usually accompanied by indications of (relative) meekness – many of the natives see a flashing “Freier!” (sucker) sign.

And not to be taken advantage of here, one, regrettably, must become like them.

Avi “the Texting Masseur” no doubt calculated that – unlike his Israeli clients – Donna would not mind him sending SMS messages while he was supposed to be giving her a massage . . . and that, even if she did, the English lady would not say a word.

And he was, at least, half right.

http://melchettmike.wordpress.com/
http://www.justgiving.com/melchettmike

COMMENTS

mattpryor

Thu, 08/19/2010 - 11:52

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I always love reading Mike's idiosyncratic glimpses into life in Israel.

Keep up the good work!


Melchett Mike

Thu, 08/19/2010 - 12:25

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Matt, you are the man! Thank you so, so much for sponsoring my bike ride for Norwood.

I didn't expect anyone from the JC site to sponsor me (especially not folk, like you, whom I have never met).

It is proving extremely difficult to raise the required sponsorship from here . . . so, if any other readers are enjoying my posts, please feel free to do like Matt at http://www.justgiving.com/melchettmike/

Thanks again, Matt!


Isca Stieglitz

Thu, 08/19/2010 - 12:38

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Brilliant!
I'm reminded of an encounter moons ago at the 'Pinat Hahummus' (Humous Corner) in Jerusalem - wonder if it's still there?

Context: a) a documentary into bacteria levels in hummus at various outlets in Israel. Bacteria it seems lent hummus a lot flavour!

b) there had been a 'best hummus' contest on telly and the 'Pinat Hahummus' had come top. You can see where this is going!

I went with some friends for our usual hummus and mitz annavim and there was a sign "Best Hummus with the most bacteria in Israel"!!


mattpryor

Thu, 08/19/2010 - 13:12

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My pleasure Mike, it's a very good cause and one that's close to home. Good luck with raising the rest of the dosh.

Cheers,
Matt


Melchett Mike

Thu, 08/19/2010 - 13:18

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And thank you, too, Jessica Goldfinch . . . whoever you may be (you left no e-mail address, so this is my only means!)


telegramsam

Thu, 08/19/2010 - 18:02

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Sorry, isca, but when it comes to hummus in Jerusalem nothing beats Taami on beit shammai street. But for the best in israel, go to ali karavan/Abu Hassan in Jaffa or Abu shukri in Abu ghosh, where you'll also get the best chicken d'beet this side of Baghdad.


telegramsam

Thu, 08/19/2010 - 18:07

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Sorry, isca, but when it comes to hummus in Jerusalem nothing beats Taami on beit shammai street. But for the best in israel, go to ali karavan/Abu Hassan in Jaffa or Abu shukri in Abu ghosh, where you'll also get the best chicken d'beet this side of Baghdad.

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