Two weeks ago, my bike and I traveled from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Note that I did not say "I rode my bike". That is because that a good 30% of my time was spent pushing my bike up the hills, huffing, puffing and cursing, as opposed to riding. So to call this "riding my bike to Jerusalem" would be rather misleading. And we accountants do not like to mislead. Misleading is bad. A tendency toward misleading-ness can land you in prison. Granted, so far as I recall the various ethical codes governing my profession do not touch on the matter of exaggerating one's prowess on a bicycle. Or, ahem, in other areas. But whatever. One can never be too careful.
But I digress.
So, anyway, I spent about nine hours of quality time, fueled by innumerable peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pushing my bike up the *$^%# mountains up to *$^%# Jerusalem, which, if it were really and truly blessed, would be located on a convenient, biker-friendly, flat plain, a'la Tel Aviv. I got to my friend's house with just enough time to try-but-not-be-able-to-sleep-so-I-just-lay-there-with-my-eyes-closed-telling-myself-that-this-will-also-refresh-me-even-though-I-know-that-this-is-an-utter-fallacy for a few hours. Of course, it was only once I got up and started getting ready for the festive meal that my body decided that, you know, it really felt like a nap, if I would not mind. Between you and me, it had decided to get me back for the long trek by being a contrary brat.
Clearly this meant war.
I upped the ante. I did not let my body go to sleep until after dinner and about fifteen slices of cheesecake. I then finally let my body go to sleep, but with strict instructions to get up early so that I could get an early start on the ride back to Tel Aviv and miss some of the heat. My body decided to bitch slap me back, and slept in until about 9 the next morning. Do not worry, I got my revenge. Yes indeedy, I showed my body who is boss. I got started on my ride at 10 AM…the perfect time to enjoy every stunning moment of the hamsin (evil bitch of a heat wave). While on a bicycle, going uphill, in the middle of f**king nowhere, somewhere between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
As an aside, please allow me to share with you that you would be shocked, appalled to know how many of the hills on the way back to Tel Aviv are actually going up. I know I was. Honestly, we really should raze some of those suckers. Granted, this would mean that one would not be able to enjoy the delightful experience of hurtling down a mountain, on a bicycle, on a twisting, one lane road populated by crazed Israeli drivers, at approximately the speed of light. And I would miss that. But I think I would get over the loss pretty quickly.
Anyway, it was a long, evil ride back home. The worst part was realizing, somewhere mid-ride that I had done the same damn thing last year and had sworn never to do it again. Apparently the heat cooked the bits of my brain that were supposed to store this information and bring it to my attention the next time I got it into my head that a long bike ride in a hamsin would be a good idea. In order to make sure that this does not happen again, I have instructed Kayla and certain of my other Jerusalem friends that, if I ever show any intention of trying this again, they are to deflate my bike tires.
Lest you feel too bad for me, the ride did enjoy its lighter moment. Somewhere on the endless plain between Beit Shemesh and Tel Aviv, I decided to stop for a break at a Menta and allow my brain to cool down a bit before I managed to cook the bit that is supposed to remember to never, ever do this again. (I mean, what if I wake up before my hostess and she does not have a chance to let the air out of my tires? For that matter, who will let the air out of my tires if I start from Tel Aviv? Prevention is the best medicine!) I went in, assembled a collection of drinks and muesli and started to refuel. A guy at the shop decided to chat me up. He came over with a (stupid) question about bikes. I accepted it for what it was, a rather pathetic pickup line, forgave him for it, and we proceeded to chat. At some point, after asking him several times to repeat himself, I explained that I have a hearing loss. The conversation proceeded on as follows:
Him: A hearing loss? But you are young!
Me: (And this is relevant...how?) Yes. Lots of young people are hearing impaired
Him: Oh, of course!
Silence. I ate my muesli and started to hope he would go away.
Him: Is it from an accident?
Me: (evasive) Cacha, you know, I just do not hear well.
I eat more muesli.
Him: Because I see you have scars on your arm
He pointed to the scars on my right arm, which had been nicely highlighted by the dark golden brown biker's tan I had managed to acquire despite my slathering myself with 45 sunblock every 15 minutes
Him: So I just thought that maybe you were in an accident, and that is why you do not hear well.
Me: (in desperation) It's just a flesh wound!
After a bit of explaining, I managed to turn the conversation to Monty Python, The Search for the Holy Grail and the foolishness of the Black Knight. (G-d bless Monty Python, they always come in so handy).
Shortly thereafter, the muesli was finished, my brain was cooled down and it was time for me to hit the road.
Him: I really enjoyed our conversation. I would like to continue it.
Me: (You are alone in that). Oh, no thank you.
Said with a pleasant big smile and everything.
Some interminable number of hours later, I finally made it home.
Now, clearly the guy is an idiot. But what disturbs me is that all this time I have been telling myself (and have been encouraged in this by my friends) that I am the only one that notices my scars, and that no one else does and that they are itty bitty and not at all noticable and that the only reason I see them is because I am paranoid and that if I did not say anything and did not point them out, no one would ever know they were there. Perhaps, this is not the case? Perhaps people have been noticing them and have simply too polite to say anything?
The silver lining to this is that it would mean that the average Israeli is blessed with discretion, tact and manners.