Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Belated Shavout Post

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 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.

Who knew?


Ahuva said...

I did a quick search on the net and it seems that scars get more noticeable as you tan. Is higher SPF sunscreen available in Tel Aviv? I could send you a care package of SPF 70 (which is what I'm using these days).

Jack Steiner said...

Nothing like a good hamsin to make you appreciate A/C and a swimming pool.

Anonymous said...

At least you got some exercise. 15 slice of cheesecake? Those were probably burned off by the time you got back to Tel Aviv ;-)

Anonymous said...

Think forward, get yourself a boyfriend with a car!

Anonymous said...

"The silver lining to this is that it would mean that the average Israeli is blessed with discretion, tact and manners."

Nope. That's just impossible. There's got to be another explanation... :-)

Anonymous said...

2 points:

1. Supposedly, Gila had no brain damage from the bombing. I question this every time she shows up at my house in Jerusalem after riding in from Tel Aviv.

2. So he noticed the scars. The point is that he saw them and still tried to pick you up. Granted, he doesn't sound like your knight in shining armor, but clearly they didn't repel him. -Kayla

RivkA with a capital A said...

I did not notice the scars. But I am rather infamous for not noticing details. I'll have to look closer next time.

I second everyting Kayla wrote!

Anonymous said...

I'm thirding everything Kayla wrote!

Anonymous said...

"...the average Israeli is blessed with discretion, tact and manners."

Hahahahaha he he he. Good one. Funny.


Batya said...

Israeli men seem facinated by women with scars and injuries. I taught in a yeshiva hs for 11 years and when I had dislocated my shoulder playing basketball (older than their parents) and I let out a cry of pain when I tried to close a window, they said with obvious admiration:
"You really did dislocate your shoulder."

Women don't see things the same, but my dear please don't ride in the sun!!

Anonymous said...

1) "The silver lining to this is that it would mean that the average Israeli is blessed with discretion, tact and manners."

Um, no, apparently no one notices, that's all.

2) I can't believe you rode your bike up to Jerusalem. You're nuts. I'm closer to you so I can ruin your tires for you.

3) In the old city, I recently discovered that you actually go uphill BOTH WAYS.

4) I should highlight the scar on my thumb where I broke a piece of it off when I was 15 so that guys will hit on me. Thanks for the lesson.

sparrow said...

There should be an award for ANYONE who rides a bicycle from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and back. In fact, I propose it becomes an Olympic sport. You are one crazy chick!

Anonymous said...

I didn't notice your scars when we met. What I did notice is that you are incredibly nice and hysterical in person as you are in writing.

We must get you and Idan together again for your Jdate profile pic. :)

Unknown said...

1.My car doesn't even like to riding up to Jerusalem.
2.Scars do get noticeable when you are tanned, because they tan silvery and not golden and contrast is noticable.
3.Scars get more noticeable when you (I) turn a reddish hue due to excessive physical activity. Sunscreen dosen't help with that, and the less tan you are the brighter red you will be.
4.Many Israeli men I know admire scars, but you don't have to so into the whole story of how you got them. It's just a question if you admire the ones who admire your scars.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Leah. I mean, look at the great pics Idan took of me. We'll all get together again soon, we won't make you wait until Leah comes back (though it would be great if that's soon!)

Anonymous said...

i agree with mia, even my car doesnt like the hills to j-m.
and i agree with kayla and sparrow.
but why is it ok to insult israelis?

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

I wonder about that- there seems to be waay too little room on the highway for casrs AND bikes- how do you pull it off?

..a much shorter trip which i did last time I was around was a bike ride around the kineret (to and from t'veria north)- very nice and quiet..

Gila said...

Okay--some responses:

Ahuva-we have 70 SPF here as well. I think the tanning is something I am going to have to live with, so long as I bike and live in Israel.


Tnspr-yes, that is pretty much why I bike

Kleine-that would defeat the purpose!

Liza-My thoughts exactly!

Kayla-well, you heard the rest of the story already! I will have to post it for everyone else in the next few days.

Rivka and Tafka and Sparrow- :)

Chedva-We aim to amuse!

Batya-So, if I were to put something about my scars on my Jdate profile, that would help me? Or perhaps just put a photo of a scar itself?

Taltalk-Kayla and my other Jlem friends thank you for providing the Tel Aviv side of the tire-destruction service. And all hills in Jlem go uphill both ways. That is why I have so much trouble seeing the city as blessed. That and the Katamon swamp....

Leah and Taltalk-yes, I missed out on my chance for a great Jdate photo! Curses! At this point, however, I consider "the perfect Jdate photo" to be as elusive and legendary as the lochness monster or the holy grail.

Of course, one can create the lochness monster on photoshop, no? Hmmm.....

Mia-yeah, there is not much I can do apart from what I am doing (sunscreen). Normally, no one says anything though.

Faith-why is it okay to insult Israelis.... ummm...isn't that what they are there for? :)

Anonymous said...

Being a guy, I have to say, that EVERYTHING a guy asks about, concerns sex. "he noticed the scar". Bet he was thinking, "maybe there are some scars on her belly, or on her....". Since I see you categorize guys right away, you need appropriate responses. To the really bad idiots that you wouldn't want to even share an elevator with, simply and straightforward say that your hearing loss is from AIDS. I'm sure you can go from there and get responses for the near idiots, for the not-yet idiots, and then for the hopefuls (check the ring finger for lightness - esp. in the summer, his hand will be sunburned, but the "ring" will remain light). And finally, hopefully this year I'll remember to send you some money.....