I noticed my first grey hair today. It’s fine. In fact it’s awesome. Most of my high school buddies are bald and fat. Me? I’m just fat. But I’ve noticed that in Israel there’s a great deal of male baldness. I attribute this to Hummus. Or the army. Or stress from the overdraft and making ends meet. Or shitty genes. Or all of the above. But I’ve been thinking a great deal about hair this month on account of Movember. And my conclusion is that if there is a higher power in the universe, he or she has one hell of a sense of humor when it comes to the hair on our body.
I’m never at the right place at the right time. Like this week. Marijuana legalization activists, or self proclaimed “grass fairies”, hung up flyers on Rothschild boulevard. Stapled to the flyer was a little dime bag of grass with the following message:
These are hard times.
Take this bud and light up the fire of freedom and keep your spirits elevated.
Happy Holiday of lights.
God damn it. Where was I? But poor timing aside this got me thinking about the strange occurrences where I’ve smoked weed with someone I would have never expected to. Like my mother in law. Or my mom. Or my boss. Or that lesbian short order cook and her partner.
Israelis are so random. Like the guy behind me at the pharmacy on Friday afternoon. I had been drinking beer and doing shots in the early afternoon at this place near Allenby. And I am not as young as I used to be. And neither is my stomach. So I stopped in for some antacids. And he’s behind me. And sweating profusely. And clutching on to a pack of cigarettes. And leaning over my shoulder even though there is a clear line marked in red indicating where one should stand. But he ignores it. And by the smell of it he’s been drinking. Heavily. And the pharmacist offers me two different brands. And the guy behind me nudges me and says I should take brand B. because it works really well. And then he tells me that he’s double parked. And that brand B is great. But it’s three times the price. So he tells me to go to my GP and get a prescription. Because it’s half the price. But I go with brand A. And he shakes his head. He’s disappointed in me. You’ll be sorry, he says. And I can’t shake the feeling that in my drunken afternoon haze I’ve let down a complete stranger at a pharmacy.
Israelis are so random. I thought about selling my car. So I put an ad in Yad2, Israel’s “Craig’s list” and waited. And I got some strange people calling me. But none as strange as one guy. He asked me why I was selling. So I told him I was leaving the country. Which was a lie. But it made sense in the context of selling the car. So he asked me where I was going. And so I told him that I was offered a job in the States. And he asked me what kind of job. So I told him it was a job at the Pentagon. Top Secret. Hush Hush. Wink Wink. Nod Nod. Know what I mean. But he didn’t. And he told me about his son. Who graduated the Technion. Who couldn’t find a job. Could I put in a good word for him? “At the Pentagon?” I asked, a bit bemused. Yes, he replied. Awkward silence.
So I bring the conversation back to the car. And he asks me whether I’m trying to pull a fast one on him. And I laugh. Until I realize that he’s serious. So I tell him no. I’m not pulling a fast one on you. But if I were to pull a fast one on you I probably wouldn’t admit to it. And he agrees. But asks again just for good measure. And then he asks me if it’s in good shape. And I say yes. But I recommend he come take a look at it. And he tells me he’s looking at it right now.
Job interviews here are a bit less formal than one would expect. Like the one I had this week at a film/video equipment rental warehouse. He was a young guy. My age. And he asks me about my mustache. And I tell him it’s for Movember. And we spend the next twenty minutes discussing prostate cancer. And I ask him questions like, “Do you have a family history of prostate cancer?” and “Have you been tested yet?” and I feel like a doctor asking a patient about his history. And he has a worried look on his face. And he tells me he’s got two kids at home. And he hasn’t slept in days. He’s exhausted. And it’s stressing him out. Giving him grey hair prematurely. And I nod knowingly. And we sit in silence for a moment. All around us the hustle and bustle of a warehouse. And he takes one look at my resume and says: “You’re way overqualified.” But he promises me he’ll get screened for prostate cancer.
It seems like we never really get what we want. I didn’t get the job. Or get stoned. Or manage to sell my car. Instead I got a wispy strand of grey hair over my ear.
And tonight we had our friend P. over. And he’s the baldest man I know. And he tells us about the hummus he ate at Abu Hasan in Jaffa that morning. And a beer or two later he’ll regale us with stories from his years as a CO in the paratroopers. And another beer and it’s the never ending stress at his job. Finally, if the mood is somber enough, he’ll talk about the painful separation from his wife and his estranged daughter.
And just like that my wispy strand of grey hair doesn’t seem to bother me one bit.
Nor does my dead-end job. Or my lack of weed. Or my car.
But the antacid chew tablet is no match for the beer and the spicy Cajun seasoned chicken wings.
I probably should have listened to the belligerent guy at the pharmacy.