16 May 2008

The Smoking Man

The wind knew I was coming. Not a leaf moved on any tree until my foot hit the street. Then, as if by some weird and perverse sense of humor, the wind rushed in one tremendous howl, towards me and practically blew me into the coffee shop. Of course it was illogical to think that the wind did this to me on purpose. Obviously I got in the way of its presumed target, an old bearded man headed for the same coffee shop as me.

The smoker, an old bearded man, lit another cigarette, his ninth in as many minutes, not that I was counting, but I had nothing better to do. Curiously he never finished a cigarette. He got half way through and then smoked another. Luckily the person he was with asked the questions that I really wanted to ask, why don’t you finish your cigarettes? His reply was pure Israeli logic. He had read a report that said that a good way to try and give up smoking was to wean your self off the nicotine by cutting down slowly, so instead of smoking a full cigarette he smoked them in halves. Luckily I only laughed inwardly but the incredulous look his friends face, when he calculated that the man was smoking the same number of cigarettes, said it all.

Israeli logic is basically a deadly mixture of the following; Talmudic logic, 7,000,000 or so Israelis who all think they’re right all their mothers who would disagree and pointless jobs-worths who work in pointless government offices doing pointless jobs like stamping pointless forms, making us pay pointless amounts of money into the pointless post offices for pointless reasons and I still don’t get my post delivered to my house on time – sorry about the rant but I have to get it off my chest.

Classic Israeli logic dictates that if something does not sell well in the supermarket, put the price up. And while we are in the supermarket, the more customers there are the fewer checkouts seem to be open. I asked a worker in the supermarket where to find the peanut butter, he told me if I came here more often I would know, and then walked off. Sort of treat ‘em mean keep ‘em keen customer service.

Israeli logic dictates that if you don’t know we aren’t going to tell you. So you could return to that same pointless government office a hundred times and waste the pointless jobs-worth’s precious time because he wont tell you what the right thing to do is, until you find out you’re actually in the wrong building talking to the wrong person about the wrong matter – its been a long day.

Anyway, the smoking man was trying to prove his theory of ‘everything in moderation twice’, while his friend was trying to explain that smoking or eating something in two halves amounts to the same having the whole. You have to have a half and leave the other half, he said very frustrated. The smoking man was shocked, what and waist all that money on cigarettes and food just to throw half of it away. But why don’t you just buy half as much. Where, shouted the smoking man, can you buy half cigarettes.

There is a road the round behind Ramat Bet Shemesh which was used for a few years until somebody decided that the road had to be closed. The road remained closed to all traffic until somebody pointed out that this road is the only rout to a quarry, so the road reopened just for quarry vehicles. Then somebody pointed out that there is a Kibbutz which relies on this road to reach the outside world. So that section of the road was opened. In fact only about 1 kilometer of the road is actually closed, and if you follow the rules you have to make a ten minute detour because of it.

Anyway, the smoking man was now on cigarette number twelve. The incredulous look on his friends face had stuck and they had begun arguing about the logical thought process that was so obviously fraught with many obstacles in the smoking mans head.

A coffee arrived for smoking man. Why have you only ordered half a cup, his friend asked, rather stupidly I thought. Smoking man looked up opened his mouth to answer, but then the second half cup arrived and, well, you can figure out the rest.