"listen you dont have to buy anything, im only SHOWING it to you"Sucks he's not Israeli-so many of these vendor folks are. Nu nu. O wait, he is talkin kinda funnily but hey, that doesnt mean much. Hmmm I really think he IS from Israel though (must be the shirt).....
Convincing and persuading back n forth for a minute and then I say, "wait, where you from?".
"Ahh I knew it, ok im ready to listen. What do you wanna sell me?"
blah blah blah yes no yes no try it out looks good but who knows these things only last for a bit, no i swear itll be good for at least 10 months ya right u callin me a liar chalilah im just saying its quite unbelievable but i dont doubt u for a moment al tidag ok continue breathing
"so whats ur name?"
"chava, and yours?"
"yaffe. where u from in israel?"
(giggly gasp) "hows ur house?"
"my house is fine, we werent hit"
"where were you?"
"i was there in chaifa.."
"walla..i have a good friend from there, hadar. hadar elyon"
"ken ken i know where that is"
twenty minutes of arguin politics, tryin to sell the product ("listen you dont have to buy anything, im only SHOWING it to you"), chattin bout eretz yisrael, and meeting the chatan
"hey! you have yosef's number? this guy here lives near him and he said he hasnt been in a sukkah yet this chag."
"ya sure, here it is..hey mister, she drivin you crazy?"
(scared to answer due to the look in my eyes and the uzi in my hands)
chatan ambles off, alon and i share mock exasperated glares, ach hakatan passes by lookin for the chatan, o well ya missed him, life goes on
"listen you dont have to buy anything, im only SHOWING it to you"
"so wait, you live in israel or america? what about your parents? they were born there and moved here? or born here and moved there? where are you a citizen of?"
i answer v'ani mitzta'eret but i cant write it up here
"hey can i ask you a question?"
"what does it mean when people ask me 'how much does it run for?'"
"it means 'how much does it cost b'erech, whats the price range?'"
"oh you see the first time someone asked me, i thought she meant how long will it last for so i answered '10 months'. she asked again 'how much does it run for' so i answered again and then finally i tell her 'listen, my english is not so good'. so she says 'how much does it cost???'
"ya its funny now but then i was so confused. i figured it out after a while because everyone keeps saying that...so thats what it means? 'how much is it b'erech? is it a new slang?"
"no, not at all. people might also ask "how much does it go for?"
"how much does it go for, how much does it run for..i bet that it used to be'how much does it walk slowly for?"
"ehhh not quite. k so back to thissssssss"
"listen, im going to give you the lowest price i am able to."
pulls out price list/scam list
"look here. you see this-the least i can sell it for is 20 dollars. to one lady sold it for 35, to another for 30 and to two, for 20 dollars. and you see this-"
"ya ya i believe you. but its still a lot of money if i buy the whole set"
"ok but im giving you the lowest price."
"heh, you like my shirt?"
"no, its ugly and weird, so israeli"
"in america they dress so much *worse*"
"mah pitom?? youre joking, right? ur shirt is sooo typical israeli. thats actually how i first guessed you were israeli-all those words in a swirl.."
"hehe, its hypnotizing, no? thats how i sell everything ~waves hands in front of my face~ here, buy this for 200 dollars"
"hehe! ur nuts but i bet it works.."
"you know what? watch my bags for a sec im gonna go run into a store and ask someone elses opinion before I buy something this expensive" (starts runnin)
"heyy! its not expensive, i told u ill give it to you for less...!"
"hi ms, i was wonderin if i can ask ur opinion on something. you see, ive never really had any experience with this so i have no idea what to expect and i dont know if this is normal and im thinkin im overpayin maybe...?
"oh my! this suits you perfectly. i think you should go for it, its really nice, honestly."
"yah? u sure? i mean i dunno..its not too shiny over there? and not too yadda yadda yadda?"
"absolutely not. i didnt even notice the shine until u pointed it out to me. im going to say it again-it really looks good on you"
(sidebar customer-)" let me see it, yes it is nice. really nice."
"ya? ur sure? (gosh when did i become so insecure??)
suddenly i hear "chaaaaaaaaava"
ha, alon (owner) is calling me
sidebar customer is harassin him
i dont convince her to buy anything but we drive her sufficiently insane (ex: tell her alon is my son, try selling her the product, talk about her in hebrew...) that she finally leaves.
back to the product and to life
"listen, trust me on this-im a professional..did this in israel and america."
"you know i published two books?"
"b'emet?? on this?"
"nope. short stories. and im workin on a novel now, a scary scary one"
"so wait whats ur name again? and last name? i gotta go see"
"check in steimatzky for ..."
"o i will. yay! i have a famous friend! uh were friends, right?"
we talk about the girlfriend who he wont be seeing for 5 months-a mans gotta make money, yknow, and what halacha says about marriage. we talk about belief in hashem, keepin mitzvot, personal training, honesty and russians.
"k fine ill take it" (after phone calls to the beach and guilt trips from the owner-whatever happened to 'listen you dont have to buy anything, im only SHOWING it to you'???)
march all around the mall
decide i hate the product
i pass by alons stand
someones standin there
dont feel like arguin
twenty minutes to closing time
another israeli vendor swoops down on me
"hi, can i show you something?"
"ehh i no spik inglish"
"Oh, that is ok (speaking very s-l-o-w-l-y and CLEARLY), just LOOK at this cream that-"
"ehh no understand. only ebrew"
"ah b'emet?? at midaberet ivrit??"
"hehe stam ani ovedet alecha, of course i speak fluent english..."
"MAH?? ani lo ma'amin!! ani erog otach..."(followed by a long string of non-publishable hebrew curses/slang/yowls)
we laugh together
"listen mister, dont even start with me-im annoyed now from the other israeli down there who sold me this, i changed my mind bout it"
"no no, you dont have to buy anything, i just wanna show it to you"
"you know, every time i meet jews here, they always talk with such chutzpah. whats with you guys? you would think that jews would be the nicest.."
"hey listen, im sorry. i didnt mean to be rude, i just cant believe that i bought all that from the other guy. and come on-you really want us to be all polite and american-like? im only talking like this to you BECAUSE i care about you, because of my love for you-thats why!"
"at tzodeket, at tzodeket. im sorry, i really do like it ;)"
"mahjnun. i mean it-only to a fellow sabra can i talk like this!"
"where you from?"
"i was from gush katif"
"what does 'was' mean?"
"b'ritzinut? you mean you didnt hear of-"
"lo lo, of course i heard of it. was there so often, gush katif...i was askin if you moved out there before the hitnatkut or because of it.."
"ah, no-because of it. i was kicked out"
"oof. oof oof. hey, look at this"
"ha! seret katom! yaffe!"
"todah todah. so which yishuv did you live in?"
"elai sinai. its not really IN gush katif, its more north near dugit and-"
"ya ya, nissanit as well, nachon"
"walla! so you really do know gush katif"
"uh huh. hey, here take this pen, this orange gush katif pen, as a memory of all the people who fought for you"
cuts out emotional inside sabra stuff (aka sweet mushiness)
"soooo did you shake lulav and etrog yet this chag?"
"no. i cant. i work here till 9 at night and i start-"
"at nine in the morning. yes yes i heard all that already from the guy down there. hey you should be friends with him."
"i have enough friends. if he wants to be my friend, let him come to me."
"woahhhh y'mistalbet! where do you live? ill tell you where you can shake lulav"
he lives in the same area as alon and my cousin yosef, one of the chabad shluchim living there.
"lemme get a pen to write down some info for you...is that vendor over there israeli?"
"no, arab, yemach shemo"
"sh'yamoot. mavet l'aravim mavet l'aravim mahhhhhhhhhhvet uh ya ill go get the pen"
"alo can i borrow that pen please?"
"shukran!" (arabic for 'thank you')
hmm no reaction. i guess he doesnt understand.
"rooch min hoon!"
a gasp from aytan sends me runnin for shelter behind his cash register.
"mah at, mishugaat?? at normalit bichlal!??!"
"ehh i didnt think he understood..i dunno.."
"ya ya zeh beseder, he probably didn't, different dialects y'know.."
does the whole dead sea product thing wow wow
"bought something similar in tiveria. by the hot springs. didnt work. smelled nice though"
"ok but this one will. i promise. i know what im talking about"
"ya of course you gonna say that, youre the owner.."
"thats not true..."
he says he doesnt care to do mitzvot because hashem forgot about him, he claims.
"a father doesnt forget his kids so quickly"
"hmmm you may be right"
"heyy it actually works! but probably only the first time"
"here you know what. take it. i want you to see that i care for you and i believe what im saying and im not just trying to sell you it to you. take this cream, i sell it for 80 dollars (pulls out same papers as the first guy did, oy!) but im giving it to you as as a gift"
"uh why? chashavti sh'amarta sh'ani chutzpanit v'..."
"lah, i like you. take it. i made enough sales today. i can afford to give it away"
"walla, todah, i dont believe it, thanks!"
waves his hand at such nonsense in typical israeli way
too bad i dont have the patience to proofread this piece. it took me too long for what i did type up this far. i learned a lot. hope someone else did too.
gush katif. haifa. lulav n esrog. mivtzoyim. israel. america. malls. bombs. love. hate. gifts. wages. money. life. torah. chabad. father. family. peace. goodness. frustration. sadness. pride. gush katif. haifa.
woah. woah woah.