Monday, October 16, 2006

I met Alon; I met Aytan.

Walking amongst the foreigners with that spaced out look that salespeople are born to zoom in on, I wasn't surprised when the blond guy in the weird black shirt stopped me and asked if he can show me his products. "Listen dude, I'm not interested in buying no ---- , so you'll just be wasting your time" (oddly enough, because purchasing/sampling this exact product was one of the reasons I came to the mall).
"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 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...!"
yea yea
"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"
shiver shiver
"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'???)
ya ya

march off
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!"
wide grin
"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 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.


Anonymous said...

Yeah definatly not normal!
and thats after reading only 2% of the post.

Nemo said...

I don't understand... did you have a Lulav or not?

remchalamo said...

woah that was awesome free writing always turnsout the best!
i know those dead sea peeps they were in Nashville too!
there was one who kept shabbos and she stayed in my apt every week!
now when i came to israel i stayed at her house for shabbos it was sooooooo much fun!

the sabra said...

heyyy sababa! nice feelin, no?

yo i knew sonia would appreciate this, wasnt sure who else..and derech agav, i always freewrite..just sometimes its shorter than others ;)

nemo-not at the time

wandering said...

sweet so you got it for free huh? shoot something tells me that I missed the point ;).

the sabra said...

oh no that IS the point. and check this out-i got the two bus rides home for free as well (as well as a small gift from the first guy)

not bad, eh?

Chasidishe Shaigitz said...

Oy way to long to read the whole thing! :p

Love the dead-sea people, used to go to them every day in Hawaii for Mivtzoim, they even got me to buy something for my mom and sisters at "discount price" ;)

Greg said...

Chava-leh(can I call u that:),

just wondering...was that Alon commenting as "anonymous"? Also, did u find out whether Alon really had a book out? I know an Alon. Problem is he used to be an "Alona"(why do I get the feeling my humor will get me nowhere!?)

Anonymous said...

There is but 1 anon...

Greg said...

oh well, guess that answers one of my questions.

the sabra said...

hey there greg-aleh (im callin you that),
i did search n find the book he claims to have written...i just cant find the link anymore..will post it soon as i can..its called כשלעננים אין צורה can get it in steimatzky.

the sabra said...

1 anon 2 all but 4

Greg said...

Ok, I guess I'm officially "Greg-aleh." Always good to know when I have a new name. After all, I've had my name officially changed three(3) times in this current lifetime:)

Regarding Alon's work, I'll check it out. But before I do, please let me know if it's any good.

Chaya said...

wow! great story...i usually dont read such long posts (only write them) but this was great! thanks chava

achot gedola said...

good one! love being part of the background story. what about the lipgloss story?

the sabra said...

how nice! i cant believe this (mum just said the kids are crying so whatcha doin online, huh?)!
yes, you are always part of my stories and my heart

the sabra said...

o ya and the lipgloss-do you mean that i got it for free or that i stuck my nose into one by mistake when smelling it? hehe

Greg said...

...Here's where we find out Chava-leh's sister Chaya has interest in her lil' sister's stories, some of which detail Chaya's tastes ans whatnot...

always love it when two family members blog about one another. Makes me feel comfy.

Greg said...

btw: shouldn't it be "Eitan"?

the sabra said...

for starters, my sister chaya is more computer illiterate than my grandma, so i dont know where you came up with that.

re the name-i asked him why he spells it kacha, and he answered (still tryin to figure this one out) that otherwise it takes away from the meaning of his name ("strength").
like i said, i have no idea why. (i personally prefer 'eitan')

Greg said...

wow...I'm really confused now! The name is definately spelled "Eitan" and I should know:) And what does the definition of the name have to do with its Enlgish spelling???

...better ask him again. I wonder what he'll have to say to that...

the sabra said...

ya i told u i couldnt figure it out. i was in a rush so i didnt press it.

hey i will definitely (bli neder!) let ya know what the deal is soon as i find out

Greg said...

Chava-leh: ...back in Chi-town. Will get in touch with you in near future...who cares 'bout spelling:)

Greg said...

...or punctuation for that matter...

Avi said...

O my god this is the longest post I've ever seen in my life... breathe... ok... breathe.. I can do this...

Avi said...

Hmmmm... even for your normally sensible and organized posts, this is a little too clear...

i answer v'ani mitzta'eret but i cant write it up here As if THAT didn't belong as a disclaimer before the whole post...

I don't know why, but I kinda get the Aytan thing... Pointy A, standing firmly on two feet maybe, vs. the open E?

So I walk with a friend in a mall and we bump into an Israeli cream-hawking kiosk girly. One sec... I think I once wrote a poat about this... I'll check later... it was a different time I think anyway... My friend is a salesman. He bought... I'm not joking... three haha, I'm serious... three-hundred dollars worth of creams!
He said "I almost got her to buy [my product]. You gotta spend money to make it..." We're not friends anymore. Joking we are. But he should probably change businesses. Sales just doesn't seem right for him. Maybe he can go into the Buying business.

the sabra said...

still don't get the spelling thing and heehee re the disclaimer. kiilu u didn't do enough of ur own researching. feh.

the sabra said...

That took you approximately 18 minutes to read my journal post. Flattering, indeed.

the sabra said...

I wonder if 'gush katif' and 'haifa' were repeated knowingly in the last paragraph.