The only Iranian gay in the village

Shimon meets me at the Olive Korner on his way home from work. Marcel brings us a bottle of Shiraz and a bowl of wedges, skin on, slightly underdone. Shimon shows me a small glass jar, half full of pot. He takes some out and, adding tobacco, rolls a neat joint. We smoke it at the table, there on the street. The couple two tables down are doing the same. You can get stoned in Tel Aviv just going about your business, just from second-hand fumes.

It’s the first time I’ve smoked tobacco since, oh, the last century, anyway. It took me straight back to Maccabi in West Hampstead on a Saturday night, circa 1975. A crowded dance floor, Rock the Boat, and trying to look more adult than I was with a Rothmans.

I haven’t smoked pot for many years, either, since I ran out of home grown. For a couple of years in the 90s I’d sow a few seeds in March, during a full moon, of course, and by October I’d have huge, six foot-tall plants, a lovely sea green, that made a reassuring zhzzing noise in the breeze. I’d harvest them, hang them upside down from the shower curtain rail, and for months my flat would have that particular resinous aroma, my bathroom floor covered in seeds.

I’d only taken three tokes when Shimon begins talking about Purim, how he always makes a costume for it. He asks if I know Little Britain and shows me a picture of the year he dressed up as Daffyd, the only Iranian gay in the village. He is a big man, and was wearing a tight, orange, rubber top and pink, rubber hot pants. He looks brilliant. I don’t feel stoned, but I find this as funny as I’ve ever found anything, as funny as I used to find Little Britain. He tells me it was very popular here. I try to imagine Israel getting its head around yes but, no but and I’m a lady, a very special lady, who likes lady things, but it doesn’t come easily.

Today’s word: tuch-posset – fancy dress, costume – תחפושת

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