In the last week of January the Spectator publishes something I wrote about antisemitism in the UK and its part in my move here. It is the first article I’ve written to be printed, which is something to celebrate. It is unusual for me to be associated with a respectable organ, but there I am, my name under the lead strapline on the cover, in bold, sans serif caps, overstated, really: FLEEING LONDON’S ANTI-SEMITES, then, smaller, Simon Wilder. (I fled no one, really, no one I don’t share a surname with, anyway). My head is light, I walk on air.
That evening I’m glad Shimon wants to meet me, that I don’t have to celebrate by myself. We drink Shiraz at the Olive Korner.
I think he’s popular, his phone pings a lot, anyway, but he can’t find anyone to go to a Chemical Brothers concert with. Do I want to go to the Canaries in March for a Bear Festival? I can’t afford either.
Fuck you, Shimon says.
Fuck you, and your gay brother, I answer
He laughs. I wish! I wish you’d fuck me. He howls this into the night. He doesn’t care who hears. Fuck you all!
At the hungry stage of drunk, Shimon wants meat. M25 it is. I’d wanted to go to the Chinese opposite, but I don’t put up much of a fight. Anyway, I love it there almost as much as he does, and it is more celebratory than beef with broccoli. At least, it takes forty minutes to drunkenly walk there – it should take fifteen – which makes it more of an event.
I order the burger and genuinely think it’s the best burger I’ve ever eaten. Hamburgers are, usually, terrible in Tel Aviv. I ask the waiter what’s in it. I think there must be bone marrow, it has that kind of silky richness, but he says they just add Worcester, which is what I add to mine. I should ask what cut of meat they use, but don’t. Next time.
Later, Shimon waves, Goodbye, honey, gets on a bus back to Florentin, and I hail a cab. The driver does that sneaky thing of naming a price, 25nis, but I tell him to start the meter. I say I live here now, in this city, he doesn’t need to treat me like a tourist. The fare is 17nis.
Today’s word: nehug – driver– נהג