Six weeks after I arrive I have a haircut so tragic you can see I’m related to my brothers. My new butcher/barber didn’t even hold a mirror up at the end so that I could see how horrible the back looks. He asked if it was ok. I, of course, smiled and said Yes, thankyou very much. I wished I’d hacked at it with a blunt penknife instead.
I went from the salon to the bank where I’ve been trying to open an account. This is my fourth attempt. It’s quite smart, as banks here go, which is why, I think, I chose it. I hate this task, it is more draining than it should be, but it is vital that I complete it. Each time they turn me away, asking for another piece of information. I wish they’d just given me a list on the first visit and punched my face.
I approached not a cashier, but an advisor, as I had the other times. I was the only customer in the branch. I asked if he spoke English. With the sort of froideur you only find in people in glass booths or servants of minor European royalty, he told me to take a number. This isn’t uncommon in Israel, although it hasn’t happened at this bank before. I went to the ticket machine. It had instructions in Hebrew, Arabic, and Russian, none of which I can read. I stared at it for a full minute before leaving.
A week later, at another bank, an easier place to open an account, I wanted to deposit a UK cheque. The man I’d been speaking to told me I had to go upstairs to do this. The man upstairs shook his head and told me to go to a cashier, downstairs, so I went there. After waiting for twenty minutes, she told me to go the the first man I’d spoken to. I returned to him, repeated my request and he said, Yes, I can do that. It’s probably lucky that I’m not a violent man.
It had been damp all day, but the second I was outside the drizzle turned into a deluge. I was drenched in the few seconds it took to scamper to a café. I took my iPad out of my bag and it fell, glass side down, onto the ceramic floor. I now have an iPad with a spider’s web of cracks across its face.
I received a text from someone saying they were my bank in London. It said I’ve successfully changed my address, something I haven’t tried to do. I could only sigh. Whata fine day it had been.
My hair will grow back. There are other banks. My iPad can be repaired. My London bank is good at dealing with fraud. I will make friends.
Today’s word: choref – winter – חורף