One of the very best things about writing this blog is that I’ve made a friend. His name is Efrat, and he is Israeli, and it’s rewarding when he tells me my observations are accurate.
He was one of the first people to start reading White Meat. Within one or two posts he started pressing the star symbol, indicating that he liked what I write. You don’t get much feedback when writing a blog, even from friends, so this was genuinely exciting for me. Sometimes he’d leave comments, which were always positive. When necessary, he’d correct Today’s word, but do it gently, pretending to spell a word in English wrongly. His English is flawless.
We began talking to each other on Twitter, where he posts pictures of tall buildings, often put through many filters, with elliptical captions: Hellion, and Foamy, and I don’t know what. I don’t know what might make a good caption. I was intrigued by his avatar, a panda crying black tears. I hope this is an illustration of his sense of humour rather than of bleakness. I followed him, noting that Twitter isn’t popular in Israel. He said that’s why he joined, so he may be something of a contrarian. Twitter is perfect for him, then.
He’d tell me fragments about himself, but not much more. He was like a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle to which I’d only found the corners, but I know I like him. He’s thirty-four, eats pizza and cold Chinese, doesn’t like restaurants or his demanding job. He lives in a town north of Tel Aviv where not much happens. We like many of the same tv shows and films; Seinfeld, and Lost in Translation, and he urged me to see Up in the Air. They’re stories, maybe, of atomised lives, although he says he’s drawn to the airplanes.
I know his height, (5′ 11″, tall for Israel), and that he exercises, but I can’t really picture him, I can’t imagine his face. I asked him, more than once, to meet me, but he declined, saying it wasn’t personal, and I tried not to take it so. I’m sorry we’ve never sat together at a table to shoot the breeze. Maybe the next time I’m in Israel, if he’s there, too.
We’re both happy in our own company. I know he has friends, though; he goes to barbecues, and no one lights one of those for just one person. Also, he was seeing a girl his friends set him up with. He thinks it improper to tell me her name, but I know he likes her. Still, he’s broken up with her because he’s going travelling.
He’s leaving his job, flying, at first, to Tokyo for three months, maybe longer. He says technology is a reason for him to get out of bed every morning, so Japan will be perfect.
And this blog, I have to tell you, is also coming to an end, I’ve almost run out of stories about the year I lived in Tel Aviv. Efrat told me that he will cherish each one. You cannot imagine how thrilled I was that someone would say that to me. I hope we keep in touch, but it is an odd, fragmented – atomised – kind of friendship. I don’t know his phone number or email address or what his voice sounds like. Maybe I should enjoy things as they are, not how I’d like them to be.
Anyway, Efrat asked if I’d write about the things I most enjoyed in Tel Aviv, and I’m happy to have done so. That list will be the next post, before I start telling you about my return to London.
Today’s word: chavehr – friend – חבר