It’s a day of weirdness: I shlepp down to Matam, the big high-tech industrial park in south Haifa, where many of my clients are located. It is the second session of training with another group of engineers at a Big Chip Company That Shall Remain Unnamed. Over the course of the day, I spot numerous things that make me go, “Huh?!”
- At the train station in Akko, a small black dog sporting a red collar trots onto the platform. One of the train security guys stops. “Nu?” he asks the dog sternly, “do you have a ticket?” Small Dog looks at him, looks up and down the platform, then slowly turns and plods back through the turnstile. Three large soldiers from a commando unit watch this and all say (in unison), “Ohhhhhhh!”
- On the train, I sit across from a conservatively-dressed religious woman who is calmly browsing an article about vibrators. Next to her, a young woman wearing very little at all and looking like the ultimate Barbie is rocking out to her MP3 player and reading a book on quantum physics.
- Walking from the train to my client’s building, I see two grounds-keepers talking. They are dressed in dirty overalls and pushing garbage bins. “But if you switch to cable from ADSL, that won’t affect your subnet mask,” says one to the other.
- Walking back towards the train, at the end of another fun day with some very smart developers, I see what appears to be a homeless guy clutching a briefcase. Then I notice the cellphone. Boy, I think, some of these Israeli engineers really dress like slobs. But as I pass the guy, I hear pure Texas. “We gonna wrap up this here meeting by tonight an’ I’ll head on back on that ol’ night flight.”
- Occupying a chair at one of the train station’s snack bar tables is an incredibly scruffy orange cat. He is big, butch, and battered. Both ears show the effects of multiple fights; his fur is streaked with motor oil; a scar zigzags across his haunch; the pink gash on his shoulder looks fresh. The woman at the snack bar calls him Vassa (short for Vassili) and says, “Oh, he is so pampered. He’s lived here for three years and he is spoiled rotten.”
- Back on the train, I sit across from a well-dress middle-aged couple. Their speech flags them as educated. They seem civilized. Then they start chewing gum. For the next half hour, I am forced to listen to wet, smacking noises as they chomp away, mouths open, like a pair of large ruminants.
- Heading out of the parking lot at Akko, I stop at a crosswalk and do a double-take at the soldier crossing in front of me. She is tiny—maybe 5’1″—and looks about 12 years old. And she is wearing the oxblood boots reserved for paratroopers.
- I get home to discover this urgent message from Northern LS, who wants to warn my readers about something that isn’t kosher for Pesach. Yet again another reason to follow Sephardi minchag, guys.
Ya gotta love this place.