Israel Stories

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Taxi Driver

I’ve never been shot in the foot before and never been slapped in the face with a wet fish. I have never accepted bribes and never been convicted of murder, manslaughter or J-walking. I have never run over a cat, killed an animal out of pure sadistic pleasure or cut my own hair. I have never eaten food out of a rubbish bin, flown an airplane or crashed a motor bike into a flaming pile of tires.

But I know a man who has and more. Of course I don’t believe a word of it, but when I’m stuck for conversation in a particularly boring social gathering I can always rely on, we’ll call him Itzik, to bail me out of those long and unbearable silences with your wife’s friend’s husbands.

Itzik has helped me escape the PDA comparison conversation, the ‘I do all my work in XHTML’ boring, boring, boring, conversation and the “I’m a lawyer and work to midnight every day’ bragging.

So when I am stuck with sad lawyer or uninteresting programmer I retell one of Itziks many fantastic stories. One day its Itzik the once millionaire from LA, another its Itzik the goldmine owner in South Africa, Itzik running from the Chicago mob or Itzik the stock broker who was actually responsible for Bearings downfall.

Actually I like the one called Itzik the delusions of grandeur sad taxi driver.

Itzik is not of this planet, at least mentally. You can already imagine what he looks like because you’ve met him, either her in the Holy Land or on the streets of New York. He’s shortish, long curly hair, dark skin, plenty of gold to make the world go ‘bling’ and he knows everybody, has done everything and is owed money by the world richest and most notorious.

With his sandals, flared jeans and shirt open for business right down to his carefully trimmed speedo line, Itzik drives his little Skoda as though he were Michael Schummacher driving a burning Farrari waiting for the nuclear engine to blow Bet Shemesh off the map. He takes great joy in watching pedestrians dive for cover as he mounts the pavement just to get the edge on some car driving slowly twice the speed limit.

He is, as we say in the UK, a complete and utter nutter. But he is also the most incredible resource for the incredible. His imagination could put Jules Verne, Arthur C Clarke, Stephen King and Umberto Eco to shame. He has been there and done it all, wherever there is of course because there is somewhere located deep inside in his sub, subconscious.

I like Itzik and in some ways I am jealous of him. For one thing he doesn’t care what he says, when he says it and to who. He is so happy and content in his own little world that the real world doesn’t bother him and probably has no meaning. For him the world is his cab, the streets of Israel and wherever his mind carries him.


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