Israel Stories

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Trend Setter

A long time ago in a country far, far away I let a friend borrow a music tape. I promptly forgot about it and several years later decided to look for it, but it was gone. I had since lost contact with my friend so I went to every second hand music shop to try and buy it again. I obsessively phoned every shop in Camden, famed for its secondhand record shops, and then realized that just around the corner from my apartment was a small dealer. He had the tape. I raced to the shop, explaining to the owner the story of my prized possession. He found the tape and as I checked the box, low and behold, I found my name written on the inside cover. The owner still charged me, even after I showed him my driver’s license, threatened him with trying to sell stolen goods and generally tried to appeal to his better nature and sense of fair play, but all to no avail. 50 pence later and the tape was back in my possession. Of course I didn’t have a tape player so had to buy the disc, but that’s another story.

It’s hard to let go of prized possessions. Next to music I reckon clothes rate highly in the nostalgia stakes.

The day of the big purge had arrived. I had tried to avoid it but it was no good, I had no choice and what had to be done had to be done. My wife had already thrown out 7 bags of clothes (see girls, it can be done!) and now it was my turn.

I think that men tend to hold on to clothes for nostalgic reasons. So sorting through my clothes was a trip down memory lane. By the way I have a question for the women; why is it that if a hole develops in a pair of boxer shorts you feel the need to make dusters out of them? What you don’t understand is holes are a sign of a well used, comfortable and reliable garment.

While I was busy sorting through my clothes, hiding various items so they would be spared the black sack, forcing myself into clothes that fit me before I was married, and generally being in denial about my waist and collar size, my wife was looking up suitable charities. There are thousands of charities catering for all types of religious observance, culture and country of birth.

But while, to you and everybody else my clothes have no real value, could I really give away an Armani jacket to a charity. Would the wearer appreciate it? Would they understand that the tie (one careful owner, no creases) they were wearing was bought in 1996 for £70? So I had to decide what sort of needy person was deserving of my designer clothes. Then I instantly felt guilty of my materialism (no pun intended), the shocking realization that the snob in me had made an uncharacteristic appearnce and that after all its only cotton, silk, and wool, much the same as money is only paper! So I packed my clothes into black sacks and left them in the basement while I tried to decide my next move.

That night I had a strange dream about charedim wearing designer jeans and T-shirts, sipping cocktails in a nightclub. I think it was New Years Eve 1994.

I learned a new piece of crucial information a few weeks later. You can no longer do a U-turn back to Bet Shemesh outside of canyon Harel in Mevasseret. Apparently this isn’t so new but I haven’t been there for a while. So on my way back to Bet Shemesh I drove up the street opposite the canyon by the absorption center. There was a bit of a traffic jam so I sat watching the mainly Ethiopian olim sitting on the wall outside.

When you’re stationary the world takes on a different perspective.

My friend at the Mercaz Klita now wears an Armani jacket. His kids have designer jeans and their shirts have a small polo player on the chest. I did hear that a couple of H&O sweatshirts were thrown out because of the poor quality.

There is an Ethiopian quote ‘the prosperity of the trees is the well being of the birds’. I am sure there is a Jewish equivalent.

By the way if you’re wondering, all my old boxer shorts ands socks didn’t even make it to the duster basket although one pair of socks has been hidden away, something about New Years Eve 1994, but that’s a different story.

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