How I met the world’s greatest dishwasher
“Anyone wanna job tonight?” was a usual cry at the Gordon hostel. I waited to see if anyone else was interested out of a pecking order need.
“Bob, how about you?” Having just worked all day for 50 shekels, suffering from torn hamstrings and sore fingers, I was in no position to think.
“What’s the score?”
“10 O’clock tonight till 6 in the morning, 7 shex per hour, interested?”
Tired but skint, I answered rhetorically, “Why not?”
“Great this is David. He’ll fill you in.”
“You start at 10 at the Terminal. You know Terminal?”
“The bar downstairs?”
“No, I don’t know it.”
He either did not get the joke or did not find it all amusing. “You go kitchen, ask for Joseph. OK? I go now.”
We shook hands to seal the contract.
The Terminal is a loud Café specialising in Western culture. The music was English, the food French and the clothes Italian. I thought that nobody was allowed in unless wearing designer sunglasses, especially at night. It catered for the nouveau-riches, whose attitude was to buy the most expensive thing on the menu and leave it- tres chic.
Middle Eastern standards were regarded as inferior to Western, resulting in paranoia and an attempt to buy prestige, which will always result in failure, increasing the low self-esteem, and the snowball continues in an ever decreasing spiral.
It would have been easier to run through a pack of Rugby forwards than to make one’s way through the scrum of hoi palloi.
“What you want?”
“I’ve come to wash up.”
“What you want?” said the next member of staff. I should have allowed longer for this X-factor part of my journey, but “Excuse me please.” does not have much effect. I eventually managed to side-step, body swerve, jink, hand-off and even sold a dummy to one waitress, till I ducked under the counter and found myself in the inner rectum of the kitchen.
I introduced myself to Joseph, who was basically a nice man, but had to play the role of head chef.
“Hi, my name’s Bob. I’ve come to wash up.”
“Sorry, I had trouble finding it.” He remained blissfully unaware of the distance travelled. “I’ll work a minute longer to make up for it.” I am still not convinced that sarcasm is the best policy towards negativity, but I have this reflex reaction.
“This is Ivan. He show you what to do.”
It is often said that there is only one chance to make a first impression. That being the case Ivan failed pretty badly. He was a tad over-weight, hair uncombed, 10 O'clock shadow and sad bags under his eyes. I wondered if he felt the same about me.
However, there was something about him. He had an aura. He was different in a way I could not immediately fathom. He was a Russian Olim with no after school education. His English was poor and I thought communication was going to be a problem. I was to be proved wrong.