Thursday, June 30, 2005

If You’re Selling Something, Say So

[rant on]

I’m going to gripe about something that’s been bugging me for years. Why now, all of a sudden? my half-dozen readers may ask. Well, mostly because it happened again this morning.

A bit of background first: the phone line I use doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to a dear friend of mine, whom I’ll call Zahava because she has a heart of gold, and is listed under her name. I’m just babysitting it until she and her husband come back to Israel—soon, I hope.

Since I use a phone line that’s not listed under my own name, it is easy to tell the telemarketers apart from those who have actual business with me. Whenever I answer the phone, as soon as I hear the telltale click of a receiver being picked up on the caller’s end and a professional voice, usually female, asking to speak to Zahava Gavrieli [not her real surname either], I can be reasonably sure that it’s a telemarketer. Once the caller gets a second or two into her script and I am satisfied that it’s not a legitimate message for Zahava, I give her my own little spiel: “I don’t donate/make purchases/join organizations over the phone. Good luck, and shalom.”

But it seems that one company’s sales writers are a bit more clever than that. Here’s how the conversation went this morning:

Rahel: Hello?

Telemarketer: Hello, is this Zahava Gavrieli? I’m calling to offer you a free examination of your water to test for metals. Our technicians are in your city today, and these are the times we’re available ...

(I confess I don’t remember the exact wording. But this was different from the usual sales spiel in that it actually sounded like an official call from a utility company, much like the notice from the gas company that I recently received—and promptly obeyed—to have my cooking gas system inspected. Still, one can never be too careful.)

R [suspicious]: Just a moment, please. Are you selling something?

T: No. We’re offering a free examination of your water system. Your water system may contain metals. What time would you like our technicians to come to your home?

R [even more suspicious]: That’s all this is? Just an examination? You’re not a company selling a product?

T: No. We’re just offering to test your water system, and then we will give you a consultation based on the results.

A consultation. Suddenly, dawn broke. I guess two straight days with a temperature had done a bit of a number on my memory, but I suddenly realized that I had gotten this exact same call a year or two ago, and in a flash I knew what was going on.

R: Oh, just a moment, I remember now. You sell water filters, don’t you? You offer to test people’s water and then you sell them water filters based on the results. Right?

T [sounding disappointed]: Yes.

R: Oh, so you are selling a product, then. Well, I don’t buy anything over the telephone. Good luck, and shalom.

I think that being rude to telemarketers is inexcusable, and I’m not at all amused by the supposedly clever but actually mean-spirited remarks some people seem to delight in making to them. After all, telemarketers are people trying to make a living, and based on the little I know of such companies, most of their workers earn low wages for performing a boring, difficult and thankless task, and are there pretty much because they have to be. So why add insult to injury? In my opinion, that’s just cruel.

At the same time, I prefer honesty. If you’re selling something, say so. If you try to hide the fact that you’re selling something until you’re inside my home, performing a test which is really nothing more than a sophisticated sales pitch meant to prove that I need your product (thus casting doubt on the integrity of your water examination even if it happens to be accurate), you will not win my respect nearly as easily as you would if you told me up front that you had a product for sale. I do understand that people need to earn a living, but I don’t look kindly on deception.

On the other hand, it doesn’t matter all that much, because I don’t donate, make purchases or join organizations via telephone. Good luck, and shalom.

[rant off]

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

This Is Not a Meme (or, What I Found When I Went Outside One Fine Morning)

Cat in a plant-box,
How do you do?

Oh, is it evening already?

Cat in a plant-box—
Can I grow one, too?

This is a beauty treatment. The soil cools my fur. Oh, that’s right, you’re human. You have no fur. Too bad.

Shhh. Her Ladyship is sleeping.


(With a tip of the Mediterranean sun-hat to Elisson)

Oh, My ...

They’re sprouting.

Catnip sprouts

Those wonderful, magic seeds I got from Lisaviolet are sprouting.

More catnip sprouts

Beware! Soon they will take over the entire world!

(Oh, dear. I guess humans can be affected by catnip, too. Heh.)

Seriously: I was thinking that when the catnip is big enough, I’ll plant some of it downstairs in our garden in memory of Lair Simon’s Edloe and of Edna, a special feline friend of mine who passed away last week at the age of twenty-two. In the meantime, please, would some kind home gardener out there tell me the best way to grow catnip in a pot?

(After some checking, I’ve decided to learn from this gardener’s tale of woe. It’s hilarious, so make sure you’re not drinking anything when you read it. Keyboards and monitors are expensive.)

Almost All Better

Thank goodness. But I’m going to wait one more day just to be sure. There’s no sense in risking a relapse, or giving nasties to anyone else.

But I sure wish I could have gone to the Kolech conference. They’re only held once every two years.


Edloe Is Gone

Laurence Simon’s magnificent cat, Edloe, passed away suddenly last night. A star of the blogosphere is gone.

Good night, sweet Grumpus ...

IFOC Gallery: Catcams: Edloe Looks Back

... and may there always be treats and bellyrubs for you on the other side.

My prayers and good thoughts go out to Lair and his wife, and to Piper, Frisky and Nardo.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


So I got up today, felt fine, normal temperature, figured I’d at least be able to catch the second day of the Kolech conference.


Temperature’s back up. I feel like the weather report all summer long in Israel: Hot. No change.

When I get over a virus like this, the first thing I do is a load of laundry. All my bed linen, plus anything I wore while I was sick, go straight into the washing machine. I did that this morning, thinking I was done with this bug. And then it came back. Or maybe it never left.

So I guess I get to enjoy the luxury of fresh linen for another day of being sick. How lovely.

Fever is a strange country, and it’s interesting to look out at the world from within its borders. Still, I can’t wait to leave.

Monday, June 27, 2005

I Feel Awful, Oh, So Awful

I think something I ate yesterday didn’t like me very much. Or I’ve got a stomach bug. Whatever it is, it’s no fun at all.

What a disappointment. I was supposed to go to the Kolech conference today. I still might, depending on how I feel later in the day. But right now I feel like all I can do is lie in bed and wait for this bug to go away.

Can you catch a virus from your computer? Dumb joke, I know. But I just got my computer back last night and apparently when I sent it in it was full of viruses. So maybe I caught one.

I’m drinking fennel tea in the hope that it will calm things down inside, and I cooked some quinoa in case I feel hungry later.

I’d like to do some work but it’s hard to concentrate. So for now, I think I’ll go back to bed.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

On Line Again (Thank Goodness)

Ah, to be back on line! Oh, bliss!

But of course, that means ... back to work.

As luck would have it, when the technician brought back my computer, there was no electricity in my apartment because of a temporary malfunction. So what did I do while waiting for it to be repaired? Instead of cursing Murphy’s law, I dyed two light-weight cotton dresses that I bought a while ago at a store downtown that specializes in the long, flowing dresses and skirts we see so much of in Jerusalem. Both dresses were pretty faded, so I got them at a bargain and figured that I would use them for comfortable home wear during our long, hot summers. But the dye came out so well that I think I can wear them outside now, too.

(Oh, rats. I could have taken before and after pictures. Oh, well. Next time.)

And dyeing a garment is so very easy. I’m too chicken to use my washing machine for it, but the bucket method is a lot of fun. It’s much more hands-on than the washing-machine method—you have to stir the garment in the dye bath for at least twenty minutes straight—but I love that sort of thing.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: Double, double toil and trouble. Well, you can relax. It was a plastic bucket, even if I was using a thick wooden stick for stirring. And it’s not that much toil, really, and no trouble at all as long as you take your time and follow directions.

Sometimes even being off-line for a few days can be productive. Instead of two faded dresses—one a slightly faded blue and the other a light green so discolored that I decided I would only wear it at home—I have two lovely new dresses, one a vibrant royal blue and the other a rich dark green. And all it took was a small investment and a little bit of work.

And it was so much fun. I really should do this sort of thing more often.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Computer Problems

I’ve heard few sounds more chilling than the disembodied voice from the back of my computer that said this morning, clearly and with icy professionalism: “Your hard disk ... may have a problem. Your hard disk ... may have a problem.”

The technician is on his way. I will be computer-less for ... well, I don’t know exactly for how long. Let’s hope it won’t be too long and that the problem isn’t too severe.

Technology is wonderful. When it works, that is.

UPDATE: It’s Sunday, and I’m still computerless. The machine is being worked on in the shop even as we speak.

So, all you computer users, take a lesson from me: update your operating system. Frequently. Keep a close eye on that system tray. Go on the Net and look for updates. Don’t wait for them to come to you. That was my mistake, and wow, do I ever regret it. It turns out that my hard drive was not only very old but also full of viruses. According to my technician, updating my anti-virus program—which I did regularly—was not enough.

And here I thought I was being such a good citizen. Well, I guess I still can be. So, while I’m here: Ad-Aware and Spybot Search and Destroy have new versions out. Actually they’ve been out for some time. If you don’t have them yet, go download ’em. (If you have a previous version of Ad-Aware installed, the program will helpfully uninstall it. Not so for Spybot Search and Destroy, though—you’ll have to uninstall the previous version yourself.)

And learn from my inconvenient and very expensive mistake. Update that operating system.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Jewish View

Check out Meryl’s new group blog, The Jewish View.

I’ll be writing there when I have more time.

(Time? What’s that?)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Road to Disaster

The last time I took the train was just two days ago. Usually I take two trains to my friend’s house and back: one between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and the other between Tel Aviv and the north. But this time the cab I had called was late and I missed the connection to Jerusalem, so I ended up taking the bus home from Tel Aviv.

I dozed off in my seat only to be awakened by an abrupt swerve. We had almost hit the guardrail. So much for dozing on this trip, I thought. I fought the urge to ask the driver how many hours he had been driving and whether he had had any sleep within the past twenty-four hours.

Since bus and truck drivers in Israel earn very low salaries, many of them moonlight. Of course, the trouble with that is that they go without sleep for long periods of time, putting their passengers’ lives at risk. I still remember how, in 1991, two sisters were killed when the driver of their cab fell asleep at the wheel. The young women were the only children of their parents. Unfortunately, no lessons were learned, or at least not for very long. The problem is still very much with us, as we found out today.

At least seven people were killed and 189 injured this afternoon when a truck crashed into a Haifa–Beersheva train in the northern Negev. The truck driver had been driving for thirty hours, and his company was already under investigation for making its drivers work more than the required limit:

According to ZAKA, the driver of the truck had been working for over 30 hours at the time of the collision. The trucking company which employed him was already under criminal investigation for having its drivers work for 30 to 40 consecutive hours, Channel 1 noted. The investigation was opened some two months ago.

Two months ago?! Why was this company still allowed to put drivers on the road?

I find myself wondering: did the conductor survive? Is he all right? Which conductor was he? (I ride the trains so often that I already know several of the conductors.) Was he the one who, last April, made the first run from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem since the line had been shut down approximately eight years before? (He was the one who opened the doors of the engineering compartment so that the media and interested passengers could watch the maiden voyage from up close.) Or was he the man who joked with me as we pulled into Beit Shemesh? Or the young man, clearly a new immigrant, who had such a masterful touch on the controls that we barely felt the train decelerate as we pulled into the Malha station?

Seven people were killed today in a needless train crash as they went about their business. That’s seven lives gone, seven families grieved beyond bearing, seven futures that no one will ever see or enjoy—and all because the director of a truck company wanted a bit more profit.

Sweet dreams, Mr. General Manager.


UPDATE: The death toll is now up to eight. Both the truck driver and the train driver were killed.

Recommended Reading

For those interested in the topic of women in Judaism, have I got an article for you: “The Silence of Rayna Batya” by Don Seeman (PDF format). It has been around for a while, but it is still excellent. Here is one of my favorite quotes, from the endnote section:

“Our grandmothers were all happy” is a claim which is frequently heard in discussions and arguments about women’s learning in the contemporary Orthodox community. In fact, this is less of a historical claim than a rhetorical device, used to marginalize those contemporary Jews who find current arrangements troubling or painful. Denying historical depth in the dissatisfaction of some Jews is one way of denying the relevance or legitimacy of their dissatisfaction. ... The assumption that problems with accepted Halakhah are fed only by “passing Narishkeit” [foolishness] rather than long-standing frustration frees the Orthodox community from any need to seriously grapple with them.

Now I have to get back to work. Nose, meet grindstone.

It’s going to be this way for a while. Expect light blogging.

UPDATE: Miriam at Bloghead has an excellent post about precedents regarding women in Judaism.

[I]n the High Middle Ages, a time which is generally considered oppressive for women, Jewish women took on a whole range of roles and obligations which today would be unthinkable, including as Sandek in a Brit, Shochetet, mohelet, and in certain small communities, receiving aliyot and reading from the Torah. They also participated in Zimmun, and there is ample evidence of women, mostly from the “upper classes,” wearing a tallit, tzitzit, and (on a more limited basis, apparently) tefillin. ... Those who argue about “women’s traditional roles” should be aware that this phrase covers a much greater range of options than they are imagining, and there is precedence for women doing a great deal more in communal life than they do today, or than any authority in the Orthodox world would dream of allowing them to. ... So again—with a bit of historical background, things are not as black and white as some might make out.

Read the whole thing.

(Cross-posted at The Jewish View)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Waking Up from His Dreams

Treppenwitz has a must-read post about IDF reservist Avi Karouchi, who was killed yesterday in an attack on the Philadelphi Road. Go read it.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Language Barrier

I bought a digital camera yesterday. It comes with two manuals, one small, one large. You’re supposed to read the small one first. It even says “Read This First.” But in the package I received, the “Read This First” manual was only in Japanese, with no English or Hebrew translation to be found. And I looked, believe me. (As I write I’m thinking: too bad this didn’t happen to Meryl or Lair Simon. They’d have their readers laughing themselves silly by now.)

Well, thank Heaven for the Internet, where I found the document on the manufacturer’s site and printed it out. On the Net it’s a PDF document that can be enlarged on the screen but that requires a magnifying glass to read as hard copy. So I enlarged it on the office copier after work. (Thanks again for your help, Wonderful Co-worker. You know who you are.)

Since I was heading in that direction anyway, I brought the printout to the camera store (the original tiny-print version, not the enlarged one; since they sell photographic equipment, they can jolly well enlarge the thing themselves). I told the guy sitting at the main desk: Look, Mister, you’re selling people this complicated, expensive piece of equipment and its most important manual, which screams “Read Me First” in big, commanding letters, is in Japanese. Just in case you happened to be wondering, we are not in Japan. So what gives? Here’s an English version for you, and here’s a link to the document on the Net. Enlarge it and give it to your customers when they buy this thing. All right, it’s in English, not in Hebrew, but it’s a safe bet that more of your customers speak English than speak Japanese.


I had wanted to get home right after work, which began this morning at 6 a.m. and ended at 10:30 a.m. I have plenty of work to do at home and I wanted to hurry up and get as much of it done as I could before Shabbat. But just my luck—as I was about to finish my errands and start heading home, I saw a wallet lying on the sidewalk.

Oh, great. Just what I wanted—another errand. And the police’s lost and found office is closed on Fridays, and it’s just too darn hot to walk all the way to the Russian Compound, I griped to myself.

I’d forgotten about the police station in the open-air market. Nice and convenient. So I got to go home. And there was much rejoicing. (And work.)

Oops, there’s the siren. I’m outta here. Shabbat shalom.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Set-up Horror Stories

Treppenwitz has an entertaining post today about blind date horror stories and invited his commenters to add their own, so I figured: OK, I’ll take the plunge over here with some of my way-out set-up stories. No blind dates, but close enough, I think.

Some years ago, an acquaintance of mine invited me for a holiday meal at her place, telling me that the reason she was inviting me was that she had a male guest coming over whom she wanted me to meet. So I went, thinking: Why not?

I soon learned why not. The guy showed up an hour late for the meal and wore a dirty shirt. His voice was loud and unmodulated, and by the time the meal was over my ears were ringing. As I was walking out the door, he shouted after me in a voice that could be heard throughout the building, if not the entire neighborhood: “Will you give me your phone number? What’s your phone number?” I think it was the fastest exit of my adult life.

I felt hurt. It was obvious to me that my acquaintance wasn’t thinking of me at all. She was simply trying to find someone, anyone, for her single male friend. I understand she meant well and I tried not to take it personally, but I still couldn’t help wondering what on earth she thought of me that she could think even for a second that this man, who appeared utterly desperate and unable to take care of himself, would be an appropriate match for me.

Then there was the woman who told me she had the “perfect guy” for me. It was obvious that this woman's religious outlook differed from mine considerably, so I asked her to explain why she thought the man she had in mind was the “perfect guy.” She said, “Well, you’re both into spirituality.” (Hmmph.) I asked her to tell the man that I’m a member of two women’s prayer groups. She told me later that this fact had scared him off. “Oh, well, then I guess he wasn’t the ‘perfect guy’ for me,” I told her. (This was the same woman who told me in a soulful voice that she believes that women should be “hidden.” Hmmph. Don’t get me started.)

After that, there was the man who wanted me to meet one of his acquaintances. By this time I had wised up a bit, and I asked him: Can you give me precise reasons why you think that your friend and I are right for each other? He couldn’t come up with any answer other than, “Well, he’s a musician and I think that he needs a bit of grounding.” I wanted to retort: So put a wire around his big toe and sink it a few centimeters. That should do it. Sorry, but with all respect to the views of a contemporary well-known Jerusalem thinker and scholar, I do not believe that a wife’s function is to be a mother to her husband. (I hope I’m not opening up a can of worms with that remark.)

In order to illustrate why this next one was so far out of the ball park: the man in question does not live in Israel and has no intention of doing so, while I have been here for more than a decade and have no intention of leaving. Nevertheless, my acquaintance (not the same one as above) 1) gave the man my phone number without asking me first and 2) physically blocked my way in order to introduce me to him.

She must have thought one of us was really desperate.

The comments of a happily married, down-to-earth friend of mine are refreshing. She promised me that she would never try to set me up with anyone she wouldn’t consider dating herself, and also that she would have far better reasons for setting me up with any single men she knew than simply “Oh, well, he's been single for a long time and so has she, so why not try it?”

I enjoy making connections between people. I’m not referring to matchmaking, but just human connections between people whom I think would share each other’s interests and appreciate each other’s company. As far as I know, I don’t have any marriages to my credit, but I do have a few friendships. And I like to think that if I were to suggest a potential match for someone, I’d be far more careful and sensitive than the examples I’ve given above.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Yom Yerushalayim

David at Treppenwitz brings us the original radio broadcast of the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem on this day in 1967. Listen closely and have your tissues ready. You’re going to need them.

(Bit of trivia: I’ve recorded in Avi Yaffe’s studio, where this recording is archived. Next time I’m there, I should ask what else he’s got.)

Here’s Meryl’s roundup.

Here is a translation of Haim Hefer’s column for this day in 1967: “The Paratroopers Cry.”

For Hebrew speakers, here are the lyrics to the songs associated with the national observances of this time of year: Yom ha-Shoah, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Yom Yerushalayim.

Finally, here is my translation of one of my favorite songs about Jerusalem. (I really hope I’m not breaking any copyright laws here.) The quote mentioned in the refrain is from Isaiah 62:6.

Watchman on the Walls
Lyrics: Dan Almagor
Music: Benny Nagari
I stand upon the wall,
in the rain, alone, the entire Old City
laid out in the palm of my hand and, in love, I gaze at it.
I always come up here just to have a look,
only this time I’m here on duty.
(Refrain:) Yes, who would have dreamed, back in school,
when we learned to recite “Upon your walls, O Jerusalem,
I have posted guards,”
that one day I would be one of them?
I stand upon the wall,
listening to the sounds,
voices from the market and the commotion:
the shouts of peddlers and wagons.
Here’s the call of the muezzin,
the peal of the bell—but I must be alert
for the sound of a grenade.
Yes, who would have dreamed ...
I stand upon the wall,
trembling with cold and looking out. The sun has already set.
Watchman, how goes the night? The full moon’s light
Washes the walls and gates. When will the day come
When we don’t need watchmen anymore?
Yes, who would have dreamed ...

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Saturday Night Stuff

Ad-Aware has a new version out. Download it here.

A dear friend of mine had her adult bat mitzva this morning at our women’s tefilla group, Shirat Sara. It was lovely, and she read the entire Torah portion beautifully. She also gave an excellent talk on women and tefillin with lots of sources. Kol ha-kavod, ABC, and mazal tov!

Celestial Blue has just about broken even in her fundraising efforts. Buy her beautiful blue Am Yisrael Chai bracelets and send her to the Holy Land! Like I said before, it’s a mitzva, and as we learn in Pirke Avot 4:2, one mitzva leads to another. In this case, once we succeed in helping Celestial Blue reach Livnot U-Lehibanot, she’ll be able to join in the wonderful work they do. So we’re not just benefiting CB; we’re benefiting all the people that Livnot helps ... and we’ll have a share in every positive thing that happens as a result. (And there’s lots of positive stuff that could happen, since trips like this change people’s lives.) Pretty neat, huh? So what are you still doing here? Go buy a bracelet! Buy a bunch and give them as gifts!

Got the early job tomorrow morning—early as in 6 a.m. Time for bed.

Friday, June 03, 2005

It’s A Mitzvah

Please help Celestial Blue become my neighbor for a few months. Buy a bracelet and send her to Livnot U-Lehibanot!

Details are at the above link to her blog, along with a sweet picture of her modeling the bracelet.

C’mon, folks, let’s help the lady out here. It’s a mitzvah.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Checking In

I got a pleasant surprise when I went to the bank this week to deposit my paycheck.

For years, until just a few days ago, the procedure was simple but time-consuming: you had to fill out a bank envelope with the details of your bank account, the details of the check you were depositing, and so on.

On this particular morning, I went to the small table where the envelopes were kept and discovered that there were none. When I turned to look for help, a friendly bank employee greeted me with a smile. “Can I help you?” she asked.

“Yes, please,” I said. “I need to deposit a check and there aren’t any envelopes left. Please, would you get some?”

“Oh, we aren’t using the envelopes anymore,” she said with a grin. “Now we’re using this.

The check deposit machine

And she taught me how to use it, right then and there.

It’s surprisingly easy. You insert your bank card in the slot below, wait for the machine to read it and spit it back out, and then you insert your endorsed check into the slot above. The machine shows you an image of the check you have just deposited, asking if you want to deposit it into your own account or another one. You press the screen for yes or no, verify that the check is going where you want it to go and you’re done.


The only problem I can think of is that there may be lines on occasion. But since the procedure is so quick and easy, they should go fairly quickly ... I hope.

(Cross-posted on Israelity)

A Bit of Compassion

In the recent tradition of Treppenwitz and Blog d’Elisson, I’m writing a bathroom-related post.

No, don’t run away! It’s clean, nothing gross, I promise.

I stopped into my favorite bookstore on the way to work this morning. The bookstore’s manager happens to be my former landlady, a nice if rather exacting woman. Sometimes we greet each other, but mostly I don’t see her because she’s at work while I’m up to my eyebrows in a book.

I was leafing through a book of cross-stitch patterns, considering whether it was too seasonal for me to use, when I suddenly realized I had to go. Now.

Now, I know that in a situation like that, one should ask permission first. But in this situation “now” meant right now, this very instant, and I had to make a split-second decision between a small breach of manners and ... um ... a much larger one. It was pretty much a no-brainer.

A few moments later, when I had some time to think, I realized that I had probably let myself in for some trouble, and I thought of what I would do if I were the store manager. Either I would know the person who was using the bathroom or I wouldn’t, and I figured that in either case I would let it go by. After all, if the person were someone I already knew as a customer, I wouldn’t want to lose his or her business. And if the person were someone I didn’t know at all, someone who came in off the street, well, it’s not nice but what can you do? Done is done, and bit of judicious ignoring, interpreted as kindness, might even win me a customer.

Be that as it may, Store Manager/Former Landlady was right there waiting for me when I came out, and proceeded to scold me in her precise and clipped manner.

I’ve seen some native-born Israelis respond with stunning bravado in situations like that. It can be as clear as a sunrise in June that they are in the wrong, but when scolded they turn right around and act as though they are the injured party. Wrong? Me? Not at all. You, on the other hand ... (It’s called hutzpah, and it’s one of our largest national products.)

Me, I’m a wimpy, law-abiding freier of a Yank, and I don’t do that sort of thing well at all. So I didn’t even bother trying.

Instead I said meekly: I’m sorry, but this was an emergency.

Store Manager/Former Landlady replied, archly: But you’re supposed to ask permission first.

Believe me, I said, there was no time.

Well, since I know you ... Store Manager/Former Landlady grudgingly began.

At this point I thought to myself: All right, then—just what, exactly, would you do if you didn’t know me? Have the police haul me in for using the bathroom in your store without permission? Take me to court? Calculate the cost of the flush and add it to my bill the next time I buy a book?

But aloud I only said: I’ve been coming to this store for years, and I’ve never done this before.

She had no answer to that.

Some people could really do with a bit of compassion.


Meet Pinocchio. She’s female, actually, and lives in and around a frame store at a shopping center near where I work. Here she’s lying on top of a bunch of posters outside the shop.

Meet Pinocchio, the framer’s cat

Beautiful, isn’t she? She’s even got her own fan club. I had to wait on line to pet her, but eventually I got my chance:

Skritching Pinocchio

It was worth the wait.

(Catch the 63rd edition of the Carnival of the Cats at Enrevanche this week.)