Monday, July 25, 2005

I Spy?!

As I was about to get on the train today, I noticed some neat symmetry at the station and decided to take a picture of it. Here’s the picture. Look well and enjoy it. It almost got me into a bit of trouble.

Symmetry at the Jerusalem train station

Notice the guy on the right? You can see his reflection in the train door, and also a bit of his foot. Well, that guy happens to be a security guard, and the moment he saw me taking that picture he ran towards me, his face full of stern foreboding.

“Let me see your passport,” he ordered.

My passport? I thought. Why does he want to see my passport? I guess he thought I was a tourist. And then it hit me: Oh, good heavens. This man thinks I’m a spy.

And I was so shocked by that thought that I squeaked: “What?!”

“Your passport,” he repeated.

Never mind that I’m not cut out for the life of a spy at all and wouldn’t take the job if it were offered to me. The security guard had no way of knowing that. So I took out my wallet in order to show him my Israeli identity card and made sure he saw the various other cards that most Israelis carry around with them every day: a magnetic card for my health fund, my ATM card and so on. I flipped to the pocket where I keep my identity card, took it out and handed it to him. I watched as he gave it far more than a cursory glance, opening it and looking closely at the photograph and papers inside. Then he handed it back to me in silence and went on his way.

And then it occurred to me that a spy would have precisely the same cards I had. After all, a spy would be doing her (or his) best to blend in with the local citizenry, right?

Huh. Some spy I’d make.

Well, at least the security guard didn’t tell me not to take any more pictures.

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