Saturday, November 15, 2008

At the Train Station

Here are some pictures from the Tel Aviv University railway station, taken when I was there late last week.

Cell phone battery almost gone? Recharge here, for a fee:

Coin-operated charging unit for cellular telephones

A close-up of the machine and the various plugs for the various kinds of cellular phones:

Coin-operated charging unit for cellular telephones

An ad for the Israel Merchant Marine. Join and see the world!

Ad for the Israel Merchant Marine

The train station itself, looking toward the Tel Aviv skyline:

Tel Aviv University train station

This photo has a story to go with it. As I was busy snapping pictures of the Tel Aviv skyline through the arch, I saw a young man walking toward me. I put down the camera for a few seconds, waiting for him to pass by. Instead, he got right in my face and starting shouting at me in bad, heavily-accented English: “Don’t you dare picture me! I’m a famous actor! Don’t you dare picture me!”

I thought to myself, If you’re so famous, what are you doing taking the train instead of traveling by limo? Aloud, I said, “I was taking pictures of the skyline through the arch. See?” As I showed him the view, I added, “I wasn’t trying to take any pictures of you. I don’t even know who you are.”

“Show me,” he said in a challenging tone. I was only too glad to do so, thinking—and perhaps hoping—that it would annoy this self-centered jerk even more to see that I was telling the truth, and that my photos weren’t about him at all.

I showed him the photos I had taken so far. He pointed to one and said, “I see myself here. Don’t you dare picture me! Give me the camera! Give it to me, or I will call the police!”

I thought for a moment of telling him that he was welcome to do so, or of calling security and telling them that this weirdo was trying to steal my camera. But since he hadn’t made any physical move toward me, I decided that he really was distressed, for whatever reason, about having his face in one of my photographs. So I said, “Look, I’ll delete it right here, while you watch.” I did so as he looked on. “See? It’s gone.” He walked away.

After taking a few deep breaths, I followed him to where he was standing among a small knot of people. Looking him straight in the eye, I told him calmly: “I perform professionally too, and there was no reason for you to behave the way you did. If you wanted me to delete the picture, all you had to do was ask. I was polite to you; you were rude to me.”

And I walked away. Behind me, I could hear his response, formed of supreme intelligence:

Wot-evair. Wot-evair.

Soon after that, a train arrived. I snapped this picture quickly, then got on.

Clock and train

After an uneventful ride, I arrived in Jerusalem in mid-morning. Here is the end of the Jerusalem railway line, with the hills and and sky in the distance:

End of the Jerusalem railway line

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