(Names have been changed to protect the innocent and not
so innocent involved…)
Believe it or not, there are worse dangers lurking in the Holy
Land than masked Hamas terrorists, garinim missiles spat from
the mouths of our less cultured Israeli brethren, or kamikaze
motorists! The danger I am alluding to is ROOMMATES - people you
elect to share your living space with, without really knowing
who they are or what potential horrors the experience might unleash.
Ever since I arrived in Israel four years ago, I have shared
my living space with nine different roommates in three different
apartments, so I reckon I am quite the expert in this regard.
First there were Mandi and Mark - Mandi was from Washington D.C.,
Mark from the Western expanse of Australia. They were kind of
living together - Mark was in the army and came "home"
on weekends. After six months, another occupant moved in, a feline
stray that Mandi took in after hearing his plaintive mews. Damn
cat! Furball was totally psychotic, no doubt traumatized by his
beginnings on the street. Of course I was simply delighted by
his arrival and often fantasized about cat-napping him and dumping
him on the other side of Jerusalem, but he hated me so much, I
just knew the miserable creature would find its way back and scratch
me to death! So I suffered under the wrath of Furball until Mandi
and Mark decided to get married, and kindly threw me out the apartment.
Furball had a smirk on his face for weeks!
My next apartment was a beautiful Arab house in Baka. I was totally
seduced by the spaciousness and high ceilings. The fact that my
room was a tiny converted balcony did not deter me. Nor did the
two Israeli roommates, who were religio-bohemians, and not exactly
honest. It became apparent to me in the advent of winter that
I had been deceived, when during the first rains, my room turned
into something approximating the Okavango swamp minus the animals!
Indeed, my dear roommates had knowingly kept this rather important
information from me. I won't bore you with the details of how
I left the swamp but suffice to say that my first experience of
dealing with Israeli lawyers was pretty positive!
Roommate number five was a lovely Australian woman named Lauren,
and I happily settled into her furnished apartment where I have
been ever since, although, after a year, she married and immigrated
to Korea (don't even ask!), leaving me in an empty apartment.
It was about this time that I shipped all my belongings from South
Africa and became a roommate hunter. My first experience in this
role, was another roommate disaster story! Suzanne was a British
gal, with how should I put it, rather serious issues? She conveniently
had phobias about cleaning liquids and smartoots (cleaning rags),
thus preventing her from participating in any cleaning activities.
She heard voices other than mine and claimed to be psychic. She
was also phobic about buttons - you know those innocuous little
things that hold your trousers up or keep your shirts together?
Luckily, life in Israel wasn't to her liking and she returned
to the comforts of England after a mere three months. I'd be lying
if I said I mourned her departure.
After Suzanne followed two years of wonderful friendships with
two very special roomates who I know will be lifelong friends!
Arianne was a native Californian studying in Israel for a year,
and Amit, a native Israeli Anglophile with an endearing personality!
Unfortunately, who could blame him, Amit yearned for his own living
space and moved out to live alone a month ago. Which brings us
to today, and to Nikki my new roomate, also from California, who
has just moved in. Last week there was a message on our answering
machine from her psychiatrist in Los Angeles…uh oh, not a very
good sign I fear...