Tables, visas, quacks August 6, 2007Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
Nothing to write. At all. So let’s go over some old ground.
The Russian has surpassed himself in making an elephant out of a fly (as our German and Russian cousins like to say) of the unnecessary yet seemingly-simple task of giving the kitchen table a make-over. It must now be seventeen coats to the good and I have to say I’m gripped by whatever incarnation it will eventually end up in. Its first fifteen (or thereabouts) coats consisted in getting it from that lovely blue I talked about in some post or other to a rather Spartan white. As lazily minimalistic as we are on the decor front, I did think this was pushing things a tad, but with a resplendent bunch of some thorny-looking flower that the Russian found somewhere with a nice orange bloom, the ensemble had a not unpleasing finish.
And then a stripe. Blue. About nine thirteenths of the way down the whitescape. I was transported to Haifa, circa 1947. (The owner of this blog would like to make clear that he bears no liability for the depiction of ‘facts’ which can only be called wrong. Or pre-Israel Israeli accents which can only be called London.)
David – “‘ere, Yitzhak, you come up wiv a design for a flag yet?”
Yitzhak – “I ain’t makin’ that good progress, Dave, now’s you ask.”
David – (aside) “Rifka, whydya recommend Yitzhak for the job?”
Rifka – “His bruvver’s me sister’s doctor, inne? He said he was good wiv designin’ stuff.”
David – “So how far ‘ave you got?”
Yitzhak – “Well, I thought we’d have a nice white background. And then a blue stripe about nine firteenfs the way dairn.”
David – (to Rifka) “I don’t know who’s the bigger meshuggeneh, you or ‘im. A flag I ask for and a stripe he gives me, ‘nine firteenfs the way dairn’.”
Rifka – (to David) “Dave, don’t be ‘arsh. You know he’s been very busy with the kibbutzim.”
Yitzhak – “…and then summink Jewish in the middle, like one of ’em candlesticks. And maybe anuvver stripe.”
Though subsequent events have brought me back from the Middle East. A new stripe has appeared. Grey. And with no respect for vexillological tradition, pre-Israel or otherwise. There is talk of another stripe and further huffing and puffing, all of which will only shine further light on the work-shirking me.
Darlings, and you wouldn’t believe quite how incompetent British visa bureaucracy has become. My life is now a tawdry correspondence between me-as-the-Russian and Hungarian pen-pushers. “Dear Hungarian pen-pusher, further to my previous seventeen e-mails, each of which you have failed to read or, if not, in which you have failed to answer my one very simple question, i.e. have I, Mr. Russian, been granted a visa and have you sent me my passport back?, I ask again, have I, Mr. Russian, been granted a visa and have you sent me my passport back?” “Dear Mr. Russian, you can see online that your case has been dealt with and your passport has been sent back to you.” “Dear Hungarian pen-pusher, thank you for your eighteenth identically-worded and inadequate answer. As I have pointed out to you seventeen times, we both know that information is false, because the one time I did manage to speak to a human in Düsseldorf, she told me that the online info was an arrant lie and there merely to placate angry visa-applicants who would rather like their passports back.” “Dear Mr. Russian. OK, you’ve finally sapped my will to resist. I’ll get onto someone at Düsseldorf and ask. So can you give me the details of your application?” “Dear Hungarian pen-pusher. By application details, you mean precisely those which have been included in each of the e-mails I’ve already written you?” “Dear Mr. Russian. Yep, that’s them.” “Dear Hungarian pen-pusher…” Sometimes progress has much to answer for.
And just when I was beginning to enjoy my spate of summer run-ins with the quacks – think I might squeeze in the asthma dr. soon while I’m on a roll – my ear-quack has lost my confidence and made me think she’s mad. I went back on cue today to explain my ear was still generating an unsightly goo. On this occasion, she didn’t even bother looking at my ears themselves but resorted exclusively to swinging her divining rod between my knee and some bottles, muttering to herself reassuringly throughout. Then she prescribed me another new set of drops, each of which has 99% alcohol content and costs a small fortune. Mad as a brush, or getting a commission from the dumb foreigner with posh health insurance. Can’t decide which.
Still, it’s reassuringly sane-feeling-making doing business with the inane and the inept.