Have you ever heard of Flat Stanley? The daughter of a non-Jewish online friend thought Israel would be an exotic destination for her daughter’s project, so last week Stanley arrived in the mail. We are supposed to host him for a week to ten days and show him the sights. There are a few reasons why I might not be the best candidate for this job:
- I live in a boring town.
- I never go anywhere.
- I’m a lousy photographer (no comments please).
Anyway, I have managed to get a few shots. One of the great things about living in Israel is that no one minds if you ask to take their picture, and the chances that a passerby is an axe-murderer is astoundingly low. Strangers are even willing to hold a silly paper doll after I managed to get the explanation down to a few words. Kol hakavod (kudos) to that woman for having those dogs muzzled, even though my kids still hid behind me.
Last night we brought Stanley to a wedding. I was feeling pretty ambitious, so when we stopped for gas near the airport I decided to grab a few shots. Now I know you are probably not supposed to photograph the airport but I didn’t see any signs and decided to go ahead. A security guard immediately came up, took my camera, and asked me what I was doing. I explained, and while he was very friendly and sympathetic, he said he needed to check on whether I could keep the pictures. We were already late for the wedding, and we were bringing another couple, so I offered to erase the pictures and go on my way. But he assured me that there wouldn’t be a problem (while still holding on to my ID and camera) and insisted I wait.
By this point my husband had finished filling up the car and was signalling frantically. “Look,” I said, “let me erase the pictures so I can get going.” “No,” he said, “it’s too late, the supervisor needs to meet you. He left already.” After a few minutes he points to a van with a flashing yellow light on top. “So this is where my tax money is going,” I said. “Yeah, can you get over that tax scandal?” He kept reassuring me that there wouldn’t be any problem once I explained to the supervisor what they were for, that I shouldn’t be scared (I wasn’t) and that it was all because of the security “balagan” lately (threatened terror attacks) that everyone was being so careful.
Then the twenty-something security guard started in on another line of questioning.
“So, you’re American?”
“How long have you been here?”
“So, is it better here?”
Finally the supervisor showed up. Once he realized that the pictures would be sent to some non-Jewish Americans that I didn’t even, know, he wanted them erased. I happily complied and showed him the innocuous photos still remaining on the camera.
Not only did we make it to the wedding in time, the young couple (whom I had never met) readily agreed to be photographed with Flat Stanley. Notice that only Stan is wearing a tie although I believe both men had on theirs for the chupah (ceremony). We were all so happy to participate in this beautiful simcha. Mazal tov!!