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Israelis + Cell Phones + Sushi = Impaling a Stranger with a Chopstick

by Ilana Angel

September 15, 2011 | 7:50 am

Yesterday was busy.  I worked all day, picked up my son from school, and with Big Brother and America’s Got Talent having their season finales, and Survivor premiering, I had a long night of blogging for my reality blog Keeping it Real.  I decided we would go out for dinner so I could start work as soon as I got home.

My son chose to go for sushi and so we headed to Katsu-Ya.  If you eat sushi in Los Angeles and have not been, you must go.  It is delicious beyond description.  I love it there and was looking forward to a relaxing dinner with my favorite guy, and a chance to catch up before my busy evening.

It was packed, as it always is, and we were lucky to get the last two seats at the sushi bar.  I was so tired I almost cried when we sat down because the thought of driving to another location was too much.  We settled in, ordered a couple of rolls, and before I could take my first mouth watering bite, the phones started ringing.

We were sitting next to two very attractive Israeli men who were talking very loudly, in Hebrew, and their phones rang every two minutes for the entire time we were at dinner.  It was rude, obnoxious, annoying and offensive.  They talked nonstop, and would keep talking to each other even if one was on the phone talking to someone else.

My “relaxing” dinner with my son was anything but.  The entire sushi bar was littered with cell phones, mine included, but I didn’t answer my calls and the ringer was turned off.  I have a cell phone addiction to be sure, but there are some places where it’s just not cool, and sitting close enough to me that our thighs are touching, is one of those places.

The most offensive thing was that the ringers were on high so every time the phones rang, it was like an alarm going off.  Well one guy was an alarm sound, the other guy was Hava Nagila.  Trust me when I tell you it was LOUD.  Bad enough I need to hear them talking in my ear, but each incoming call made me want to stick a chopstick in their eyes.

I’ve seen this bad phone etiquette before and it seems to me that it’s always with Israelis.  Men and woman both are guilty of this offence.  I speak Hebrew and grew up with an Israeli mother so I am familiar with the accent. Even if I weren’t, the screaming of “Allo, Alo, Allo” would give them away. Why must they answer each call with 3 hellos?

If you need to work while you are at dinner, I get it.  I don’t get however, why you would not turn off your ringer, put it on vibrate, and use your regular voice while speaking.  There is no need to have your ringer on high and scream into the phone as if you are talking to someone who is apparently calling from a cave and cannot hear you.

The entertaining part of these two obnoxious and annoying gentlemen is that they were big and buff guys, who ended every phone call with “Bye-Bye”. Not bye, or see ya, or later, but rather Bye Bye.  Every time they said it my kid started laughing.  It was funny to see these two giants end calls like a little girl parting ways with her Grandma.

I don’t want to stereotype Israelis as having bad phone etiquette, but in my experience, they do.  Turn off your ringers.  Take a call outside.  Tell the caller you’ll call them back after dinner.  Keep the volume of your voice and your ringtone down.  It is annoying to people near you, and you look like a schmuck. Especially during dinner at a sushi bar.

Rather than fully enjoying dinner with my son, I spent my time fantasizing about throwing their phones into a vat of spicy tuna.  It took all my strength not to hit these men, or impale them with a chopstick.  My son and I spent an hour talking about proper phone use, volume control, and creating a list of 100 ways to hurt someone with a chopstick.

I love my kid and in the end we enjoyed our time together.  The sushi was delicious and I heard all about his school day.  Between the Israelis, and the sushi chef being a small Hispanic woman, it was an odd dinner.  The upside is that I got to hear my kid laugh a lot, and discovered 36 new ways to impale someone with a chopstick.

It’s not like me to not say anything, but ever since my sister honked at a man and was terrorized, I’ve been quiet rather than confrontational.  I don’t know how long this new subdued approach with last, but when it ends, I better not have a chopstick in my purse.  If I see those men again I won’t be quiet, so I hope they are keeping the faith.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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