Free babysitters in Tel-Aviv are like virgins in a Harem: if they do exist, they’re gone before you know it. So it was in desperation that, when Wife and I realised we hadn’t been out alone in a very, very long time, we dialled through the ream of numbers on the fridge. Finally we found a girl who wasn’t booked and, after making awkward, polite conversation with someone who really should be earning more than 35 Skekels ($9) an hour, Baby finally fell asleep and we headed out to 44 on Nachalat Binyamin.
I really love that place. OK, so the food isn’t the greatest (“experimental” and “Vietnamese-inspired” are two terms which should and do really set the alarm-bells ringing), but the garden is so atmospheric and the staff are so nice and the food so heart-felt that it is worth making excuses for (and avoiding with hipster-foodie friends who take their gastronomy too seriously to take them seriously).
But as the night progressed and the wine flowed, talk invariable turned to Sufi and our hearts weren’t in it. So reluctantly we said goodbye to the fawning waiter and headed back to the Kerem. The couch was empty when the door squeaked open. Even Young Dog had vacated the living room so something clearly wasn’t right. Paranoia dictated a violent kidnapping, but some faint noises from the bedrooms downstairs suggested other foul play. Young Dog heard us and lifted her head from her bed; I swear she pointed us towards our bathroom. For, lo-and-behold, though we have three toilets in our tiny apartment, there amidst the open drawers and cabinets sat Babysitter, perched high atop our own porcelain throne, her granny-knickers down around her ankles. Forgive me, but my first thought was “where’s the bleach”.
She shuffled out to the lift the colour of strawberry jam, and it was excruciating to watch the humiliation and shame of being caught so vivid on her face. Wife and I laughed and the Baby stirred and then we stopped. Cos we both realised at that moment how rare a commodity babysitters are in this modern day Sodom.
We’ll probably have to call her again. Maybe we’ll lock the doors next time…