Sunday, September 6, 2009

Phone tag

Shavua tov!

If – like me - you’re an Anglo parent of Israeli teenager(s), you’ll surely recognize the following phone conversation. I mean, here in TRLEOOB*, it inevitably occurs whenever any of the older Shiputzim kids are away from home.

Me: {answers the phone} Hello.

Caller: Shalom. Is ACST (a certain Shiputzim teenager) there? [Note that the caller hasn’t actually asked to speak to ACST. They just want to know if ACST is there (“nimtza” or “nimtzeit”). Apparently they work for the Mossad or something and are charged with keeping track of ACST’s whereabouts...]

Me: Who is this, please?

Caller: A friend of his/hers. [You know, in case I thought that it was ACST’s sworn enemy calling.]

Me: {tries the direct approach} And what’s your name?

Caller: {only gives their first name, which is always so common that ACST has at least three other kids with the same first name in his/her class.}

Me: {feels like I’m pulling teeth} And what’s your last name?

Caller: {mumbles something unintelligible}

Me: {concedes defeat} Well, ACST isn’t here right now. Can I take a message?

Caller: {apparently startled by such an odd question} What? Uh, no, no thanks. Shalom. {hangs up}



You gotta love ‘em…



*TRLEOOB=the real life equivalent of our blog


  1. I have found that the callers are even more reluctant to part with their names than that. Many times when I ask them for a name they give all sorts of roundabout answers and will only reluctantly say their name after pulling a few teeth.
    Maybe they don't want to take their own names in vain.

  2. YZG - Maybe they don't want to take their own names in vain. -

    And you're right. They usually are very reluctant to give even their first names. Maybe they really DO work for the Mossad...

  3. On the flip side of this, I've discovered that those folks calling to collect for various charities are very forthcoming about giving their names. As in, my kids will say, "Eema, Orli is on the phone." I'll pick up, wondering which Orli it could be, and I'm greeted with, "hi Toby, this is Orli from such and such an organization..."

  4. Toby - LOL! :-)
    That happens all the time! The ultimate example was when my BFF "Michal" called soon after I had given birth.

    I think I'll write a post about that...

  5. Very funny and so realistic too!

  6. Ilana-Davita - Thanks. I suppose that many aspects of teenagers' behavior are universal...

  7. We've tried educating our kids to say, "Hello, this is [name], may I please speak with [name]?"

    Sometimes they even do it. There's one family in our yishuv where I know their teenagers call up that way. (What do you expect, one of the parents are British :-)

  8. Jameel - So far, we've managed to get most of our kids to say "Shalom. Efshar ledaber im [name]?" We're still working on the b'vakashah part...


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