Menachem's Writings

Sef the Chocolate Monster Rides again!

I almost forgot about Sef today. I should have known that I have to watch out for him Fridays or it will cost me dearly (in chocolate and my ears and brain too!).

I guess I forgot about him because I didn't work out in the gym this Friday. Steve and I went out riding (bikes not horses) around the orchards and vineyards in our area, Gush Etzion, south of Yerushalayim and north of Hevron. The area is beautiful now, the end of the spring and the start of the summer. The cherry and other stone fruit trees are heavy with fruit, and the vines are starting to bring forth (just little green specks now). The local Arabs have been collecting vine leaves which they like to stuff. Only the pomegranate trees are still in blossom.

I didn't always ride. The day my mother arrived in Sydney Australia, fifty eight years ago, after a two year stay in Paris, and year in Aushwitz and working as a slave laborer, she witnessed a kid on a bicycle being run over by a double decker bus. Although she wasn't even married yet, though she had serious intentions about it at the time, she made a firm decision that none of her kids would ride bicycles. And she kept this promise. I "learned" to ride a bike when I was nineteen in Melbourne on a short stint in Yeshiva down there. Melbourne is as flat as the proverbial pancake, so biking is a great form of transport for kids down there.

Of course I didn't tell my mother about the fun I had. Only thirty-five years later did I again ride. My friend, Steve, convinced it would be a great alternative to the gym a couple of days a week (variety after all "is the spice of life") and fun too. With trepidation I agreed. I took one of my kid's bikes (not used any more because once they learned to drive motor vehicles -- my car that is -- they lost all interest in their bikes) and actually didn't fall off too many times. We souped up the bike (15 to 18 gears, click changers, new tyres, flaired seat, pedals). After a few months I actually bought something new. I now have a Mount Fiji black mountain (what do you expect -- I ride on real mountains) with a big fat back wheel.

And of course I told my mother ;-)

Anyway, after today's ride, we came back to the gym for coffee and chocolate and ginger too. We decided to partake on the large rocks out the back of the workout room. Coffee and the rest were good -- weather was great -- the day hadn't yet heated up. Steve had just left and I was relaxing, about to pack up, when my stupor was broken by a voice from above -- Sef was hovering above and he chanted the magic word -- chocolate. I broke out in a cold sweat, but luckily he was on the ledge above, 87 seconds away, but within earshot. I already had the chocolate packed away, so if needed I could make a run for it. I'm sure I'm lighter on mt feet than he, so I calmed down at the same time my adrenaline was running high.

But he knew the jig was up! He'd missed out. He even said so ;-) Saved!

Later on I bumped into him in the street. The chocolate was by now safely locked away. Sef was still hovering around though, still slightly salivating though. He was now standing next to his car, parked on the sidewalk/footpath -- outside the school, really Sef, have some consideration for the little children's safety. And the guy lives 128 seconds away, by foot, a very short stroll. He said he thought he'd give the gym a miss today as there was by now only half an hour to go. I said half an hour is plenty to work up an aerobic sweat. Do you know what he replied? (the damned audacity!): "It would be OK if I was a member, but I have to pay each time I go -- and anyway, I've already missed out on your chocolate!". And then the dumbest thing of all -- he saw my Mount Fuji bicycle in the back of my van and asked me how I manage with two vehicles!!?!