Recently, I’ve been looking to move. Lakewood, the current town that I reside in, has a large orthodox Jewish population which is much more religious than I ever plan on becoming and decided to get out before I’m old enough to wear diapers again. The particular area that I’ve been looking at is about an hour away from where I live, and the weekend I planned on going house-hunting there was a Friday night get-together that a couple of acquaintances were going to. Since I was going to be in the area on Saturday, I thought I’d stop by and see if I could meet some new people. So I put in an RSVP and went.
Everyone there was very friendly. Not all the people that I spoke with resulted in great conversations. There was one particular gentleman with a very Jewish-sounding name who was incredibly awkward to talk to. Normally, names that are given to Jewish kids are names such as Yitzhak, Yaakov, Shloimi, or Menachim. For the sake of the story, let’s call him Bob.
Bob and I had almost nothing both of us could relate to. Over the course of 4 and a half hours, we spoke for a grand total of 3 minutes, of which 2.5 of those minutes were silences. We both kept our hands in our pockets and did the awkward head-bob of agreement whilst repeating “Interesting” and “oh, I see.” After this brief period revealed that neither one of us desired to continue our lack of conversation, we exchanged pleasantries and went our separate ways.
As the party was winding down, one woman mentioned she had a friend that had an extra bed and offered me to stay the night at said friend’s place since it was late (it was close to 2am at this point in time). I already planned on staying at a Days Inn that was 10 minutes away, but I figured since I hadn’t made the reservation yet, this would save me some cash and the drive back the next day, I obliged. She then introduced me to this friend of hers. It was Bob.
I could tell that Bob wasn’t the most thrilled person in the world when he saw that I was the guest he would be hosting for the night. After I initially declined the offer, he insisted that I stay and that it wouldn’t be a hassle for him to host a guest for the night. Not wanting to be rude, I obliged.
Luckily the conversation with Bob went better on the way to his house. I was also able to meet Bob’s roommate who was still awake and was very nice. I spent an hour talking to Bob and his roommate while Bob sat next to me after taking off his shoes and started massaging his feet. I didn’t mind this so much. Anyone’s feet can hurt after a long walk. Then took of his socks.
It was disgusting. The fungus-infestation was on Every. Single. Toenail. They were so bad, the underside of his toes were greener than the grass at Yankee Stadium. They were so thick he’d have trouble getting clippers over them. They were infested for so long that some of his toes were only half-covered by the nail. While his roommate and I were discussing religious laws, he was trying to trim his homemade penicillin with his fingernails over the garbage. I was glad I decided to keep my socks on.
Eventually Bob stopped playing with his feet, but then he went digging for gold. I saw it out of the corner of my eye, and when I turned my head to steer the discussion toward him, I got a full view of his index finger so far up his nose, he would’ve been able to get a target locator out of his brain without any help from outside equipment and empty his new-found riches into the garbage bin like he was adding a pinch of salt to a broth on a stove.
Around 3am, we all decided to go to bed. The extra bed was located in none other than Bob’s room. I didn’t mind it so much, but since Bob was a more religious man than I was, he set his alarm for 6:45am the day before and, since it was Saturday, he was not allowed to touch the alarm until sundown. This meant that as soon as the alarm clock rang, it kept ringing for the whole 2 hours before it automatically shuts off. This also meant that Bob was going to be awake early and I would have to shake his hand in the morning. Luckily, since it was chilly the day before, I remembered to bring gloves.
After waking up, Bob went to the restroom to brush his teeth. I got dressed as fast as I could and immediately put my gloves on and waited to say goodbye before I left. Once he stepped out of the restroom, we said our goodbyes and he held out his hand for the dreaded handshake. After the handshake, I stepped outside and made sure to keep my right glove clear of the rest of my body. As soon as I got back to my car, I reached for the packet of hand sanitizer and nearly emptied the entire bottle into both my gloves.
The rest of the day went by without any issues, though I did have to drink 2 cups of coffee, 3 cups of tea and 2 soft drinks to make it through. Once I got back home, I was so exhausted I put my head on the pillow and next thing I knew, it was morning.
Next time, I’m staying at the Days Inn.