The Unusual Clerk at the Interior Ministry
I had to take some kids to renew their Israeli passports this morning. That meant I had to get everyone ready and out of the house by 8 AM, and that meant I was TIRED. Also, dealing with government offices and preparing the required documents and forms always stresses me out somewhat. And that meant I was in the kind of don’t-talk-to-me, don’t-touch-me, don’t-ask-me-for-anything mood that comes knocking when I come home with a new baby, or, on a daily basis, when the clock hits 8 PM.
Which is why I spent the first part of this morning saying snappy stuff like: “Yoel, change your shirt! It’s dirty!” “Tsofia, you are five years old! Get YOURSELF a spoon” “Yaakov, you are NOT WEARING FLIP-FLOPS TODAY! NO WAY, JOSE!”
And then I got disgusted with myself, and decided I was going to be nice, and bit my tongue until we got to the Interior Ministry.
There were lots of families with adorable little kids and yummy new babies getting passports in time for summer trips. Our clerk was an older Israeli woman, nice enough, with an Israeli flag manicure I loved.
But there was something funny about her…
When the clerk opened up Tsoofy’s passport with that cute baby photo from 5 years ago, she didn’t say, “What a cutie!” like the clerks usually do with a small laugh. She just stamped the passport “invalid” with a loud “klomp klomp klomp” and passed it back to me with a blank look.
When 11-year-old Moriah picked up baby Yonatan and held him on her hip, the clerk didn’t say, “What a cutie!” like the clerks usually do as they shake their heads. She just said, “Moriah, sign here by the X” with a blank look.
As I perused the wedding souvenir magnets of this clerk in an evening gown beaming alongside her sister or possibly, friend, I reflected upon the clerk’s unusual indifference to my children.
She’s been working here for 20 years, or more! I reasoned. She sees cute kids every single day, day in, day out, Of course, she gets bored with it.
But it is too bad, I thought. So many cute kids here. Every day. And she doesn’t even notice anymore.
And then I looked back at her filling out her forms with a blue pen. Cute kids. Day in, day out. Boooored. Her. Me.
Afterwards, on the way home I bought the kids some Ice Vanillas at the 5 shekel store, and gawked with them at the 4-story-high replica of the Eiffel Tower they are building on Jaffa Rd.
And I remembered anew (for the millionth time?) how very ,very blessed I am to be the mother of these children–at the moments I feel blessed, as well as at those moments I don’t.