When I was 18 I spent a year in Israel before college (see Anna and the Kibbutznik). Part of that year I spent on Kibbutz , the other part I spent in Efrat as an Au Pair. The woman I worked for was, in my opinion as her personal slave, evil.  Lucky for me I spent enough weekends with friends that I could escape the Gulag regularly.

Back then it was a long ride between Jerusalem and Efrat via Bethlehem. It helped to have a good book or really great eye candy.  I remember being on the bus and just seeing the most phenomenal man I’d ever seen, and he was in uniform. He was all the Greek and Roman gods combined. Heavenly light beamed from him, and there must have been corny music in the background.

And so began the epic tale of Anna and the Trinket Man.

The next week I was hitch-hiking into Jerusalem (yes back then you could more or less safely hitch-hike), and this huge army water truck pulled up. The door swings open and the dude from the bus (see Anna get giddy) says “need a ride”.

Better I should have waited for the next ride. If I’d only known. What’s the thing about a book and its cover. But yes, being the smitten child that I was, I got into that truck in a heart beat.  I wound up touring the entire Gush that day and had a date for the next night.

Now the thing about meeting somebody in uniform and not in street clothes is you never know what you’re going to get. At 10pm the next evening the Trinket Man shows up an hour late. He should have stayed late. I open the door and was introduced to my first Israeli Arse (not in UK usage, watch the video to understand).

He was still beautiful but wearing a  silk shirt unbuttoned 1/2 way down his chest and had a necklace of the Baba Sali.  He was the equivalent to what my mother would refer to as a Trinket Man minus the Z-28.

Today’s Anna would have laughed her ass off inside and quickly come up with an excuse to bail.  Yesterday’s Anna was still hearing the music from the bus.  So we went out, kind of, we wound up making out in his car until some soldiers knocked on the window. Wow, embarrassing moment number one.  I got out of the car, composed myself and went to meet friends. As I turned the corner, the soldiers were telling a truck full of soldiers what they just saw. Then one of them pointed at me. Embarrassing moment number two.

I saw the TM a couple of times and called it a day.  I took myself back to college where a dated a couple of ex-Nazis from South America. OK not really but they were from South America and they were named Franz and Adolfo. My mother wanted to kill me.

About 4 months after I made Aliya, I was walking to work via Emek Rafayim and a Neviot water truck drove by. The truck slams on its brakes and I hear some schmuk screaming “ANNNAAAA” and honking his horn, literally stopping traffic.  He gets out of the truck (which he left in the middle of the road) to get my number.  Now being stupid at 21, I actually gave it to him.

I came back from work, and there he was, sitting outside of Ulpan Etzion just waiting for me. He had tracked me down.  We made a date for the next night.

When he came to pick me up, I should have run. His car had huge dice in the window, the bottom of the car lit up when he pressed the brakes, and the back window had a blinking “I Love You”.  You can’t get much lower.  And yet I we went out about five more times, until I saw him with another girl on my way to work. That I figured was the end.

Skip ahead a year, I was coming out of the Jerusalem YMCA and a giant green cement truck drives by, honks and stops. Oh G-d was all I could think. Trinket man gets outs and wants to talk me up. I’m like dude you’re married take a hike.  He’s like “there i s always room for one more in my life”.  Almost as bad as any Barry Manilow song.

So the pattern has continued over the years, once  he stopped traffic on French Hill, I was with my ex-husband. Once I saw him on the Ayalon with my mother. He honked at us, slowed down, rolled down his window and was yelling across traffic. My personal Trinket Man.

I figured moving to Ramat Gan, I’d never see my Trinket Man again. Folks this morning, walking into my office building there was a produce truck standing outside of Levi’s.  The only kind of “one in a million chance” I ever seem to get is running into him.

This morning  I finally saw him before he saw me. I made like a rabbit and went underground.

Writing this entry I realize how much entertainment the Trinket Man has provided over the years. If nothing else, I will never date another man who has I love you light up on the back-end of their car.  Talk about learning from our mistakes.