A couple of weeks ago I was walking back to the office from yet another of the lately frequent medical examinations I've been going through, when somewhere in Carlton I stepped past a Greek souvlaki place.
The revolving piece of chicken caught my eye and looked at me, but I was brave enough to continue walking. Several steps afterwards my brain started making excuses, and suddenly I figured out that if I get a souvlaki now while walking back to work I'll actually save time and wouldn't have to stay late at the office.
So I stepped back to have my first ever genuine souvlaki.
Ok, it wasn't the real thing, because the real thing is with lamb and I can't stand lamb; I went with chicken because that's my old favorite from my shawarma days back in Israel. When asked, I even said to have all the regular additions added - including the dreaded yogurt - because I just wanted to once and for all taste the real thing.
So they filled up a wrap for me. A "wrap" is what is known in Tel Aviv as a Laffa and in Jerusalem as a Jerusalem Pita. The problem with Aussie wraps is that they're thin and stiff, lacking the meatiness you get in Israeli equivalents.
I started walking back to the office while eating, as I did so many times before in Israel since the age of 5 with either falafel in a pita or shawarma in a pita.
I couldn't help but notice that the wrap is stiffer than expected, and indeed - after consuming about half of it - I discovered that the wrap was covered by this clear wrapping paper, and the stiffness I associated with the pita was in fact the paper. Which made me wonder how a human stomach handles wrapping paper.
While wondering about the mystries of paper and the vast superiority of tahini paste over yogurt as a meat lubricant, I suddenly noticed that the wrap was pouring meat juice all over the place. There was a trail behind me, like Henzel & Grettle's trail of candies; and there was loads of it on my shoes; and there was even more on my pants. Lovely!
And suddenly I had total recall. I remembered all of a sudden how there is always that price you end up paying when you get shawarma in a pita to go: I remembered the dreadful cracked pita. I remembered how pretty much every time I ordered something in a pita, eventually cracks appeared.
And suddenly I realized that my life is nothing but ongoing episodes in between events of cracked pitas: you live your life calmly and peacefully, tasting the best of it, when suddenly you realize your pita is cracked and you're covered with sauce. But you don't give up, and when opportunity presents itself again you have another go at that pita filled with shawarma. Yes, I had a big pause with pitas when I moved to Australia, but the metaphor still lingers.
Final verdict: The chicken could have used some spices, and by now I've been spoilt with high quality chicken meat that the cheaper stuff they put in my wrap was not as attractive as before. Some hot sauce was missing, a bit of humus, and lots of thina. But it was good to remember days gone by.
P.S. I'm pissed off: It is clear that the Creative offers the winning formula for me at the moment as far as MP3 players that suit me go, but they just raised its price from $440 to $455. Nothing substantial, but I find it annoying: yes, there is this thing called inflation, but the Aussie dollar is very strong at the moment. There is no justification for the hike other than greed.