Israel is a lively country.
But hell, you knew that. If you picked up any major newspaper almost anywhere in the world on any given day over the past year you probably read that fer yerself.
Naturally, then, the country's residents are for the most part "lively" people. But that, also, goes without saying.
So then it follows that yesterday's visit to the pediatrician's office would bring with it that same flow and sparkle inherent to habitation in these parts.
When we walked into our doc's 15 x 8 (foot) waiting room at 6 p.m. the house was full. A dozen glossy eyed, ruddy-cheeked kids in various stages of flu, fever and upper respiratory complication sniffled, sneezed and emitted mucus-laden barking coughs.
Their conditions, however, didn't stop the little ones from maintaining energy flow. As my son and I settled together into the sole remaining waiting room chair, a stuffed lamb whizzed past at eye level.
The culprit, a 6-year-old sporting a fake neck tattoo and Doc Martens, shouted: "Goal!" when the lamb landed on the receptionist's desk.
The receptionist - a Rosie O'Donnell look-alike sans humor - didn't miss a beat as, cellphone glued to ear, she retrieved the lamb and held it out to the young convict-in-training with a stern "no" nod of the head.
Meanwhile, two pre-teen siblings playing cards on the parquet floor got into a tussle and began rolling around in the dust and broken biscuit pieces at our feet. "Stop" their tired, bored mother unenthusiastically muttered.
The floor action directed our attention to a miniature black and white mutt sitting underneath a waiting room chair opposite ours. "Ooh, cute!" my son announced. "Yeah, but what's it doing here?" I grumbled.
The doctor's inner office door suddenly burst open and a pixie-haired mom cradling a naked-from-the-waist down toddler came rushing out towards the WC. "It's still our turn! It's still our turn! It's still our turn!" she chanted loudly to the waiting room parents to ward off any clandestine plans for locking her & junior in the loo and rushing into the examination room in her stead.
Meanwhile, a ringlet haired, dull-eyed 2-year-old idly digging for gold in her nose wiped her finds on the receptionist stand outer wall.
As I was observing this and simultaneously noticing intermittent, stinky gas emissions coming from a kid two chairs over, derelict tattoo-neck boy suddenly came rushing out of nowhere toward the frightened black and white dog hiding under the chair. Uttering guttural, tribal-type chanting, he managed to drive the frightened creature in our direction.
My son and I reached maximum "this is surreal" capacity at the same instant and burst into gales of belly laughter in unison.
This-is-not-happening-at-the-doctor's-office. OUR doctor is Berkeley educated, has practiced all over the world, sits in a ritzy office (when you can see the floor) and counts among her clients the offspring of some of Israel's A-listers.
Alas, however, it was happening there.
And THAT is why things are lively in this country.
And a bit frightening too.