Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Got My Wheels

The call came in last Wednesday night. My car is ready and waiting, for some reason it's at the Ford dealership instead of Mazda. Paid my insurance, grabbed my ID card, and was out the door first thing Thursday morning.

I had discovered a shortcut to the bus stop which involves leaving the paved roads and hiking up this rocky, thorn-brushy hillside. It gets me to the bus stop about one minute faster than the normal route, and can save me twenty minutes if I end up catching the earlier bus. Almost cresting the hill to the bus stop, I heard that distinctive diesel rev. Oh no! I had a split second to make the decision. If I don't make this bus, I've got to wait another twenty minutes, sometimes forty minutes. But there's just no way that the time and distance will work out, even if I sprint. Well, what have I got to lose? I kicked into high gear and raced up to the road bounding over the brick wall dividing the sidewalk from the wilderness just as the bus pulled away. On a normal day, I would have surrendered, perhaps punched the aluminum bus shelter to shake off the frustration, and resigned myself to a twenty minute wait. But not today. I kept the sprint up, trying to beat the bus to its next stop. The doors opened and passengers loaded on as I closed the distance. Faster faster FASTER. I was able to touch the back end of the bus just as the doors hissed shut but it pulled away just a few seconds too soon. I grabbed hold of a tree to rest and catch my breath. Plenty of time for that now. And who is that idiot honking at me?

The taxi window rolls down.
"Where are you going?"
"No, I don't have money for a taxi."
"Was that your bus?"
"I don't have money for a taxi."
"Just get in."

I plunk into the back seat, still panting and sweating, and he's flying up the hill. As we turn the corner, the tail end of the bus comes into view. Closer... closer... Pretty soon the bus has stopped, and the taxi driver swerves his vehicle in front of the number six, preventing the driver from pulling away from the stop until I've had a chance to board.
"Have a nice day."

With the tenth and final tab punched on my bus ticket, I'm greeted with a round of applause form the teenagers sitting in the back who have watched the whole drama. Last time, baby!

I transferred to the 14 and finally made it to Talpiot. Hiked down Hevron Street, made a left and came to Beit Lechem (Bethlehem,) and behold! I had found the dealership!

Next I went to collect my car. Took all of ten minutes.

Of course, fuel is expensive in Israel, but hey, I just HAD to go for a joy ride.

Har Homa, "Wall Mountain,"a once "controversial" building project back in the nineties, now all built up, which helped secure Jerusalem as a Jewish city.

Where am I?


The controls.

I had an hour until I was scheduled to go on a tour, down in Kiryat Belz, so I was looping through the city, racing between the Malcha Mall, Talpiot, the yeshiva in Kiryat Moshe, and downtown, any one of which would have taken an hour or more by bus, and now took only five to ten minutes tops.

Of course, on the way downtown, traffic was murder, and the streets were crawling with police. I suddenly realized that Wednesday was the "Pride" (homosexual) parade, the Hebrew word for pride being pronounced "ga'eh." Almost half of Israel's police force had been dispatched to separate sodomite activists and religious counter-protesters, so roadblocks and detours were everywhere.

Hillel Street Blues (Kudos to Chana for guessing the correct photograph)

At King George street: "Well, as long as Queen George doesn't show up, we should be all right."

At the Maaleh Adumim Interchange: Okay boys, keep your eyes open for anything queer.

Note: I can't take credit for the next two photographs, as I didn't actually go to the parade.

Here they come!

The fact is there's no way that religious Jews can win this fight in the eyes of Israelis. Any protest at the desecration of the sanctity of Jerusalem will only be inflated by Israel's anti-religious media into being portrayed as violent intolerance and closed-minded bigotry. Of course, despite their claims of being the next generation fo Freedom Riders risking all in the name of tolerance, they certainly didn't have the courage to walk through any Muslim neighborhoods. I guess there is room for "cultural sensitivity" when facing authentic intolerance.

Meanwhile, the major rabbis from all yeshivot called on their students to refrain from violence or counter-protesting. Most religious people simply cleared out for the day, rather than expose themselves or their children to impurity.

In my opinion, the fact that sodomy advocates even need to have this parade is indicative that even they understand on some level that this type of behavior is an aberration. After all, one would never see a heterosexual pride parade. It reminds me of the heavy marijuana users I knew in college who taped huge psychedelic marijuana leaf posters outside the door to their room. It was broadcasting a message to the world: "I'm aware my behavior is harmful, and I'm going to destroy myself anyway."

As for me, I just rolled up the windows, shut out the traffic jam and read the user's manual, fidgeting with all the switches and knobs. The ride is smooth and quiet., so much so that I really don't even hear the honking and yelling outside. I've dubbed him the "Magic Carpet."

The bus ride out took an hour and a half. The car ride home took fifteen minutes. Israel just got a whole lot smaller.
The magic carpet, asleep and resting at home. Isn't it cute?


davidtre said...

Congrats on leaving egged/dan behind.
Use your wheels in Good Health.

Chana said...

Mazal tov on getting your car! Titchadshi :)

And that story with the monit driver who helped you catch the bus... made me swell with pride. I love Jews.

Yaakova said...

Yay! Mazel Tov--
The Magic Carpet is adorable!
Remember todrive carefully. And use your seat belt.

Ephraim said...

Thanks to everyone for the war mwishes on the car. Can't wait to report from new, far-flung locales in the holy land.