I had a delightful experience today.
My car decided to misbehave and went on strike on my way to run a few errands. My ever-helpful son-in-law Shlomi, who works for his father's auto parts store, arrived with a technician who managed to get it to a neighboring garage. The immobilizer had gone berserk, apparently, and was shutting down the motor every time I put it in gear.
Nothing daunted, I decided to take the bus into the town center, where I needed to go. I was raised, after all, to be a big fan of public transport and to regard the selfish car owner as lacking in civic duty. Initially this seemed like a good idea, as parking is always a problem, and I wasn't going to be shlepping any large or heavy packages anywhere. I haven't been on any form of public transportation since we bought our second-hand Hyundai Getz from Avis three years ago. When downtown Jerusalem was dug up, rather in the manner of the trenches of Ypres or Verdun, for the light railway, what had been a 20 minute bus trip from my house to my place of work, across from the open air Machaneh Yehuda market, on bus line 18 became a 2 hour nightmare. Buses were diverted to a narrow street that runs parallel to Jaffa Road, one of Jerusalem's major thoroughfares, and with 800 buses a day scraping by each other on Agrippas Street, which ought really to be one way, it literally WAS faster to walk. [Recently it became known that the bus company, hand in glove with the light railway management, was bribed to continue the detour after the completion of the railway so the public would take the trains more often]
I only had to wait a few minutes for the bus heading into town. It rapidly filled up to the point where sardines would have complained but I am now completely unashamed to take a place reserved for the handicapped and will show my hip replacement card to anyone who challenges me [I suppose it's some kind of a compliment that I don't look old enough to get a senior citizen seat -- I'll be 66 tomorrow]. It was interesting to watch the scenery rather than the road. Anyone who has ever driven in Israel will understand that it is dangerous to even blink when behind the wheel unless one wants to collide with a cellphone user in the wrong lane or a pedestrian who thinks crosswalks are for sissies. I also stared out the window to avoid catching the eye of some octogenarian who'd give me an "accidental" whack with his cane to encourage me to give him or her my seat.
It only took about 45 minutes to get to my destination. Can't complain; the bus had functioning airconditioning and whenever someone asked him to turn it off, the driver mimed that he was deaf.
Did the various things I had to do, and went back to the bus stop for the return journey. It was 3:15 p.m. After over 10 buses of other lines went by, my bus arrived at 4 p.m. [This is one of the most heavily traveled routes in the city, btw, not some line going to distant suburbs]. It was dirty, no functioning airconditioning, packed to the gills already -- in fact, the bus was so decrepit that its fare machine didn't work either, so we all traveled for free. I got to the garage in the southern neighborhood of Talpiot at five minutes to five, having traveled less than 5 km. You can go from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv in half the time.
Thank heaven tomorrow I'll have the use of my car again [immobilizer disabled]. And should anyone from the Egged Bus Cooperative be reading this [extremely unlikely], I want to thank you all for reminding me why I have chosen to clog up the roads and pollute the air with my little Getz, your service is so abominable. Please God, it will be at least another three years before I ride on one of your buses again.
|Your Brain is Green|