#5 bus, lunchtime, a bus full of acne-challenged school-kids and crotchety pensioners.
Meryl, when you finally get here, I beseech you (Beseech?! Where do I get these words from?), do not, whatever you do, I repeat (and I cannot stress this enough), do not take the #5 bus in Tel Aviv at lunchtime. You’ll be out of here like a shot. I suggest you carry out your very welcome and much appreciated ceremonious bus-ride-in-Israel-for-peace-and-solidarity-with-the-Israeli-people, should you be planning to do so, at some other time of the day and on another other bus line.
Surrounded by three strapping seventeen-year-old boys (or should I say men?) talking endlessly about which examinations they had failed for which elite army units and why, it was I, thirty-nine-year-old mother of one teenager and one pre-teen, who was singled out for a severe prodding in the back from one of the crotchety pensioners for not vacating my hard-fought-for-seat to another crotchety pensioner standing in the aisle.
Not that it was right of me to have not shot out of my seat at the first sighting, from the corner of my eye, of the said standing crotchety pensioner, although I confess I was daydreaming and truly didn’t notice her, but ever since I spent two pregnancies riding Tel Aviv buses, right up till a very fat, heavy, tired, and, yes, crotchety stage of both pregnancies, without once having anyone get up and offer me their seat, I have sadly lost my manners.
On second thoughts: I have suddenly realized that the prodder was paying me a compliment. He obviously couldn’t tell me apart from the kids. How nice. I take it all back. Meryl, ride the bus!