Wednesday, July 08, 2009


My oldest daughter and I are bonding through Egged bus lines. Every morning we meet on the bus on our way to work, taking the same bus. We catch up on the day before talk about our summer plans, complain about family, and talk about the passengers on the bus. They haven't yet caught on. Our conversations are low and in English, interspersed with an occasional burst of laughter at some of them - like the good looking Arab man who gets on at the last stop and wore the same pink shirt for three days in a row. She cackles...

"Maybe his wife left him and he doesn't know how to do the laundry?"

No one is safe on that bus with us. We look at older Ethiopian women who wear plaid tops with checkered skirts and totally mismatched head coverings, and note how Arab women know how to match their clothing right up to their head coverings - sometimes even better than we do.

There's the fat Russian man with his adorable young blond daughter and the deaf and mute man who has a crush on me. This man and I get off at the same stop and he sounds out something I don't understand and then kisses my hand. This happens nearly every day. I understand when he tells me it's hot outside or when he asked me if I'm married, by motioning with his hands a ring on the finger. I showed him my ring, but that still didn't stop his hand-kissing me. Then we part ways at the traffic light. My daughter sometimes says rude things about him to me, right in front of him, in English and I hope he can't lip read in English. I don't think he can. This morning he snatched my shopping cart from me before our stop, ran down the bus steps with it, and I just shrugged my shoulders at my daughter and said 'I guess I HAVE to get off here, don't I!" We blew kisses to each other and laughed.

She puts on her makeup as soon as we get on the bus and I put mine on when the bus is on the highway so I don't mascara my nose when the bus swerves and turns along its local Maaleh Adumim route.

She lets me know when there are changes in my babysitting schedule and I look at my schedule and tell her if I can or cannot babysit that evening. I told her how I really enjoyed babysitting this past Monday because her kid wasn't cranky at all. In fact, he imitated me when I called him a "nudnik". He pushed the plastic chair around the livingroom repeating "nud nik, nud nik", which is what he is, of course, albeit a very cute one.

We planned an evening at Cinema City in Herzliya with our hubbies - for an evening at the movies in the VIP section of the theater - "where you sit on lazy-boys, put your feet up and watch the movie, and go and get pop and popcorn for free. They serve you bourekas, pastries, and you can eat all the Ben and Jerry ice cream you want. All the Ben and Jerry's you want!!!" my daughter repeated this as if this will send her (together with me, of course) into a state of ecstasy.

Now that our travel route has bonded us, she invites me on Tuesday evenings to her home where her chef husband cooks up a splendid meal. Yesterday there was tri-colored pasta salad and Greek salad with real feta cheese. I find that this tradeoff of me babysitting on Monday nights and dinners at their house on Tuesdays is a nice exchange.

We have two bus drivers that take us to our destinations - one we call the "Turtle" because he drives like one, and the other is an Ethopian whom she calls "Samuel Jackson" because she thinks he resembles a younger version of Samuel. When she calls me in the morning to see what driver we have, the drivers must think I'm a CIA agent or something. I talk in code. "Good morning sweetie, it's the Turtle today." That's a sign that she either has to rush to her bus stop or walk at a slower pace. Samuel's her favorite driver. Once, when I wasn't on the bus, he asked her "Where's your 'friend' that always calls you each morning when she gets on the bus, and you sit together?" "Friend? That's my mother!" "Really? I would never have guessed, she looks so young." And now he's my favorite bus driver too.


plach said...

I just want you to know how much I enjoy your posts. I'm just a middle class middle aged American woman living in the Mid-West. I can't even remember how I found you, but you are in my "Google Reader" and whenever I see a new post I am happy to read about your life on the other side of the world. I guess because our lives are the same in some ways (normal worries about money, family) although I divorced years ago and never had children. Also, we both like to try new things, are open-minded, and want to make the world a better place. Anyway, thank you for sharing your life with the rest of us.

jerusalemgypsy said...

Thanks for your lovely comment. BTW, I find the name "plach" intriguing!!

Dina said...

Shalom, nice to meet you and your interesting blogs.
Thanks for your visit and comment.
I don't know what my neighbors are up to, so meanwhile it is a mystery. They are fairly new neighbors so I don't feel I should interrogate them. Keep tuned in for future developments.

Anonymous said...

jerusalemgypsy said...

Dina, We could now tell you are not Israeli. An Israeli neighbor, the moment they see the mixing of mud/dirt/what-not - would be asking that neighbor what they're up to. LOL! Israelis interrogate!!

lars said...

hi spigs!!!!!!!