Sorry to burden you, gentle reader, with three difficult posts in a row.
But I have to get it off my chest, memories of my short jump back to Jerusalem Nov. 5-7.
Next post will be a happier one, inshallah.
Jerusalemites are on edge now, at the beginning of what some want to call the Car Intifada.
Do see the link!
Plus, I was trying to get home to the quiet Negev on a Friday afternoon--and you must keep in mind that public transportation stops for the Sabbath, from mid- or late Friday afternoon until Saturday night.
When my bus from the Jerusalem Hills reached Mt. Herzl light rail terminus, I saw we were in trouble.
Hundreds of passengers were waiting for the tram that normally comes every five minutes.
The sign was saying "Vehicle stopped, there will be a delay."
Of course everyone starts imagining the worst: maybe there was another car-ramming terrorist attack that stopped the tram on the east side of the city?
Finally, after half an hour, a security guard told us the tram had been stopped at Denmark Square station because of a "suspicious object," i.e. a bomb scare.
That was a relief; we are used to that.
But everyone was nervously looking at their watch, praying they would get home in time (especially the observant Jews, who do not use mechanized transportation on Shabbat).
When the tram finally came, everyone crammed inside like sardines.
At the next station, another crowd was waiting and our driver had to shut the doors before everyone could get on.
One soldier in a hurry was infuriated that the driver did not let him on, and apparently he "punished" the driver and all of us passengers by standing on the track in front of the train.
The driver got on the P.A. system and said to the insulted young man: "What you are doing is not very nice, move aside or I'll have to call the police."
Meanwhile the driver turned off the power! It is that moment I dread when it suddenly goes all quiet and the ventilation stops, the moment when my claustrophobia kicks in, when the collective memory of Jews squished together in cattle cars arises.
I closed my eyes and tried to imagine green pastures.
When the way cleared, we finally made it to the Jerusalem Central Bus Station where I was now late for my bus to Beer Sheva.
I finally got to Beer Sheva but of course was late for the connection to Meitar that I had planned and had to sit in the BS Central Bus Station for an hour.
But you know what? When I finally shlepped my heavy backpack into the last bus to Meitar and slumped into the plush seat, the mood inside the bus was totally different from the tense Jerusalem mood.
The bus driver was singing and whistling along to the good old Israeli pioneer songs on the radio.
I even hummed along.
A crazy old man in the back of the bus started shouting complaints about something to the driver.
The driver carried on driving and answering the man with humor and patience, looking at him in the rearview mirror. And singing.
I secretly gave him a thumbs-up and he winked back to me. God bless him.
After five hours on the way I came home, so happy to be home in the desert!