Monday, April 06, 2009

Lost again

Today, I had a plan to meet a friend of a friend for lunch in “downtown” Jerusalem. Shall I count the ways in which the plan went wrong? To start at the end, I didn’t meet her.

Last night, I spent the night at my brother’s house and Dad and Susan went to a hotel. I was comfortable enough and even had my own room. I slept until around 8am. In the morning, I had a light breakfast and my sister-in-law offered to cut my hair (awesome!). I ate and read and knit until around 9:30 when I got my haircut—it came out very well. My sister-in-law is talented indeed.

Around 11am, she suggested that I accompany my youngest niece on a visit to my oldest niece and her baby. Her exact words, “What are you doing with you life…for the rest of the day?” Heh. We didn’t get to the eldest niece’s house until 11:20 so I called the friend of a friend and rescheduled our noon lunch to 12:30.

At noon, younger niece took me to the bus stop and a man tried to chat me up after overhearing us speaking English. He said, “You speak English?” Yes. “You are Jewish?” Yes. (But why are you asking?) Then he wanted to know my name but I declined to answer. He stopped talking to us for a while but started up again. “You have a boyfriend?” Yes. (No, not really, not anymore, but yes is usually the right answer in this situation.) He asked my name a few more times and I still didn’t answer. Then he said, “You lied. It’s not nice to lie.”

“Pardon me?”

“I asked you the name of your boyfriend and you didn’t say. You don’t have a boyfriend.”

“I didn’t hear that. I do have a boyfriend. His name is Kent.”

“No. I don’t believe you.”

I said, “It’s true. But if I’m such a big liar why do you want to talk to me anyway?”

He got up and left our bench for good after that. My niece laughed. She said, “What does he want?”

I said, “I know what he wants. He’s not nice.”

She said, “There’s something wrong with him maybe?”

I said, “Maybe.” It’s possible. He was oddly confrontational for a pick up artist.

The bus came soon after. He got on too.

A word about the bus—it is segregated. Not officially but informally. The men sit in the front and the women in the back. It’s been many years since I took a city bus in Jerusalem and I don’t remember the segregation but maybe it was like that then too.

The crazy, rude guy, against convention, went right to the back of the bus along with another secular guy. The mostly religious passengers ignored him and he didn’t talk to anyone. I sat next to a young woman most as an act of self-protection, but he didn’t talk to me again.

Since I didn’t know where to get off to transfer to another bus, I stayed on way too long. I had to backtrack quite a bit but I did eventually find the place where I was supposed to meet my friend (of a friend). I was almost an hour late and the place was closed.

It would have been a fun adventure since I do enjoy getting lost. Unfortunately, I had the pressure of feeling like I was letting someone down, which reduced my enjoyment.

I found a place to eat and grabbed a bite. It wasn’t far from the little café I’ve gone to several times so far on this trip and that’s where I am now. I had an email from the friend (of a friend) and she was quite gracious about our missed connection. I wrote back and explained it was all my fault.

It’s funny, I’m such an intrepid traveler most of the time. I get maps, I find hard to find places, I roam and wander and explore. But not in Israel. Here, I’m taken in hand by Spesh or the family and driven hither and yon (though I’ve done the driving at times) and I haven’t tried very hard to learn the place. Lazy, I’m very lazy. Well, at least I had a little adventure today and that was good.

Now, I’ll try and find the slightly distant place where my father and brother are meeting so I can catch a ride home with them. Odds are I’ll find it…but I may get lost or be very late. It’s ok, it’ll work out one way or another.

Grateful for: adventure.

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