In the taxi this morning – Sky smudged, the color of old hummus, eyes gritty, I took a shower two hours ago, and already I feel dirty.

I’m late to work. And I haven’t had coffee. And the dust — this cloaking, choking dust.

But then taxi driver starts laughing.

“What?” I ask my one earbud still in my ears while I listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers.

“That guy — Menachem,” he points to the driver of the taxi next to us. “He makes me laugh.”
He rolls down the window.

“Shalom! Ma kore? — How are you?” he shouts in Hebrew — his “k” hard and his “o” guttural.
Menachem in the other taxi rolls waves “kif halak?” He replies in Arabic, as he adjusts his black yarmulke.

We drive off.

“Do all the taxi drivers know each other?” I ask.

“Of course! We are family! We all look out for each other- especially when there’s war or when things are hard. When Menachem’s wife died, I came for shiva, and we break the fast together at least once every Rammadan.”

“Wow that’s great.”

“La. It’s just reality. We have to be gentle with each other. At the end of the day, everyone just wants to get home.”