David Wolf

Only in Israel: Don’t take the bus in vain

It’s a fifteen minute walk to the pool and I often walk there, but today is a hot day. So I wait for the bus at the Kiriat Sharet neighborhood, in Raanana. The buses in this neighborhood take a circular route. They enter the neighborhood and leave it at the same point, sometimes heading towards town and sometimes heading towards their last stop at Lev Hapark. You need to read the signs on the bus carefully or you’ll end up going the wrong way.

My bus arrives. I look at the signs and see that it is going my way. I waive to the driver for him to stop. But he doesn’t want to stop “in vain”. Without slowing down, he points to the right, he is going “that” way. I keep on waving to him. I try to explain with urgency, with signs, that yes, this is where I want to go and that he should stop. Still going at the same speed, he insists with signs that he is going to the right! I keep on trying, frustrated. How can I give a convincing argument, with “signs”, in the fraction of a second before he passes me by?… Suddenly he slows down and stops. Maybe he understood me; maybe he just decided that if I am so insistent he can no longer ignore me…

As soon as I enter the bus I thank him for stopping and explain, now with words, that this really is the bus I want, that I want to go to Lev Hapark and not into town. And I am sure that as soon as I pay for the ride our conversation will end.

But it doesn’t…

“Lev Hapark?”, he says. “You can walk from around there! It’s a two minute walk!”

Now I feel obligated to explain, to justify myself – “yes, but I want to go to the pool, it’s a longer walk…”

But I failed to convince him… “You know there is a shortcut this way? It’s really near!”

Feeling guilty that I made him stop for me, I explain further: “Yes, but it’s a hot day. I don’t want to walk in this heat…”

Anxious, I try to think of more “excuses”. My wife has the car… I need to pick up the kids… I’m not feeling well, I’m going to the doctor…

But luckily he had finished his questioning. I disappointed him and he lost interest in me.

Ashamed, embarrassed, I go and sit at the back of the bus…


About the Author
David Wolf writes about his experience of being a second-time husband and father. He has a daughter from his first marriage, and, with his second wife, has accrued three daughters, two sons-in-law, one grandchild and twin 8-year-old sons. He is a social worker in a mental health department and in private practice in Raanana.