Salute to Israeli Bus Drivers

It was a relief to see a gray haired driver as I boarded the bus to Jerusalem this afternoon. I knew the mature driver would slow down for the speed bumps and bus stops, allow the bus to remain idle while he punched cartisias (pre-paid bus passes for a specific number of rides), sold monthly passes and made change, and carefully make his way back into traffic.

I settled back in my seat and enjoyed the ride as he rounded traffic circles with ease and joked with passengers near him while always keeping a sharp eye on the road. It was evident that this driver makes a point of getting to know the regulars on his route and enjoys his job.

Central Bus Station in Jerusalem

In contrast, I have had the distress of riding with some Indy 500 wannabes who have no respect for my fragile joints, or desire for my last meal to remain where it belongs.

In all fairness, I’m sure they have a schedule to keep but is it really necessary to accelerate 20 feet before the bus stop and slam on the brakes? Jumping speed bumps while I’m holding on for dear life on a standing room only bus is my big pet peeve!

Despite my longing for a smooth ride, I do have respect for all these drivers. They spend their days fighting traffic to safely get us where we need to go – and sometimes they even manage to accomplish that on time. They deal with passengers from all over the world and manage to communicate across the language barrier. They are often cut off by taxis or forced to slam on their brakes as a pedestrian runs in front of them (and these pedestrians are not suicidal – they’re just STUPID!) And throughout their shift they have to be on guard for potential terrorists in a manner that doesn’t offend us innocent civilians.

Michael’s take on this is that I’m angry over my inability to control which bus driver I get. In his supportive manner, he explained to me that he feels I’d be much happier if I had a 5 mph/8 kph bus driver, my own private chauffeur, or better yet if I could just live in a virtual world and never have to leave the house. I’m sure that there are women out there who might appreciate his compassion, I found it annoying. So much so that I agreed to take a driving lesson this afternoon on a stick shift car IN Jerusalem. I’ll tell you all about that next…

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