The spin cycle: No rants today. No politics. No dire warnings of impending doom. I’m taking a break from The Dark Side to focus on the positive. I hereby plan to be chirpy, cheerful, and appreciative of my fellow human, at least until the next *&$^# cuts me off. S’long, y’all: Time to bid a very fond farewell to Molly Ivins, the feisty, funny, and usually dead-on-the-money columnist, who died of breast cancer last Wednesday. Ivins was the first to dub George W. “the Shrub” and referred to Dallas (her adopted home) as “the kind of town that would root for Goliath to beat David.” She kept writing to the end. Molly, thanks for making me spit coffee on my keyboard more than once. You can catch a recent column here.
The Big Sleep: No, not Bogie, but my train ride to Tel Aviv yesterday. It is cold and rainy outside, and the heat is cranked up inside. I find myself reading the same paragraph a dozen times, and wake with a start a few minutes before my station. I was alone when I dozed off, but I awake to find the seats around me occupied (also with passengers gently snoring). Say what you like about the trains, but you can’t beat ’em for a good shluff. Of course, I’m sure that there are some people who like to catch 40 winks while behind the wheel. Someone once said, “I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers.”
Drivers’ Ed 101: Waiting for my ride at the Tel Aviv Shalom train station gives me a chance to get caught up with the latest in driving lunacy. A taxi picks up a passenger, and then ties up traffic by edging across four lanes. Slowly. No one leaps out of a car to bludgeon this knucklehead, probably because it is cold and raining.
A young soldier waits for her ride. It turns out to be the boyfriend driving a beater car (no surprise), wearing a suit (big surprise), and blasting Y’allah Ya Nasralla at us when the car door opens (very funny surprise). He looks like an IT geek. Maybe his girlfriend is in artillery and he is giving her emotional support. (Y’allah Ya Nasralla was a pop hit during the war—a very silly song warning Nasralla that the IDF is coming to get him.)I get a ride back from the meeting with another northern colleague. His driving technique involves playing chicken with other motorists and flashing his high beams at anyone who doesn’t scurry out of his way. I hope that Gill will be able to do something nice with the life insurance money… We watch people signal right and turn left, float lanes while turning, stop on the highway, walk down the middle of an unlit street (and people wonder why so many pedestrians are killed), and do the other usual stunts that make driving in Israel so
entertaining scary challenging.
I need a new straight man: My professional society’s local chapter president will be ending her term in a month. She’s been a great, hard-working leader, but I will mostly miss her uncanny (and unintentional) tendancy to lob me straight lines. “We have to be healers,” she intones, “even if the other people…”
“…are heels?” I butt in.
“Who can we ask to be president?” she wonders.
“I hear Katsav might be available,” I pipe up.
I can’t help myself.
Somebody stop me: Nadine keeps expanding.