Monday, August 16, 2010

Losing It

Yesterday, I was pretty tired after getting home so late from Beit Shemesh.  As I wrote in the previous post, we spent Shabbat in Ramat Beit Shemesh for a family Bar Mitzvah.  Considering how long it took me to visit the first time, you're probably surprised to hear that I went back yesterday afternoon.  That's when the party was.

Usually, I'm very organized and have everything I need to wear ready hours before.  First I do a mental check, going over my wardrobe to find exactly what would suit the occasion, so when it comes to pulling out the clothes, I don't find everything flung all over.  So, that's what I did this time.  I knew exactly what I would wear and knew that it would be perfect.

You know what they say about best-made plans....

I trust that G-d had a good laugh.  Obviously He didn't want me in that outfit, though I don't know why.  It was "the dress" I had bought in my new favorite store, the one that needs a "shell" underneath.  Well, the shell went... I couldn't find it.  I pulled apart my closets, looked every place it could have or should have been.  Finally, I admitted defeat and decided on another dress.  That one also needs something underneath and that something teased me for a bit until it appeared.

By the time I found my clothes I was so sweaty I could barely get everything on straight.  I ran out of the house with my earrings still in my hands.  Yes, I was in a panic; it was much later than I had planned on leaving.  I knew that in theory I could still make it on time, early, but I had wanted to leave relaxed, not hysterical.

When I got down to the bus stop I realized that I had forgotten something very important, my reading glasses.  That meant that I wouldn't be able to say my daily T'hillim (psalms) nor the Mincha (afternoon) prayers.  But there was no way I could run all the way back home and then back down.

Within a few minutes I got a ride which left me at Ofra.  There I caught a bus, which was what I had wanted, because our bus line and the Ramat Beit Shemesh ones have a joint bus stop.  But, yes, things stayed interesting.  The bus broke down just before the Chizme check-point.  As the driver struggled to restart it, I noticed another bus approaching and told him.  So he went out to signal the other driver to stop and ask if he could let us all in, which he did.

As I had hoped, I didn't wait all that long for the next bus, the one to Beit Shemesh.  A few stops later, the Bar Mitzvah boy's soldier cousin got on, so I could relax instead of being afraid I'd miss the stop. 

A very pleasant surprise re: the Beit Shemesh bus is that there are no seating restrictions.  That means that it's not one of those "separate seating-women in the rear" buses.  Couples and families traveling together sit together, though it was rare for strangers of both sexes to sit together.

The party was great.  I enjoyed seeing everyone again, just a day after saying goodbye.  My married daughter and family were there, too, and took me almost home, as far as Ofra.  As soon as I got to the place to wait for a ride, a neighbor came who took me to my door.

No doubt, someday the shell will reappear, but when....


rutimizrachi said...

I think you only wrote this so I wouldn't feel so "oofgerecht" when I can't find what I'm looking for and run out of the house in a blind panic...

Batya said...

I guess it happens to us all, not life and death, right?

Hadassa said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: separate seating buses should be a CHOICE - but I'm personally in favor of separate seating.
Judge Elayim Rubenstein had a great ruling for separate seating buses: on half of the buses the men sit in back and on half the women sit in back. He then added an important comment. Paraphrase: Those who are very careful about certain commandments sometimes forget about the commandment to respect others.

Batya said...

Hadassa, would you consider the issues of seating separately and legislating special separate seating buses as two different things?
I agree about respect.

Hadassa said...

First I'd like to say that the separate seating on buses issue has turned into something other that what was first announced. The initial plan was to have separate seating buses on lines whose volume was large enough to warrant both mixed and separate seating buses. No-one was supposed to have to wait an inconvenient length of time in order to ride the bus of his or her choosing. That unfortunately does not seem to be the current situation.
Instituting legislation is a definitely a change from voluntarily following a stringency. We should remember that Egged buses, unless privately hired, are public buses, for the use of the general public. I've read that in some cases people wanted to have separate seating bus lines at their own expense but could not due to competition regulations. IMHO that's similar to not allowing people to produce food with stricter kashrut certification than the minimum required.
Within the past year BeSheva (Hebrew) printed several rabbinic opinions, including that of Rabbi Ariel of Ramat Gan, concerning seating on buses. The rabbis agreed that separate seating on buses is a stringency that should not be forced on all passengers.
I have not ridden buses on a regular basis in a long time, but I do remember passengers in Jerusalem voluntarily rearranging themselves for purposes of modesty. I have also never seen a parent with a stroller or small children not receive assistance - and not just from the religious - getting on or off a bus anywhere in Israel.
A few well-phrased requests from those who wanted separate seating probably would have solved the problem without any ill feelings. It's a shame that's not what happened.
The judge's name is Elyakim, not Elyaim.

Batya said...

Hadassa, I've had some bad experiences with young chareidi men who haven't gotten up. But I've had some great experiences with other bus passengers getting up very graceiously.