Sunday, November 05, 2006

How could it have happened?

I've always prided myself on my promptness. It's a life-long characteristic, ever since I was old enough to have my own alarm clock and watch. One of my rarer talents is calculating time needed, so I'm never late. OK, almost never.

Being on time for social events is fine, but there is a flexibility and here in Israel, there's also a formula to calculate what is the "proper" time to arrive.

Teaching is something else. As a teacher I must be early. First I like to get to the school at least a half an hour before the lessons begin. That gives me time to unwind from the trip, photocopy, prepare, speak to the office staff, other teachers and more. Sometimes I even have a cup of tea or water, depending on the weather. For me, arriving late, or even "just on time" isn't an option; though in "laid back" Israel, at least the schools I've taught in, it's not considered criminal.

Today I was nervous about how I was going to get to work, since they totally changed our bus schedule. I wasn't in a panic, since most of the time I catch a ride and therefore am not totally dependent on the buses. But I like knowing that there's a bus I can take if needed.

When I got down to the bus stop, I saw mobs of people, more than usual. We waited, and we waited. All the cars leaving were going in the wrong direction, at least for me. Finally there was a car to Jerusalem, and it quickly filled. We kept waiting. A young woman left, since she had been waiting for over two hours, meaning that the previous bus hadn't arrived. It was now getting late for the bus which would make me late for work. Finally it came. I asked the driver if he would let me off at the "tee junction" to Beit El, and Thank G-d, he agreed.

Finally on the bus, but we didn't go straight to Jerusalem; first into Shvut Rachel. I quickly called the school's office on my cell phone to report that I'd be late. Then we slowly made our way. When I got off at the "tee junction," there was a bus to Beit El. I was last on line. No room.

I waited in the rain. Had I mentioned that it was raining and drizzling all the time, as soon as I had left my house? Eventually I got a ride in, and after that had to walk another ten minutes. By the time I got in, two thirds of the first lesson were over. Some of my students saw me and claimed that they wanted to study, so I rushed into the classroom but couldn't find them.

So I locked the classroom door, went into the Teachers Room and had a cup of tea.

So, now I know for sure. Sometimes even I am late!

No comments: