the 90th minute

Until September 2007, when my oldest daughter was born, this blog covered daily life and politics in Israel, as well as Hebrew-English linguistic issues, from the perspective of an American-raised journalist and translator living in Israel. Now it mostly serves as the SmunchMonk&Bear news agency, a portal into the bizarre universe of the little people. Read more at: www.shoshanakordova.com.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The long way around

This blog was first posted May 9, 2005, on Haaretz Underground.

A gaggle of forces has recently conspired to make my 15-minute walk to the central bus station in Jerusalem take just that little bit longer.

Perhaps I should explain that feet are generally the most efficient means of transportation around central Jerusalem, since getting from point A to point B tends to involve climbing at least one hidden staircase and/or traversing a pedestrian mall, park or other vehicle-unfriendly spot, not to mention heading the wrong way down a one-way street. (I have one friend who is so convinced of the shortcut value of these staircases that she will trek across the city to use one out of conviction that it will get her wherever she’s going faster.)

In keeping with the distinguished Jerusalem tradition of aliyah laregel, I have become accustomed to getting to the road parallel to Jaffa Street by squeezing around the phone booth across from the central bus station and cutting across the mostly vacant lot of dirt and trees, inhabited occasionally by flower sellers, police officers waiting to catch unsuspecting jaywalkers, and men who are disinclined to use indoor plumbing facilities. Perhaps one of the most valuable shortcuts in the city, this ad hoc path has saved me seconds that become all the more precious when I’m running to catch a bus.

But alas, this prerogative is mine no longer. That’s because the lot has been fenced off, with the signposted excuse that archeological excavations are underway.

Just as I was beginning to get used to going the long way around, I had a door slammed in my face. Sort of. The door in question is situated in the middle of the gate at the back of the gas station that I cut through to get from my Nachlaot apartment to Ben-Zvi Boulevard. But these last couple of weeks, to my horror, the door has been chained shut, compelling me to walk through the little playground next to it and climb over the wall to get to the road. I resent this because I am neither lithe nor graceful, and clambering over a wall to the undoubted entertainment of the many drivers on Ben-Zvi is not my favorite way to start the day.

Then again, it may be that the gas station I have come to think of as mine has a noble cause for shutting its doors - perhaps it too has decided that excavations are in order. If ever you find out that the lost city of Atlantis has been discovered on Ben-Zvi Boulevard, don’t forget: You heard it here first.

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