Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Man of Culture

Jerusalem bus rides have become my primary source for sub-cultural experiences.

Today is Lag b'Omer, which means my bus had to take an alternate route in order to avoid the thousands of Haredim lining up to get their hair cut on Mea Shearim. It was a terribly inconvenient way to go, and it added another twenty minutes onto my trip back from Hebrew University to Nayot.

To top it all off, there were two Germans behind me who wouldn't shut up. It got to the point where they were sitting across from each other calling each other over and over again and laughing as hard as they could every time the other would check to see who was calling.

It got really irritating, I even turned around to tell them to shut the hell up, and then I noticed... they weren't Germans. Not even close. They were a 60-something year old Haredi couple speaking Yiddish to each other (not German). I didn't tell them to shut up, but I did start staring - suddenly I became the annoying tourist that I was resenting just two minutes before (even if I am inherently less annoying).

They were actually pretty entertaining once I realized this. In addition to the idiotic prank phone calls, they kept threatening to attack each other - the woman threatened to use her walker, the man used his hat. And every time a generic elderly person struggled to stand or sit down, the Haredi couple would yell "oopah!!"

And then, as if it couldn't get anymore intriguing, this jovial/fanatical duo got up from their seats, and actually.... put their trash in the trash can. I know...it's hard to believe, but it really happened.

So next time you debate cabbing or taking the bus, weigh all the obvious pros and cons, but in the end go ahead and pick the cultural experience.


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