I woke up bleary eyed. I went to bed last night at 3 am and tried to get up at 7. I had given my students a test over a month ago and today was my last day of teaching. so of course last night at ten o’clock I sat down to the grade the tests. Why would I do it any earlier? On the first test that I graded I left a little personalized note to the student, about three lines. Why? i don’t know. Maybe I overwork myself, or maybe I’m a devoted (albeit last minute) teacher. Either way I just added another hour of work for myself. For the easy students writing a note is easy. For the challenging students it’s challenging. And rewarding. Finding the good in everyone.
Either way this morning I stumbled out of bed and into the shower. Coffee. That’s what I need and everything would be fine. I got dressed and deciding that it took too much energy to pull on my boots, I slipped on my flats. I put the water up to boil. The only thing I could think about was coffee. About ten minutes later as I’m coaxing my contact lenses into my tired eyes I heard the rain pounding against the windows and roof. Great. It’s ploching outside. That’s a Yiddish word but I haven’t found an English word that describes that sort of downpour. Because it’s more than pouring, more than a downpour, it’s ploching. That meant I’d have to put on boots, and a sweater plus a jacket because my jacket doesn’t have hood.
The kettle whistled. I was about to pour the coffee in a cup when i realized there’s no sugar. Great. Last week i tried coffee without sugar and it ended up down the drain. My yearning for coffee intensified. I needed it. That meant that I needed to leave 15 minutes earlier so I could buy a coffee in the central bus station. I smeared on some makeup. Through my half closed eyes it looked decent so I grabbed my bag, mumbled a good day to my apartment mates and headed out the door.
I stopped in the doorway to outside the apartment building. I wished I had a stronger word even than ploching. Deluge. Yeah, I checked it up in the thesaurus. I had no choice. I hurried out into the rain. My boots don’t have good traction. They’re fashion boots, not meant for the rain. I sort of slipped and slid down the block, trying to hurry and glance over my shoulder to ensure the bus wasn’t right behind me, and not fall flat on my face. As the sidewalk slanted downward towards the street so did I. My feet slipped out from under me and I instinctively put my arm out to break the fall. My palm met the wet pavement at the same time as my bag. Splat. Ow. More embarrassed than hurt I continued, watching my every step. I crossed the street and a Chassidish Bochur was standing there. Did he see me fall? Mortifying. Well, even if he did, he was probably more mortified than me so i supposed it’s okay.
I didn’t miss the bus. I moved into the bus stop to protect myself from the driving rain. I stood in a puddle. The whole street is a puddle; there was nowhere else to stand. I waited inevitably for the water to seep into my very nice unprotected boots and soak my toes. More and more people squeezed into the bus stop, anxious to be out of the rain. I could just imagine what the bus will smell like with lots of wet humans on it. And i wondered what was worse; waiting in the cold bus stop with fresh air, or on a warm stuffy bus. The bus pulls up spraying water on the first anxious people to get on. I’m relieved when it shows up. my stomach was growling and still the only coherent thought i could manage is: coffee.
Traffic. The bus inched forward and then it slammed to a stop. Standstill. Repeat. An old man with a white beard, orange knitted kippa, and heavy American accent was cursing out the Israel government for turning Yaffo Street into a train track. A woman tried to respond kindly but he yelled over her. She turned to look out the window. Rain splattered the windows and the inside of the bus was steamy. At long last the bus pulled to a jerky stop and grateful, I carefully jumped off and hurried, head bent, to the entrance.Part II coming soon…