Saturday, April 2, 2011

Midterm, Marathon, & Madness!

          The craziness started with the mother of all anxiety dreams the night before my math midterm. I dreamed I had fallen asleep in class and missed the test. Most people have one anxiety per dream. My brain got carried away. I was then walking around my elementary school in a towel, got caught outside in a hurricane, and was pregnant. It's funny how anxiety dreams don't necessarily reflect your fears. To be fair, falling asleep during calculus is a skill of mine but I can honestly say I've never fallen asleep during a test. In fact, the next day I stayed conscious throughout the whole midterm then promptly fell asleep afterward when Boris started to go over the answers.

I ran around the rest of the day, first to the gym (where I did actually run) then to the doctor in Ma'ale Adumim and then to work. In the restaurant, not cleaning. On the way, my other boss (the cleaning guy, not the restaurant guy) sent me a text that they had an emergency situation and they would need everyone working that night (Thursday night), Friday, after Shabbat, and then on Sunday. I had to call him and tell for about the third time that I can't work Thursdays. We do this little song and dance often. There are only two days I can't work but he can't seem to remember either of them. So he sends me a text and then I have to call and then he calls me a little bit later and asks me if I can work then I have to remind him that I have class, then he sends me an email, and I send him a reply that I still can't work that day. It's like a little game that we play, except that I don't find it fun and he can't remember we're playing.

I got a text from him that night that he wanted to meet me on Jabotinsky at 7:00 Friday morning. 7:00? Seriously? I'm not really functional until 8:00 and not fully awake until 9:00. Fine, I'll do it. Usually it's about a 10 minute bus ride on a well traveled bus route. But nothing is ever “usual” in Jerusalem. Heaven forbid things like public transportation and traffic in general should run the way they're supposed to for a whole week. Last week Jerusalem residents had to deal with Purim parades shutting down major traffic arteries. I got on a bus in Jerusalem on the way back to my apartment from Ma'ale Adumim expecting the bus to continue on the route that it does every other time I get on that bus. It's usually a mistake in this city to assume that you're going to end up where you expected to. I sat down and the bus driver announced that he was skipping most of the route and he had no idea where he was going to end up. The passengers looked puzzled and asked him how he could not know where he was going. He answered that he was just going to go the way the police directed him to and that he didn't really have a set route because no one really knew what was going on. At this point most of the passengers got off the bus and the people waiting at bus stops along the impromptu route took their turns looking puzzled and were left scratching their heads after asking the bus driver if he went to this or that place and being told he didn't know.

My boss had to pick the only day of the year when Jerusalem was hosting the marathon and had decided to close off all streets in which the marathoners would be running. Unsurprisingly the route of the first ever full marathon in Jerusalem led back and forth, and around in circles all throughout the city. This led to much confusion (the first few runners across the line were astonished to find that it was the wrong finish line) and perturbation on the side of the citizens who were forced to walk everywhere all day. This included myself. I do not enjoy long walks at 6 in the morning. A 10 minute bus ride became a 45 minute walk. The guy who was supposed to meet me at the job got there half an hour later while I went on an unsuccessful search for coffee.

I had called my boss to ask what the job entailed and what exactly he meant by an “emergency situation.” He told me he'd gotten a contract with a company to set up maybe 15 or so apartments before noon on Sunday. Ok, well what does that mean “set up an apartment?” It meant that there might be some boxes to unpack and put away, linens and things like that, and just some basic cleaning, nothing too meticulous. Ok, boss, I guess I can handle that.

We walked into the apartment and I almost walked out again. Some boxes? Wait, is there a refrigerator in that huge box? And are those sofas, wrapped up in plastic wrap? I'm not even going to ask about the washing machine sized box in the middle of the kitchen floor, the oven or the tables in heavy cardboard stacked on top of each other. These aren't linens. Either someone just rewrote my job description or somebody was purposely misled (very likely me).

We finished that apartment and moved on to the next in Rechavia, my cleaning buddy biking up and me hiking (with a short coffee detour), grumbling and shooting dirty looks at the runners. By the end of that apartment there was no way I was walking back to my apartment. Luckily, by then they had started opening up some of the roads so when I realized that I'd probably collapse before I made it home I broke a self legislated rule not to take taxis. I was relieved to be quickly approaching my destination. I should have known that it wouldn't be as easy as it should have been either. The driver had no change so he made me get out to change money. I ran into the bakery next to my building and impatiently waited for the guy in front of me to stop yapping, pay, and leave. The guy behind the counter wouldn't change my 50 unless I bought something so I grabbed for the closest thing which happened to be a 10 shekel lump of bread. There's a reason I don't take taxis. Ever. I would rather be stuck in traffic on an old, non-air conditioned Jerusalem bus standing pressed between a large, old Russian woman, loudly arguing with someone on her cellphone, and a dirty old man who makes you wonder how he had enough money to take the bus, let alone buy the beef jerky he's now gnawing on. So no, no more taxis for me.

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