“How are you, Avigail?” my driving teacher asked, full of good cheer.
“Tired!” I said, grumpily.
And why shouldn’t I be? It was 8:30 pm after all, the time of evening that any decent person would be home, having a lie down after a long day at work.
But no, this being Israel, my driving teacher could only fit my lesson in then. And so there I was, squeezed in the back next to the baby seat, while the young man behind the wheel finished up his lesson.
Which is another way of saying, this being Israel, the radio was blasting, and the teacher had his arm resting behind the young man behind the wheel and was filling his ear about his recent trip to Germany.
“Guess how much a car costs in Germany. Guess.”
The young man threw out a few numbers. He was pretty good as a driver, I had to admit, having sat in the sucker seat in back more than once while a beginner jolted and stalled and rode the clutch too hard.
I was brushing up on my stick shift driving and the rules of the road in preparation for taking the Big Test to get my Israeli license. I won’t even bore you with all the details but the gist of it is, everything costs mucho deniro and everyone in Israel is crazy.
My teacher had just informed us that a car in Europe costs half – half! – as much as it does in Israel. The young man behind the wheel made that sizzling sound I love that means “get the bleep outta town!”
Then my driving teacher, who is Argentinean and therefore warm and friendly and hard to dislike, turned to me asked what was new.
“Are you still writing the singles column?”
“I’m sick and tired of it,” I confided. “I don’t want a column forever, I want a boyfriend. At this rate, I’ll be writing the column from the old age home.”
He whooped with delight.
It’s always nice when people laugh at your misery.
“But I have a date tonight,” I offered.
This caused quite a stir in the car. Everyone had questions for Avigail. How I met the guy (Jdate). Whether he was American (No, Israeli.) Where we were meeting , and on and on.
“Well, Avigail, maybe this will be the one and you can go on your last and final date,” said my teacher, smiling at me.
I loved him for saying that.
Then he announced that he was going to drive me straight to the restaurant himself, which is another way of saying, I drove myself to my date in the car with the sign on the roof that says, “Student Driver.”
At the restaurant, a favorite of mine because even though it is in Jerusalem, it reminds me of Tel Aviv – maybe because it is full of gay men – I consulted with the young waitress about the wine.
I firmed up my order just as my date texted that he was running a bit late.
But when she brought me my wine I shooed her away.
“No, no!” I said. “I’m meeting a date and it would be weird if I already had my wine before he got here.”
“Well, it’s weird that he’s late on a date!” she spat.
You gotta love Israelis.
And the date itself?
Let me ask you something. Do you think I have no pride? That my whole life is an open book?
Which is another way of saying, you’ll just have to wait for the next chapter, now won’t you?