The cabbie was asleep at the wheel.
Or so he looked when I slid into his car idling in the hotel driveway and waved goodbye to my visiting girlfriend.
"I thought you were the one staying here and your friend would get in the cab," said the cabbie, offering, in typical Israeli fashion, his take on the whole scene.
"I thought you were asleep," was my reply.
"Me? Asleep?" asked the cabbie, incredulous.
"Maybe you thought I was asleep because this eye happened to have been closed," he pointed to one eye. "But this eye is always open," he said.
I liked him immediately.
A tiny man, no bigger than a minute, he was dwarfed by his car that seemed decked out with all the latest bells and whistles, including a tv that was blasting the news.
He reminded me of my late Grandpa Doc who wore v-neck velour shirts, lots of after shave and conspicuous jewelry, and who tooled around town on his moped, even well into his senior years. Once in the 1980s when remote controls were new, he took me around his Florida condo and showed me the tv in every single room and its matching remote control.
I miss my grandfather.
As we headed towards my apartment, the cabbie told me about his son who had lived for a while in America where he made a lot of money. "And now he never wants to leave Israel again!" he said proudly.
Giving me the one over, he asked if I had moved to Israel alone.
"Yes," said I.
He told me I was very brave.
"How old are you?" he asked.
I told him I was 30, a lie, but it’s only because I hate having to explain my real age to people I’m never going to see again.
Which is another way of saying, I’ve started lying about my age and now can’t stop. I keep shaving years off, too. Soon I will be just a girl again. And soon after, a fetus.
My cabbie was silent until we got to my apartment.
"Do you have a boyfriend" he asked as he pulled over to let me out.
"Nope," I said. "Why? Do you have someone for me or are you in love with me yourself?"
He didn’t respond but pulled out his pen and started scribbling.
"Who’s Erez?" I asked, reading the name on the card.
"He’s my son!" said the cabbie. He told me he was 31 and a cook at a popular restaurant on Emek Refaim street.
"I can’t just call him out of the blue!" I protested.
"Listen," he said to me. "I have a good sense about you. You’re a nice girl, I can tell. The worst that can happen is you get a cup of coffee."
"And the best? That you’ll be my son’s bride."