a little bit more of the usual.

sunday morning. time to buy a new cartisiya (bus card).

note to liz: now you have a job, no more getting 18 and under cards with ten free rides. you have a job now, you can afford to be legit.

alight the bus. pass by the youngish lady who is chatting with bus driver. smile at the driver.

“cartisiya.”

“noar?”

oh, irony. he is asking if i want a youth card, 18 and under, with ten free rides. i could just say yes or i could stick to my working-legit liz plan.

“lo. rigeela.”

the driver looks taken aback, which is silly. i dont look that young. but, what does a middle-aged mizrachi sunday morning bus driver know?

“b’emet? lo noar?”

“lo. rigeela.”

youngish lady smiles at me and turns to driver.

(in hebrew) “ma pitom? she looks young, but not that young.”

driver shrugs.

“eh, nu? until they are 18 they get the cartisiyat noar and then they are enlisted and they ride for free, and then they come out and they buy regular cards.” she looks at me and smiles and i nod.

“b’seder.” driver hands me my card.

—later—

last rider on the bus. we’re approaching the mall.

“yalla, boi.”

i come to the front and sit near the driver.

(hebrew) “getting off at the mall?”

“ken.”

“to work? or l’tayel?”

“work.”

“work? ah, you look so young.”

ha, ha, “yes i know, but i am 23.”

“no kidding! very nice. what is your name?”

“elisheva.”

he puts out his hand, i take it. “na-im meod.” “na-im meod.”

he turns to me again.

“wait – where are you from?”

“new york. aliti in january.”

“lama?”

“lama lo?”

“yaffe meod. yom tov.”

“bye!”

a little bit more of the usual. and the big smile creeping across my young-looking face.