Driving in Israel meets the belly card.

Driving to gan pickup last week, I officially became that person. The person who looks down for a split second and looks back up to realize you’re a microsecond from hitting the stopped car in front of you. The person who, despite braking, hits the car in front of you.

I’ve been here nearly nine years and pride myself on two driving-related things: never getting a speeding ticket and never hitting anyone. Driving in Israel has definitely worked to repair my former young, stupid, New York driver self. Not that I’m by any means perfect but I’d say the improvement is noticeable to me.

Anyway, I’m copping to this: I hit the back of this car. It wasn’t major by any means, it was a residential road to start with, but it shook me up. I stopped, got out, and watched the older crew-cut-clad, Israeli-dye job woman driver come out, all puffed up and ready to attack.

I guess I attacked first. “Are you ok? I’m so sorry!” I said, with the requisite body language to back up my claim.

I watched her mouth close back up. “Oh -”

“Yes, this is on me. Are you ok?” I stepped closer to her and put an arm out. I noticed her husband (?) had gotten out too and I looked at him and moved closer in his direction. “Are you ok?”

“Yes, we’re fine,” said the woman, kind of taken aback. They both bent over to look at their bumper.

“Is there anything there?” I asked.

“No, no. It’s fine. It’s just -”

“Yes, good. I’m sorry.”

“What about your car?” The man started to examine my front bumper.

“My car is fine, it doesn’t matter. As long as you’re ok.”

I think they were looking at me like I was some kind of alien. Could I have been from around these parts?

She asked me if I’m ok and I said yes, I’m fine. She said “ok, well be careful,” and they both got back in the car and drove off before I even sat in my driver’s seat.

I was totally dumbstruck.

Ownership, accountability – is that so rare that they’d be so caught off guard by an incident so obviously my fault?

I turned my car back on and drove off, trying to not look back at the line of cars waiting behind us. Maybe this type of thing just happens so often, people are used to it. Expect it once in a while. I’ve certainly watched my fair share of bumper bumping exchanges at traffic lights, intersections, and residential roads.

It was when I had arrived at my destination and started shifting out of my seat to get out of the car when it hit me.

The belly. 

Her face, when she had looked me up and down while I was apologizing. Yes, it made sense now.

The pregnancy card.

Being pregnant might have hit me, literally, on a new level that day.

Now I’m just surprised she didn’t go nuclear savta and say anything about that as she left.

Or maybe it really was the accountability that threw them off.

Either way… that’s a new one for me.