Gasoline is a privilege.

Felt lucky as a I pumped my car with gas last night, with no wait, no lines, no odd-even rationing, and any gas station to choose from.

The petrol shortage in New York and New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy is making me consider how it’s probably our future anyway if we don’t collectively do something about reliance on oil and all that jazz.

Reminds me of Israel’s local attempt, Better Place

Still got it though.

This morning, my husband dropped me off in front of my office and right before I opened the door to the car, I give him a quick kiss as is the morning routine. After we do this, I usually automatically peek around to see if anyone walking outside happened to see; maybe its modesty or maybe its residual from my teenage years.

I reached into the back seat to grab  my bag and noticed another couple in a car behind us, a guy getting dropped off by his woman… Except instead of a quick morning kiss, they were full-on making out – hands on faces and everything. Nine in the morning. I could almost see the slobber dripping off their faces.  

“Quick, look back there – they’re full-on making out!”

“They really are.”

“I guess we’ve been married a while, huh.”

Good old fashioned Friday fun.

There are 87658345 reasons why it’s awesome to have a car, and today exemplified reason #5374, which is, freedom.

Today we ventured to neighboring Gush Etzion, where Rosh Tzurim (next to Alon Shvut) was hosting the annual cherry picking festival – פסטיבל דובדבנים 2008 בגוש עציון. We were going mainly for that reason, but the festival was also a carnival where vendors sold their wares (wines, olive oils, cheeses, clothes, etc), kids watched shows and played on rides.

You just have to love summer in Israel. The summer schedule is packed with family-centric activities, but those are my favorite kind, kids or no kids.

You also just have to love cherries. They’re pretty, delicious and so much fun when squished under your shoes. I hope they are good for you too, since they are the only thing I’ve eaten today.

A light on the Israeli police situation.

On my way home from school tonight I was getting speeding off the ramp from Kvish 1 towards Bet Shemesh when the inevitable happened: the red and blue lights came peeking out from behind me from afar.

I recognize that I can be a bit of a speed demon when in the right mood. When I’d get pulled over in the States, I was always polite and well-mannered; I believe in taking responsibility for my own actions. The cop, after all, didn’t do anything wrong by pulling me over. And aren’t I also the one who watches the other speed demons (the faster ones) and prays they get caught as soon as possible?

Anyway, I see the old red-and-blue and of course, I slow down and turn off the radio in order to listen for sirens. The cop was still far away at this point and I thought there was a chance that maybe he wasn’t even noticing me or maybe he will let me off for slowing down. A few minutes continue, with the lights still coming after me but he doesn’t slow down or call out for me to pull over.

I became very confused. I often see Israeli traffic cops driving through the streets or highways with their lights blazing; but they never stop anyone, they are just cruising for the most part. Why do they do this? And if they are going to pull you over, why don’t they turn on the sirens so at least we could know?

For some reason, the uncertainty of whether or not he was aiming to pull me over made me nervous. Was I now the forefront of a car chase? Was I supposed to pull over? I decided to test it and keep driving, even speed up a bit. Nothing in the way of audio signal.

Finally, I pulled over as my heart leapt in my chest. I’m caught, and I don’t even feel like playing the Anglo game because I’m too proud for that. I sigh and wait for him to pull in front of me (for some reason, the cops pull in front of you here, too).

…But he doesn’t. He just passes me. And keeps the lights going. I feel like a surfer with a bloody leg who just got brushed against by a shark. Then I just get angry. Why do you have to toy with me like that, police dude? Why not just give us all lights and we can have block parties on the highway?

I ended up driving through Bet Shemesh right behind him, staring at his revolving, tormenting lights. I picked up the speed after I made the turn towards the black hills of back-end Bet Shemesh and sped the whole way home.

My new wheels – or – Dream cars are relative.

Ford FocusIn the past month I’ve driven half a dozen different cars. It started with the Ford Focus, which I’m borrowing from a friend who has been abroad for a while. The goal there was to get through the move and then get back and forth from the new home. I thought I’d see what leasing was like, too.

Then, this week, came the task of picking the right car to lease after she returns and I give the Focus back. Mazda

At some point during the Focus time, I had a Mazda 6 for a week, which was awesome; I fell in love with the car back in 2004, thanks to a college boyfriend who turned me on to the Mazda marketing hype. It also runs like a fun toy trapped in the body of an older, more mature toy who has a wild streak at the same time. Maybe a crazy haircut or cool glasses. Hyundai Getz

The plan all along was to get a Hyundai Getz – a mini car, yes, but the best in its class and a very popular model for leasers here in Israel. It’s a tiny car but great for city driving and packs a punch for its size.

That being said, after test-driving one, I started freaking out a bit. I chalk it up to the American in me screaming at the top of its lungs… As well as my American mom, who didn’t quite scream, but was definitely not happy with the idea of me driving such a tiny thing on the curvy highways in the hills. And, yes, a part of me will admit that I couldn’t bare the thought of being found dead in a Hyundai Getz if that ever became the case.

After a night of good, hard introspection (and reconnecting with my American self) I decided to honor my college boyfriend and the Mazda marketing skills, and go for the car I’ve dreamed about since my first ride in the brand: an electric blue Mazda 3.

Mazda 3 Aurora blue

[DISCLAIMER: You’re thinking, “wtf, that’s your dream car?” Yeah, well, I was a Saturn driver in the old country – and by Saturn, I mean this – and my ‘dream car’ before the Mazda was a Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder… so…]

Mitsubishi LancerSo while I wait for my new toy mode of transport to arrive in another couple weeks, I’m driving a silver Mitsubishi Lancer, which reminds me of a Japanese teenager in the 80s. I also kind of feel like any minute KITT will start talking back to me. That would be awesome.