About two weeks ago on Shabbat I was walking my dog at the top of Rothschild Boulevard, just in front of the Habima theater, when I came across two women standing at the corner studying a map and a Bauhaus Tel Aviv tour book in English. I boldly ignored my longtime New Yorker training and volunteered, "Are you lost?" One of them countered, with equal boldness and a soft Scottish bur, "No, but we do have a question. Where is xxx Rothschild Blvd.?" I pointed out that they were directly opposite the building in question.
One thing led to another, and an hour later we three were sitting in my kitchen, drinking three different varieties of tea (camomile, mint, and Wissotzky regular) and summarizing our life histories. Even in summary, this required the better part of an hour because none of us was on the innocent side of 50. One was a Glasgow-born Beersheva resident for 10 years, and the other a Westchester county matron on a volunteer mission to Israel for two weeks.
Last night I hosted the Beersheva woman again, this time for an overnight: she had to give her English lit students an exam this morning in Tel Aviv (they are external students at Ben Gurion U., where she teaches), too early to commute, and her usual Tel Aviv hostess had houseguests from abroad.
She brought me an interesting book as a hostess gift. Survey Question: have I now accumulated enough credits in the Favor Bank for a free weekend in Beersheva, even though I don't want to go there?