Hit & Run Yenta-ing
Everyone knows that everyone is in everyone else's business in Israel, right? Everyone has an opinion, everyone has advice to give, everyone is a yenta. Some people think this is a bad thing. Not us!
I don't mind when people ask me personal questions. I draw the line at confessing age, weight and bank account figures. (The answer to the Israeli question "How much do you make?" or "How much do you have in the bank?" is always "Enough, thank G-d!" Thank you for this tip, Keren Dayan).
My husband's favorite story concerns the day he went to the market with a friend. Behind them, they heard two men start to argue about who was next in line. "Well, they were here first--let's ask them!" one man suggested. With this agreement, one of them tapped the Husband on the shoulder and asked which of the two men was the first to stand in line behind him?
My husband selected Candidate Number One. "Bah, what does he know?!" Candidate Number Two said disdainfully, and the argument continued.
On Yom Shishi, we drove the Boy to school (as Yossi wasn't around, having taken Ronit away on a long-anticipated vacation). Upon our return to the Baka neighborhood, we decided to park near Cafe Kalo and pick up some fruit and vegetables from the produce stand on the corner. For some reason never quite explained to me, the Husband chose a narrow and obscure side road to approach Derech Bet Lechem from the west. I thought we were in luck -- at the top of the hill, we could see an EMPTY parking space! We waited for the traffic to clear, then the Husband pulled to the left and backed smartly into this providential parking spot, less than a block from our destinations.
As soon as we were parked, a guy walks out of the shop across the street and down a ways and calls out to us in Hebrew. Not loudly or belligerently, but more in a tone of "Hey, you oughta know..." which the Husband understood but which went by too quickly for me to follow. As that man's utterance came to an end, an SUV drove by and the driver added to the shopowner's comments: "Yeah, its a 1900 shekel fine!" and kept driving.
Unbeknownst to us, BEHIND our parking space, visible only to the northbound traffic on Derech Bet Lechem, was a posted sign identifying this parking space as handicapped parking. Coming from the west, we never saw the sign.
But two complete strangers, seeing our mistake, casually and helpfully tossed the pertinent information in our direction to save us from a costly ticket, then went on with their day. If looking out for each other is being a "yenta" then I have to confess to loving living in a country where people take the time out to watch out for each other.