Watch Out!

March 6, 2009 at 11:12 Leave a comment

Commuting by public transportation in Israel has its sides — and most of them are negative.

Most of the annoyances, although far from all, are concentrated to the central bus station in Jerusalem. The first annoying thing is the security check that you need to pass through to enter the building to begin with. It contains two steps, first you have to pass through metal detectors and then they x-ray your luggage

At rush hour, the metal detectors can’t keep up, so long lines of people who wait to file through them built up outside on the sidewalk. (I’m sure I’m not the first one to think that that would actually be the ideal target for an attack…) Standing in line in Israel is annoying on any given day, since Israelis are incapable not only of being on time, but also of queuing. But if it’s hot, or rains, the experience can cause the most docile of commuters to contemplate ways to inflict pain on the minister of transportation. (Or maybe that’s just me…)

One of the most annoying things in this already quite annoying situation, is watching inexperienced travelers (read “idiots”) who try to get through the arches of the metal detector without taking their keys, cell phones or wallets out of their pockets. You feel your blood pressure skyrocket as you watch them walk back and forth through the screaming detectors, each time taking yet another metal item out of their pockets.

Those of us who pass these arches on an almost daily basis, know to stuff cell phones, wallets and other metal things into our bags well before we reach the arch itself. That way we save time for both ourselves and everyone else. I’ve even stopped wearing a belt with a rather big buckle that always makes the alarm go off.

Yesterday when I got to the station, I cast a glance my new watch that I bought on my recent trip to Paris, and was satisfied to note that I was relatively early. At that stage, I nurtured a hope of flying through the security check and catching an early bus back to the coast. I walked through the arches as usual, already thinking about the next step of the trip, praying that there wouldn’t be too great a crowd on the platform — but at the same time fearing the usual Thursday beginning-of-the-weekend chaos.

Imagine my surprise when the alarm went off. At first I didn’t even realize it was my arch that had sounded, and when I had this pointed out to me, I couldn’t imagine what could have caused it. Only after considerable time, and a lot of aimless patting of my already carefully emptied pockets, did I realize that it was the metal in the watch that had caused the detector to sound. I haven’t carried a watch for years, since I’ve started to rely on my cell phone for telling the time, and hadn’t even reflected on the fact that it’s big enough to set off the alarms.

So there you go, yet another item to shuffle in and out of the bag from now on.

And no, of course I didn’t make the early bus.

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Entry filed under: Life.

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