Sunday, November 26, 2006

i love my grandmother, part "dukes of hazzard"

my grandmother and i dance an intricate tango with the queens-manhattan bus lines. it goes something like this: the bus line moves the stop. my grandmother refuses to honor the new stop. the bus line moves the stop again. my grandma drops me off at the old new stop. i try to get away with carrying two suitcases on the bus. the bus drops me off three avenues from where my grandmother is parked. etc etc etc.

the latest development in the bus wars ocurred this afternoon, when my grandma drove me to the old-old-new stop, the one that is around the corner and down the block from the original stop, but not yet across the street. unfortunately, when we arrived, we were surprised to note that the green bus stop sign had again disappeared.

"that's strange!" said my grandma.

some of us more surprised than others.

"you can let me out here," i said.

"what, just let you out here when the bus stops who-know-where? what if it just drives past you? what if it stops somewhere else? absolutely not! what kind of crazy bus company is this, moving the stop every two weeks. this is where the stop was last week!"

"yeah, maybe the sign got blown over or something."

my grandma gave me a look.

"what kind of signs just blow over?" she pointed out. "nonsense."

i was outgunned and i admitted it.

"listen," my grandma said, "this is what we'll do. i will drive to the end of the block. you get out and go to the corner and ask the nice chassidishuh girl in the bus shelter if she knows where the stop is."

"it's fine, grandma. it has to come down this street anyway."

"it won't stop for you if you're not at the sign! go ask the girl! out!"

i got out of the car, glancing warily at my suitcase, still in the back seat, and went to find the chassidishuh girl, who i eventually identified as a japanese girl reading very dirty magazines in the bus shelter across the street. my grandmother drove back to the end of the block.

"does the queens manhattan bus stop here?" i asked the japanese girl.

she glared at me.

i shrugged and prepared to cross the street again. a man with dreadlocks said, "just keep walking, it's bound to stop somewhere."

"thanks," i said, and looked back down the street. i winced.

there was my bus, trolling merrily down the street. my grandmother had opened the car door and was now wildly sticking her arm out the driver's side, motioning with the other hand in my direction, shouting something like, "stop! stop, you idiot! my grand-daughter's at the other end of the block!"

i ran as fast as i could under the weight of my lap top, trying to make it to the car and grab my luggage before the bus took off. by this time my grandmother had gotten out of the car and was standing in the bus well, yelling to the driver: "listen, you have to drive to the end of the block because that's where she is waiting for you because that's where the bus stop was last week, but i have her luggage here, so i'm going to put the luggage on here and then you will go to pick her up, you understand?"

the driver yelled back, "lady, i don't know what time you think this bus is supposed to come, but this is a 1:40 bus! it ain't a 1:41 or even a 1:42 bus! now get out of my stair well!"

"but she is waiting for you!"

"i'm sorry, lady, i ain't having this!"

"but you have to wait! she's only a child!"

the bus drove away. i made it to my grandmother, out of breath, but wheezing: "well, it's ok, grandma, i have my computer on me anyway, i can work at the--"

"what are you, crazy?!" my grandmother cried. "we're following her! get in the car!"

i walked to the car and waited for her to turn off the car alarm.

"i don't have time to turn off the car alarm!" she cried at me, strapping herself in behind the wheel. "she's getting away!"

i meekly clicked in my seatbelt, and the car zoomed away from the curb, running through a yellow light.

"which way did she go, perlie?! i don't see her!"

"she just goes straight, grandma...she just goes up the street..."

"sit back, kid, because i tell you something, we're gonna beat her."

i did not ask what this meant. my grandmother narrowly missed running another red light and then crowed: "ah! i see her! she has to stop! perlie, i'm going to block her. GET OUT OF THE CAR!"

"but the car alarm--"


quickly, i flung myself out of the passenger side and pulled my luggage out the back, the car alarm blaring all the while.

"you see?" my grandmother called from the window. "i blocked her! now she can't get out until she lets you on board! i told you we'd beat her! YOU'RE GETTING ON THAT BUS, KID!"

i wisely got on the bus.

"that's the way," the bus driver told me, as i stood terrified in the stairwell. "that's the way we get on the bus in new york. with the luggage in your hand."


seven hours later, i am sitting calmly at my desk, writing my paper, when my grandmother calls me.

"perlie," she says, "i want to know if that bus driver was cursing at you when you got on the bus."

"no, grandma."

"wasn't she saying something nasty?"


"was she shouting?"


there was a moment of tense silence.

"did you ever hear of such a woman?" said my grandmother.

as my roommate said: that's one for the blog.

i love my grandmother, part infinity

so after finally achieving that impossible dream - getting myself invited to my grandma's house without even asking - i was in her kitchen friday morning when i happened to glance at the fridge. my grandmother likes to type up a 'menu' of what she's going to serve on shabbos and magnet it to the fridge, purportedly so she doesn't forget to serve anything. here's what this week's menu looked like:

oh yes, i love my grandma.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

my friend

please daven for my friend. his name is daveed yoel tzvi ben chaya mindel. most of you know him as the daring station manager of wyur.