I sensed someone following me down the stairs into the underground walk way. But I didn't worry: At first glance, he seemed like a nice enough man, old enough to be my grandfather. He was wearing standard retired Israeli menswear - white brimmed hat, short-sleeved button down shirt, khaki slacks (definitely an old man's word) and typically dusty leather sandals.
So when he opened up his mouth and asked "What! Are you 12 months pregnant or what?!" I was unprepared for the chutzpa-ness of his words.
Smiling weakly, I waddled and said, "No, I'm in the eighth month, but I have twins, you see."
"Twin boys, I take it from the size of you," he relentlessly hammered home.
"No, a girl and a boy," I said sheepishly.
"Ahh, Simha and Sasson," he punned, using a double entendre for "happiness and joy" and two popular names of his generation.
Being a walking freak of nature is not so easy.
Concerned colleagues quip as I make my way to the bathroom - "Can you still walk?" or "Aren't you afraid they'll fall out when you go to the bathroom?" All very funny, but not when you hear it on the hour at least.
It's not as if my glorious body stops traffic. I still have to wait for what seems like hours at crosswalks. Most painful is when the cop cars don't even stop.
Riding on the bus is not much better, for who rides the bus these days anyway? As I lumber up the steep stairs, it seems that it's only the tired, huddled masses. And even though the curmudgeonly bus driver yells back to the hopeless, hapless, "Someone stand up and give her a place to sit" (as if the passengers couldn't have made that determination themselves), who is actually able to stand up? The 90-year-old with the oxygen tank? The mother trying to balance her stroller and her newborn? Or the gracious grandmother loaded down with her shuk booty who valiantly tries to stand anyway?
Since my doctor told me last month to "lower my profile" to keep the twins in as long as I can, I've been increasingly making like Jabba the Hut. So now, instead of getting a physical workout in my uphill hike from the bus stop on the way to work, my nerves are stretched to their limits as I sit in traffic jams on my way to the entrance of Jerusalem.
Which is why my husband thinks I should go on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. (Not just because he wants the car back.) Sure, I'm physically fine, but the mental stress of getting to work could bring on premature labor, he reasons. Somehow I don't think my doctor will sign off on that one.
Being a Jabba definitely has its positive sides, however, both at home and at work: I can no longer fit in our service balcony, so my husband hangs all the laundry; I can't lift heavy things, so he gets the groceries (with a detailed list, of course); I get lunch brought back by friends who step out for a bite and other coworkers ask if I need anything as they go off to refill their water bottles.
If only they could also make the hourly trip down to the bathroom for me as well...