By PEGGY CIDOR
A short, convenient bus route to a hospital is something that is very important, though we do not always think about it, for such instances as visiting a loved one who is ill, going for a test or some treatment or, in this case, an appointment at the dental clinic.
For a long time, perhaps driven by an inherent repugnance to the mere thought of delivering myself into the hands of some dentist, I always chose the longest and most circuitous route to reach the Hadassah University Hospital dental clinic. I would take two different lines, from Talpiot to the city center and from there the 19; or I'd change buses at the Central Bus Station to the No. 27. Either of these options would take, based on a good deal of optimism, about an hour or more, depending on - you guessed it - the downtown traffic jams.
After a while, I had to face up to what I had been trying to ignore for a few weeks now: that I actually had a direct line from Talpiot to Hadassah Ein Kerem - the No. 12 bus, which starts out in east Talpiot and ends at the hospital.
I knew it was a line that did not run frequently, but I said to myself, "How long could it take? If I make the simple effort to get the bus schedule and aim for the right time, I will surely save a lot of time and even 90 agorot" (the saving on the price of a one-trip ticket instead of the two-trip transfer I had been buying).
Like a real strategist, I first asked the people waiting at the bus stop about the frequency of the 12. It turned out to be worse than I thought. The No. 12 bus comes once an hour. Problematic, but nothing compared to what I was soon to discover on my first trip.
On D day, I got to the bus stop on time - six minutes before the bus was scheduled to arrive. After eight minutes I was still waiting. I decided to assume a positive attitude and told myself that perhaps the driver had decided to stop for a while by the Haas Promenade and allow his passengers to enjoy, even just for a few minutes, the breathtaking view from there. That was exactly the moment the bus arrived, and a quick glance at the driver convinced me that if ever such a miracle could happen, it would not be with this guy.
The bus left the Bank Junction (at the corner of Derech Hebron, Rivka and Ein Gedi streets) at 08:59 (instead of the scheduled 08:50) almost devoid of passengers but not so devoid of dirt between the seats and grime on the windows.
At first the bus made its way toward Malha, and I was almost worried
that I would arrive too early. But then the prospect of a few minutes at the cafeteria near the clinic over a frothy cup of coffee cheered me up. But my sense of satisfaction was short-lived. Soon the bus was taking such liberties with skirting main thoroughfares and going down side streets that I could hardly tell where we were. And it continued that way, with more and more narrow streets within neighborhoods, more and more stops, more people getting on - and still no sign of Hadassah. I could almost swear we were driving way off course - yet no one around me seemed the least bit surprised or concerned. I soon realized, however, that I was the only passenger who was naÃ¯ve enough to assume that a direct line that runs only once an hour would go directly to the ultimate destination.
By now, the foamy coffee was no more than a distant dream, while the sight of my dentist glaring at me due to my delay seemed closer to the dismal reality.
After one hour and 10 minutes I could see, even through the dusty windows, Hadassah looming ahead. Who would have believed that one day this sight would fill me with the closest thing to joy?
Conclusion: NIS 5.90 instead of NIS 6.80, about the same amount of time, no waiting for a connecting bus - and dirt, dust and a somewhat nervous driver thrown in for free. Still trying to figure out why the powers-that-be at Egged decided to turn the No. 12 into a kind of annual trip, I suddenly had a brainwave: the light rail! Why didn't anyone consider that this would be the best route for its first line instead of turning our lives upside down with that impossible downtown route?
var cont = `Stay Informed
As the war against Hamas unfolds, our unwavering newsroom remains committed to covering Israel's most profound crisis.
Sign up for our newsletter to get real-time news and in-depth analysis from our top reporters.