The Infallible App (and other Israeli wonders)

When you’re waiting for a bus, especially when it’s raining and cold and there are riots in progress, an Infallible App’s truly a blessing.

Tel Aviv city view
My wife takes the bus to work. It was never a problem in the mornings; evenings, however, used to be infuriating.
The night bus originates in Tel Aviv, and until recently she would never know how late it might be – due to traffic, civil disturbance, mechanical breakdown or surly passengers requiring ejection and/or arrest.
Worse, her bus is the last of the day on that route, and if she misses it, she has to grab something in Haifa and transfer, adding at least an hour to her commute. Such evenings, my wife would arrive home with claws extended, fangs bared, a murderous look in her eye and not at all in a genial mood.
Then came the Infallible App.
An app, for those of you who don’t yet know and not to get too technical, is some sort of thingie you download which, if installed correctly, permits you to access other thingies. It is rather like New Jersey: of scant intrinsic interest, but a convenient route (sometimes) for getting somewhere else.
I shan’t reveal the name of the Infallible App or its creators/vendors. I will note that it permits you to access bus schedules and tracks buses to give you their approach and arrival times.
When you’re waiting for a bus, especially when it’s raining and cold and there are riots in progress, an Infallible App’s truly a blessing.
But we’ve found our app – not only infallible, but free. Free, that is, if you accept all their other apps for games, media, etc. This constitutes an odd reversal of the capitalist ethic. Normally, you’d expect to pay for a lot of bundled junk, then get the app you want as a bonus. Not with this crew, thankfully.
So in addition to the Infallible App, we have other apps aplenty. Sad to relate, none connects to my personal faves, Fantasy Badminton for one. Not my favorite show on the Group Therapy Channel, Fussbudgets; nor Sticking To It, Sticking It To: The Adventures of Jack Shellac. Nor that blog gone viral in the literary world, “Editors and Predators.”
Nor even my favorite US news source, a network whose sacred name may not be printed here but whose motto – “We Distort, You Cavort” – is well-enough known.
But back to the App.
You punch up the route you want, and the thing lists every stop. It will give you, for each stop, one of three notations: Real Time to Arrival; Scheduled Stop Time; or Trips Done for Today.
Sometimes, as a bonus, more than one.
My wife watches it carefully, then leaves work accordingly.
She has, however, resisted purchasing a smartphone, so for access to the Infallible App after she leaves, she depends on me. I get on the home PC.
She phones as she heads to the stop and we maintain terse, high-tension communication until the bus actually shows, and she boards.
Sometimes even after, when the Infallible App indicates her bus hasn’t yet arrived, so she couldn’t possibly be on it.
Most nights, my half of the dialogue goes something like this: “Bus arrives in seven minutes... no, make that six... no, make that 11.”
How does the Infallible App get the bus to go backwards like that? “We’ve lost the real-time information, but we’re being assured the schedule has not been changed.” “Your bus is due in seven minutes. It also says for the stop before you, the bus is due in 12.”
When dealing with infallibility, pronouncements may not be questioned.
And then, of course, there are moments when the bus vanishes entirely.
No schedule, no real-time, no “Trips Done” – nonexistence. Fortunately, the Infallible App usually and mercifully recalls the bus from oblivion, and my wife gets home.
Since I don’t have to catch any particular bus, and generally use them only locally, I still get to marvel at yet another infallibility: the Infallible Voice, that wondrous, calming tenor that tells you what the next stop is. What a pleasure to know that Infallibility has such an eternally soothing tone.
Or does it? Since the Infallible Voice announces the next stop on every route, pretty much (I presume) throughout Egged country, six days a week, I wonder if Infallibility ever gets tired of making all those announcements.
Now, I’m not questioning Infallibility, but perhaps the Infallible Voice is really that of some departed soul of endless distemper in life, now condemned to keep announcing the same stop, in the same placid way, until his time in Purgatory is done.
Or perhaps we’re the ones in Purgatory.
There were times I felt that way back in the Old Country. They had this incredibly annoying female voice, every time you couldn’t make a phone connection: “We’re sorry...”
But the tone was really a snide “Sure we are...”
The writer will report on some other Israeli infallibilities and American non-infallibilities next time.