I am in love. I mean, of course I'm in love with Alan (who made me whole wheat pancakes for breakfast this morning...not that I love him only for feeding me), but my other new love is the 24. Alan has been making fun of me for repeatedly singing the praises of this bus line (yes, my new love is a bus line) last week as well. Here's the story of our courtship:
First, the briefest version of my Jerusalem bus relationship history. These days I usually share a cab to school and then take a bus back. The expense of the cab (shared three ways) feels justified because it's so very much quicker (and because it gives one the comforting feeling, perhaps illusory, that one's vehicle is less at risk of being blown up). But I do take the bus back and both the 4a and the 19 --my two best options from Mt. Scopus-- go through the center of the city and take a very long time doing so. Both let me off significantly downhill from my house and involve either a short but very steep walk uphill or a longer slightly less steep walk uphill.
The 24 on the other hand goes right past my house. I have wondered where it goes before my house and where it goes after, but it was only last Friday that I had my first experience actually riding it. Alan and I walked to the mall. A long walk, but it's all downhill. I bought some clothing (having found at least one plus-size clothing store), we ate at Burger King (see Alan's post on this) and did our last bits of shopping for Shabbat. Then we took the bus back. The 24 goes right from the mall to my house. It doesn't loop through out-of-the-way neighborhoods. It doesn't pass by major construction zones. It doesn't even seem to be anywhere that is prone to large amounts of traffic. It just drives right from the mall to my house. And one of the most special things about the ride last Friday was that when I asked the driver if we were riding the line in the correct direction, he printed out a numbered list of the stops the 24 makes in both directions!!! In a city with no actual bus-map and fabled-but-never-seen schedules that one can get at the Central Bus Station, this list of stops feels like a little treasure. I folded it and put it in my wallet.
Today I found myself with about 15 to 20 minutes left in my walk home. I was tired. I was carrying purchases from Super Pharm. I decided to hop on the 24. I only had to wait for a few minutes for the 24. The 4a came first and everyone else waiting at the stop got on board. Then the 24 pulled up. I got on board and immediately noticed that it was a brand new bus. The upholstery on the seats was shiny and completely unstained. It even had a lovely new-bus smell. Then I realized that I was in fact the only person riding the bus (see picture above displaying both newness and emptiness). With the exception of one woman who joined us for a few stops, I got a private ride home.
On top of these wonderful experiences, I also have something to look forward to: if I decide to take classes at Machon Schechter (one of my many learning options this year), the 24 will be able to take me door to door!