No matter what the occasion, I'd treat it like catching a train or plane or making sure I made it to the theater well before the curtain was to go up.
When I got older, I learned that, at least here in Israel, times stated for wedding invitations were always much earlier than we needed to be there. After arriving too many times while the caterer was still having the tables set up, we learned how much time we had to add to the "invitation time." Here in Shiloh, it took a few years to learn that events are on what they call "Bnai Akiva time," which is nothing like the exact scheduling in NCSY or the LIRR.
Since we don't have a car and not only can't one rely on the bus schedule, besides the fact that sometimes there aren't buses from Shiloh to our destinations, I've learned to accurately plan my departures for all eventualities. But yesterday afternoon/last night, even I failed.
I needed to get to a "surprise party" in Kfar Saba by 6:30pm. With the help of google maps, I discovered that with bus connections at both the Yarkon Junction and Morasha, it would be very doable. There is even a 5pm bus to Kfar Saba from Ariel, though is goes through Rosh Ha'ayin. My plan was to give myself two and a half hours, which should have made me about a half hour early, at the latest.
Man plans and Gd laughs, as they say. At 3pm, I got a message from my kids that there had been a horrific fatal accident "outside of Ariel. The roads are blocked in both directions." Click here for report and photos.
"Maybe you should meet one of us in Jerusalem, and we'll take you." My kids suggested.Considering that going via Jerusalem also would include traffic jams and double the distance, I declined.
"The Trans-Samaria Highway is wide road. No doubt it will be cleared by the time I get there."To be honest, I was wrong.
At first it seemed like "business as usual" in Ariel, lots of buses and traffic near the university. I even declined to get on a Petach Tikva bus, because it wasn't going to Morasha, which would give me the quickest and best public transportation to Kfar Saba. Since I couldn't find the bus stop to the direct bus, I waited for the 386, which not only goes to Morasha, but it doesn't do the "grand tour" of Ariel. It's a great bus, but although the electric sign kept saying it was coming, the bus never showed, nor did any other for at least a half an hour. Finally, in desperation I took the next bus to arrive, which was a 296. The driver said that he goes to Yarkon but not Morasha. He warned us that the road was still blocked, and he may need to make a detour.
Actually, even with all the delays, I still had a good chance of being on time. That's how much "extra" time I had allocated to my trip.
The driver was optimistic and even said that it looked like the road had opened. But as we got a few kilometers from the accident scene, all we could see was the long line of lights of cars stuck in traffic. Yes, it was very dark by then. I began to realize that I'd probably be late and arrive long after the joyous "surprise."
When we passed the almost totally burnt up bus, all that remained was the spooky skeleton, I became very grateful for the fact that I was on a functioning bus, sitting comfortably and safely. Gd willing I'd arrive safe and sound, albeit a bit late. It wasn't the end of the world.
At the Yarkon Junction, I quickly caught a bus to Kfar Saba, and one of my kids picked me up to take me the rest of the way. I was glad, because even with the help of Google maps, I'd have trouble finding the house in the dark.
Yes, we walked in after the guest of honor, but it was before the "program." We had a wonderful joyous time. It was no tragedy to be late. It certainly wasn't the end of the world. Everyone was happy to see me and appreciated the efforts I make to attend all events. B"H, going home was easy; we had a ride with one of our kids, who would anyhow have passed Shiloh on the way home.
It's so important to remember to say תפילת הדרך Tefilat Haderech, the Traveler's Prayer when you start a trip. It may not guarantee a safe journey, but it reminds us that all journeys have their potential dangers, and we must thank Gd for our safety.
|Waiting for rides/tremps and buses yesterday, Eli Junction and the Ariel University bus stop|