Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Gush in a Moment

Tonight after Shabbat, Mr. T asked me to take the car to the gas station at Tzomet ha'Gush (the sort of central point where there's a grocery store, some restaurants, electronics shop and more) while he and iBoy ran the compost down the street. Not feeling a 100 percent but needing some fresh air after spending most of the day in bed, I zipped down the 60 to the well-lit gas station and pulled into the full-service lane.

Israeli gas stations still make me very nervous, I don't know why, but they're different than in the U.S. while living in New Jersey, I had to get used to the mandatory full-service fill-ups because it was state law that you simply couldn't get out of your car and fill yourself up on your own. But there, it was a simple process. You handed them your card or money, they filled it up, that was that.

Here, they ask you if you want them to check your oil (and even if you don't, they will), and tonight the attendant, Ishmael, asked if I wanted something to drink or maybe purchase something to eat. It was a slow night at the gas station -- the only people floating around were IDF soldiers, both those dressed down with guns slung about their backs and those dressed in full military garb, including a medical vehicle with an Ethiopian troupe in it.

I thanked the man, signed my receipt, and as I started to turn the car on, he shocked me.
Shavua tov!
I responded, stuttering, with the same greeting. It was surprising and completely unsuspected. I smiled and pulled away.

This, folks, is what I love about the Gush. This man, Ishmael, clearly not Jewish, offering up the classic Jewish Saturday night greeting. It makes me want to learn something worthwhile for my Muslim and Arab neighbors, something to say in response to show a "thanks" for caring enough to notice who I am, how I live, and the state in which we live.

That is the Gush, in a moment.