Having picked up and moved to a new state three times (Georgia, New York, and the State of Israel), I am often described by my father as a risk-taker. However, no one should confuse me with Evil Knievel or any other daredevils. I got scared on the Mini-Mine Train at Six Flags, I haven’t bungee jumped, and no amount of money could persuade me to skydive. So to what do I attribute my adrenaline rush from Saturday afternoon?
I made tentative plans with my friend Rachely (seen here) to see her and her family who I haven’t seen since Year Course. Saturday afternoon she called me and invited me to her brother’s house who lives fairly close to the beach, maybe a 20 or 25 minute walk from my place. However, by the time Rachely called me, we were running late and there are no buses on Shabbat. How in the world was I going to make it in time??? (Insert suspenseful music, ignoring the possibility of taxis.) Well, my loyal readers, I, Benji Lovitt, for the first time…rode a tustus.
The tustus, or scooter/moped, is a popular form of transportation in Tel Aviv. It gets you where you want to go and is infinitely easier to park in this busy city. And it’s also fun to say “toos-toos”. Try it!
Rachely picked me up near my apartment and handed me a helmet. As I put it on, visions of “Easy Rider” went through my head. Well, that or the blood-curdling scream soon to be emitted from yours truly. Ok, so I was excited but again, I hadn’t done anything remotely like that. Lemme tell ya…once you put that helmet on, it does something to you. “GET YOUR MOTOR RUNNING!” I grabbed the handles on either side of me and we took off. “HEAD OUT ON THE HIGHWAY!” It was amaaaaaaaaaazing! Driving through the streets of Tel Aviv, wind in your…um, helmet (work with me here)…what a rush! First of all, from a purely transportational standpoint, it was incredible to feel the city shrink as we crossed it in only a few minutes. And of course, in regards to pure fun, it was incredible. Think about the difference between driving a normal car…and a convertible. It’s almost fundamentally different; although you’re getting from one place to another in an automobile, everything we know about cars is that we are in them, us safely away from what’s going on out there. Convertibles remove that separation; it’s at least one small step closer to flying. Well, the tustus gets you even closer. I’m not justifying the behavior of Ben Roethlisberger (the Super Bowl winning quarterback who famously and stupidly almost killed himself riding a motorcycle in the off-season WITHOUT A HELMET) but I can understand why he and other thrill-seeking athletes feel the need to ride motorcycles.
As we approached the stopped cars at the traffic light, Rachely made her way between them to the front of the line. She could tell I was nervous when I squeezed my legs close to the bike around her. Really though, after 3 seconds, any nerves passed.
It was a lot of fun. Don’t worry, Mom and Dad, I’m not going to buy one (although Hanukkah IS coming up…hmmm.)
More updates coming soon!