The truth is: I am here in Jerusalem to watch RHJ play soccer. He is good at it; is co-captain of his team. And I complain about it sometimes, because complaining is de rigeur for someone like me whose stock in trade is her Sahara dryness. But I love watching him play. I actually like the game itself, and also it is fun for me to listen to the other players’ families talk about how talented he is; I love watching his power and prowess on the field. Mostly, I enjoy much he enjoys it.
The first match of the tournament is one I am meant to attend with RHJ’s parents, and we are set to watch USA Masters vs. Australia Masters at the Israeli National Team’s practice field for an 11am game in the mid-day sun. I am happy to attend with RHJ’s parents, whom I have come to adore, but we are all less than thrilled about the mid-day game. Regardless, I dutifully meet them at their hotel and we take a taxi to the field.
Getting to the field is confusing, RHJ warns before he leaves for his game, Here is a screenshot of the google map and additional directions. Make sure they know where they are going. I sent these to my dad as well.
I do not heed his warning as thoroughly as I should, and this is the first of many mistakes I will make today.
The directions themselves and also the screenshot prove useless because the taxi driver speaks only Arabic, and also it is Israel, where everything is menacingly ambiguous. So we are dropped off at the top of a long drive, on a high hill, at precisely the wrong field at the athletic complex, which was what RHJ had tried to prevent.
So here I am, on a high hill, in the middle of Jerusalem in the blazing sun, with RHJ’s parents who are inexplicably toting two lawn chairs (where and why did they even get these things?!); with no easy way to get down to the correct field (and no clear idea of which one even IS the right field); with no way to contact anyone who would know which field is the right one; and absolutely no Plan B.
I am a lawyer; I am a problem solver. I have no choice but to figure this one out. This is on me: Think, Mouse. Think.
I decide to leave RHJ’s parents in a tiny patch of parking lot shade at the top of the hill, sitting in the aforementioned Inexplicable Lawn Chairs which have suddenly, magically become useful and I run down the hill, where I think I spot men in the uniforms of RHJ’s team. The challenge here is that most teams are in some combination of red, white, and blue, and all the teams are composed of middle-aged Jewish men.
How the hell am I supposed to find these guys?
I get lucky – the team at the bottom of the hill is their team. So I pick my way back up and retrieve the parents. We fold the lawn chairs and we use them as climbing poles to thread our way down to the lower field.
Upon arrival at the correct field, we discover that the Australians have taken all the seats in the shade. RHJ’s mother tells an Australian woman that her child probably does not need a seat, but she does not realise that Aussies are impervious to suggestion. The woman does not budge. Defeated, we sit separately and I wind up next to a woman who has two kids who hit each other and me for the duration of the match.
The mother of the little ones has also not brought them any water, and they are complaining about it. Should I give them mine? RHJ’s mother asks me. I want to tell her that we should let them go thirsty, as they knock me for the millionth time, but I smile, and she magnanimously hands them her unopened water bottle. She is a better woman than I am.
Once the children have slaked their thirst, they resume their game of beating the shit out of each other.
At the conclusion of the match (we win 2-1), RHJ takes the bus with his team back to the Mount Zion Boutique Hotel and Mental Hospital, and I am left to a) find the driver, and b) get RHJ’s parents back up the hill. Through some combination of sheer force of will, magical lawn chairs, and a merciful God, the taxi driver is located and RHJ’s parents and I make our way back to their hotel without any further incident.
It is then that I fully discover that being a WAG at the Jewish Olympics is really a trip and not a vacation.