Between “Best Coffee” and “Ka’3k!”

About every morning for the past few months, I would sit on the same coffee table at my favorite coffee shop in the city, turn on my laptop to do some work, people watch, and sip some cold coffee.

And on these mornings, one of the tourist carriages (a carriage with tourists and a tour guide) would pass by and the tour guide would yell, “Best coffee in the city!” She’d wave at me, and the tourists would also wave along with her, and I’d wave back.

It took me about a month to think of what this encounter reminded me of. There was yelling, and there was food, but who was yelling and what the food was I could not pinpoint.

And then, it struck me! It was a Saturday morning, and the tourist carriage passed by again. She yelled, “Best coffee in the city!” She waved. The tourists waved. I waved back. And as I began to turn my attention to the work I was doing, my eye caught someone eating a croissant.

Aha! I heard it.

I heard the ka’3k* man. He was yelling “ka’3k! Ka’3k!” through the quiet streets on a Friday morning. I heard my mother telling my sibling to run across the street and go buy some. She’d place a shiny 5 NIS coin in his hand, and he – barely woken up – would walk grumpily up the hill to the next street and buy ka’3k from the man yelling “Ka’3k! Ka’3k!”

Every time the same carriage passes by, that is what I think of, and for a few seconds, I feel welcomed. I feel like there’s a routine, and isn’t home, sometimes, a routine?

*Ka’3k is an oval or round shaped bread with sesame seeds on it, often eaten with falafel or zeit o za’atar. My favorite ka’3k is that of Jerusalem’s.

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