By Hannah Reich Berman

After losing my Camry in the October flood, I was forced to replace it with another vehicle. Without giving much thought to it, I leased another Toyota Camry, a car I’ve been driving for several years. I like that car. The color of my last one was red and I went for the same color again. One does not get a total choice of color, as the colors change from year to year. My old Camry was a deep dark red that fell into the burgundy shade, but the one I just leased is different. It’s a candy-apple red, which I positively love, despite the fact that one of my more critical daughters snidely remarked that I look like I’m driving around in a tomato! I’m not a black, gray, or beige person. Vivid color is my bag!

Mechanics is not a topic I know anything about, so I leave that up to the experts. My favorite expert was Hubby, of course, but since he is no longer with me, this time I was forced to rely on past safety performance. It never occurred to me that, like color, ratings on cars also change. I signed that car lease in November and today, in mid-December, I learned that the Camry received the lowest rating in a new “small overlap” frontal crash test. How lucky can one person be? The only thing I can do now is to do what I have always done, which is to drive with caution.

I seem to be late on the uptake. Just today I learned that Ankara, Turkey, was the one place on earth that was to survive the expected apocalypse. According to the Mayan calendar, the world as we know it would cease to exist. The key words here might be as we know it. It’s possible that the world would be better. Who knows? To be honest, I don’t even know what the Mayan calendar is, and I make no apology for that lack of knowledge. I know what I know and I won’t pretend otherwise. I have of course heard of it, and if memory serves me correctly, there was some nod to it in my high-school educational curriculum, but apparently I wasn’t paying much attention at the time.

When I heard about the prediction of the coming apocalypse, I looked for a definition on Google, but, as my attention span remains somewhat limited, I got bored before I finished reading the explanation. So I still don’t know what the Mayan calendar is all about. I have enough trouble keeping track of the Gregorian and Hebrew calendars. There is no way I will pay attention to the Mayan one. Let the modern-day Mayans, many of whom live in Guatemala, worry about that calendar!

Just as with the news about the Camry, the news of the coming apocalypse came to me late. Had I known that the world was about to end, I might have made an effort to do some of those things we all have on our lists but never get to. For starters, I would have bought a ticket for Ankara. But it’s too late for that; as I write this, it is Thursday evening, and if I boarded a plane tomorrow I wouldn’t make it there in time for Shabbos. There’s only one thing left for me to do–tell my family once again how much I love them all and how much they mean to me. Then I could treat myself to something I have denied myself for many years, a vanilla ice-cream sundae with hot fudge and walnuts. I would skip the pretty red cherry on top, because I hate those Maraschino things.

Of course, if the world doesn’t come to an end, I will be faced with the fact that, having sinfully consumed all those calories, I set my diet back a week and gained five pounds. On the other hand, bulking up isn’t all bad, because if I have more weight on me I might be safer in (G‑d forbid) a front-end crash. In every cloud there is a silver lining!

And one of those linings just appeared in the second cloud; December 21 has passed, and the world, as we have always known it, is apparently still in place! That’s the way it is. v

Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and is a licensed real-estate broker associated with Marjorie Hausman Realty. She can be reached at or 516-902-3733.


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