This is my 200th post and I can't think of a more appropriate moment to share at such a milestone. (just imagine the balloons, confetti and trumpets here)
Last week I realized that our car wasn't running smoothly -- actually my husband noticed it but I am not supposed to mention him in my blog, so I am taking full credit for the astute observations about the car.
I took my old car to my new garage where, naturally, there are no English speakers. I could go back to my old garage and speak English -- but at an additional 100% mark-up on all the work. Therefore going to a hebrew-only garage at half the price is, in my mind, worth the extra effort on my part. Trust me, I can make myself understood and the guy who owns the garage simply proceeds as if I understand everything he says. He knows that I don't but acknowledging that would unnecessarily complicate his day.
After I explained my problem in remarkably clear hebrew, we agreed that I would bring the car back the next morning. Satisfied with my successful hebrew conversation, I headed off to the grocery store. For those of you who know me well, the grocery store first thing Wednesday morning is my religion. It would take World War III to move me from this routine.
To make a long story short. At the entrance to the grocery store parking lot, I had a crash with a driver who unfortunately had the right of way despite the fact that he was driving too fast, talking on the phone and definitely not paying attention. I saw him coming, stopped in panic -- in the middle of the intersection. Oh spare me the "you should have" comments.
He yelled. I yelled. We both moved our cars out of the way. We exchanged insurance information and left. My car spent the next two days getting a beautiful new front bumper -- but in the back of my head I knew I had missed my original mechanic's appointment.
After I picked up my newly bumpered car this morning, I drove directly to the mechanic because despite the new bumper, the car was still idling roughly.
When I walked in to the garage, my mechanic looked at me with what I can only call mild Israeli indifference. I jump over a few grease spots and some cables to get to him and I said (in hebrew): "I'm sorry I missed my appointment but after I left you the other day I had a big crash and my car had to get a new bumper. But I still have the other problem and I want to bring my car on Sunday. I am really sorry about the other day."
Simple enough. Genuine. Full of regret. Blah, Blah, Blah.
Well, here's the response I got. Keep in mind that my mechanic was ranting, not yelling:
"You live in Israel now! Stop saying you're sorry. In Israel, people keep appointments. People don't keep appointments. People come late. People come on the wrong day. They don't call. That is what Israelis do. And you have to stop being an American!"
And with that, his little "Welcome to Israel" speech was over. More important, I should have just left it at that, but I never do. So, I said to him: "But I am not an American. I'm a Canadian."
"Oh," he said with a slight knowing smile. "That explains why you are so nice."
And I still have an appointment for Sunday!