Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Swirling Thoughts #228 - the mail keeps coming

Every few weeks I collect it.

This system hasn't improved much over the past five years - even if I do try to decipher the important looking stuff and even if my kids actually sit and read the magazines/circulars that arrive in Hebrew.  For some reason, I'm just never in a rush to collect a pile of making-me-feel-stupid.

As luck would have it, the last mail pickup contained an ominous looking letter from the government. I've been expecting an ominous letter from the police for about a year regarding a ticket I think I protested. (I think I protested it because even though I sent it in, and even called to follow up and was told not to do anything until I am contacted, I'm pretty sure once they do contact me it will be to put me in jail for failure to pay the fine or properly protest the ticket). So I naturally assumed the ominous government letter was my police letter. I decoded words like PAY and CANCELLED and LICENSE. There were deadlines - dates that had, of course, long passed while said scary letter sat in the mailbox. Also, the letter was addressed only to me. I showed it to Bob. 
"That looks scary."
"I know! I think it's from the police. I think they want to put me in jail. Can you read it?"
"You go to ulpan! What does it say?"
"I don't know. It doesn't look good."
"Let's remember to ask one of our Israeli friends."
"Good idea."

A few days later Bob was sitting with some of his Israeli friends drinking Turkish coffee and teasing me about my never ending ulpan experience. Suddenly I remembered the letter and brought it out for elucidation. The friends took turns looking it over.

As they read, they muttered words like licensing bureau, drivers license, registration, penalty and payment. After about 5 minutes of intense study - maybe these letters are not so easy for Hebrew speakers to understand either! Could it be?? - they agreed that the letter was telling me my inspection and emissions test was overdue (by a good three months) and that I need to take care of it asap.  Me.

"Inspection and emissions test?"

"Oh...." Bob seemed to go into a deep fog. "There was something..... I think I saw it in the mail the last time....."

Needing a quick answer, I started drilling his friends.
"Is this about me?"
"No, it's about the car."
"Is my license expired?"
"I don't think so."
"Do i need to go to the licensing bureau?"
"No - to the post office!"
"Of course. Am i going to jail?"

Okay, not so bad. By the end of the week Bob had found the original notice and taken the car to the garage to see if we could do the test even though our tail light was broken. He was told we need to replace the tail light. 1300 nis. This is not the garage ripping us off. This is the price for a Chevy tail light in Israel (~$375). Bob asked the garage if we could just tape it with duct tape. They told him he could try but that he would most likely fail the inspection. Not definitely. But most likely.

Later that day I asked him, "What made you think you could tape a tail light with duct tape and pass the inspection? That's so third world! Where do you think we live?"
"I don't know," he answered, "but I feel like I saw it somewhere."

Three weeks later (and one $70 tail light smuggled back in a suitcase from America), we are the proud bearers of a new inspection sticker, the whole episode nearly forgotten. And then today I went to the hardware store to buy some duct tape for Asher's Purim costume. And what do you know. This is the picture on the box of duct tape:

Did I say three weeks later? Ugh. Time to get the mail


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