Monday, January 23, 2012

The Driving Lesson

Today Meir the Driving Teacher picked us up for our one and only driving lesson.  Our test is on Thursday.

Now I've been driving for approximately 41 years or so (stop doing the math in your heads - I'm 57) so it was a little weird to be in a car with a driving instructor again. 

Meir is a very nice man and was great about teaching us what the signs mean, how, when you make a left onto a one way road you have to turn into the left hand lane and THEN signal to go to the right hand lane (you'll get a headache figuring that one out in your head)

But there are a couple of things that were kind of amusing.  First if all, every once in a while, he would grab the steering wheel and turn it in the direction he wanted me to drive.  Now I don't know about you but I am not a fan of having the steering wheel jerked out of my hand while I'm trying to control a moving vehicle. 

Secondly, he kept telling us to show down.  He's right, the driving tester will probably be watching our speed very carefully but after 4 decades of driving I know how to control a car at say, 5 miles over the speed limit.  I felt like I was 15 again when he said, "Slow down, it's not a race." 

Then, he kept comparing US driving regulations to Israeli ones.  Um, in case you can't guess the Israelis came out as winners every time.  "HA!," he said, "in Israel we have stop signs at all of the traffic lights in case the traffic light is out.  You don't have that in the US do you?  Of course not, becasue if a traffic light goes out in America, it magically gets fixed immediately!  We don't have such money here to do that."  

And he was very proud (rightly so, I might add - the US could learn a thing or two) about the Israeli traffic circles, which seem to be on every other corner.  He kept admiring them and asking us if America has such things.

He also wanted to know about the Jewish communities in Baltimore and Philadelphia - as a dati man, he was interested in the religious communities and how many people lived in them.  He also thought the Liberty Bell was in Baltimore, but hey, he was teaching someone who can only barely get from one neighborhood in Modiin to another without getting hopelessly lost, so I can't fault him there.

In the end, he taught us well and now we only have to pass the test.  Hahahaha!  ONLY is the wrong word.  From what I've heard about the testers, they can be extremely tough.  We plan to do a lot of driving around the area in the next two days to prepare for our test.  Wish us luck.

On the apartment front, apparently the bank has yet to issue some release which the builder than takes to Jerusalem (I'm sure by the very slowest road possible - better yet, maybe the regulation is that he has to walk it there - backwards) and does something with it and THEN, ONLY THEN we MIGHT get our keys.  Right now we have told the port to deliver our stuff on Wednesday, but we'll see if that happens.

In the meantime we are living with our kids and it is not easy on anyone.  We love them and they love us, but no one needs to have live-in guests for going on 3 weeks.  But I have to say that they have been more than gracious, and we love them for it.  And we do get to hug grandchildren any time we want.

One side benefit is that Nadav, our youngest grandson, who is about 20 months old, no longer runs away screaming when he sees us.  He has gotten used to us hanging around, he probably figures that we are fixtures now since for some reason we took his room away from him and are not giving it back, and has even allowed us to play with him.  When we do move, he'll probably walk around looking for us.

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