Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gas Masks

Last week I received an email from the Modiin Olim liaison, a wonderful woman named Cherie. She wrote to the entire olim community informing us that we should order gas masks.

This did not upset me.  I know, it sounds scary, but after all we all live in apartments and homes with "mamad" rooms that are constructed to keep us safe from an attack.  So why should ordering a gas mask feel scarier?

Anyway, back to the amusing part of the story.  The email included a link to the Post Office website's form for ordering the gas masks.  Yes, the Post Office, which seems to serve as the official government site for anything happening in the area.  We went there to pay for our driver's license, after all.  Makes sense, right?  Don't answer that.

So I dutifully filled out the order form (in Hebrew, folks) and hit "send."  About an hour later I received a phone call with someone speaking very quickly in Hebrew.  I assumed this was the call from the gas mask distribution office. But she spoke so fast that after ,"Hallo, Suzan?" I was lost.  I asked her to speak in English.  She hesitated, and then said (I think) that she'd transfer me to someone else.

After which I heard a dial tone.

Oh, she must have meant that she would have someone else call me.  I THINK this phone call was about the gas masks, but who knows,.  So I waited for the phone call.  Which never came.

No problem, I thought, I'll fill out the form again.  Done.  No one gets back to me.
No problem, I thought, I'll fill out the form in English this time, so they know that the person filling it out needs to speak to somene in English.  No one gets back to me.

That was over a week ago.  Yesterday I got fed up and wrote back to the olim liaison asking her what to do.  She said you have to go to the post office and order the gas masks in person.

So, veteran Israeli that I am, I look up the post office website and find my branch, and then check out their hours.  As I've said before, the hours when a place of business is open varies from day to day, week to week, and store to store.

My post office is open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30-12:30, then from 3:30-6:00.  On Tuesday, only 8:30-1:00.  On Friday..... well, you get the idea.  My daughter gave me the idea of taking pictures of the store hour signs wherever I go, which is pretty smart.

So my big plan is to go to the post office and order the gas masks tomorrow, which is the first day this week I don't have Ulpan and can get there in time.  Of course I have to do this in Hebrew.  I've been memorizing the word for gas mask for 24 hours now, but you can be sure I'll start mumbling and will forget the word and end up looking lost and saying, "Gas mask?" after which the post office person may or may not understand me.

I may just walk out of there with stamps.

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