Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Don't Answer the Door

Yesterday there was a knock at the door.  Thinking it was someone I knew and was expecting I opened it with a big smile.

It was a man. Speaking Hebrew. I did not know him.

After his first sentence, I responded with my famous, ever-popular retort, "Mah?"  Now somehow from the way I say "Mah" and probably from the profoundly empty look on my face he figured he'd better slow down.  So he asked if I have a television.

That's right.  "Yesh lachem televizia?"  And then he showed me some kind of ID.  Now I've read enough to know that you don't let someone in your apartment just because he has an ID.  I mean he could have faked it.  So what did I do? 

I let him in my apartment.  As I did I saw in my head about 50 headlines in tomorrow's newspaper about the stupid woman who let some guy into her apartment because he had an ID.

These are the thoughts that were running through my head:

  1. He wants to steal my television.
  2. He wants to steal other things.
  3. He is from the cable company, but then he would have known I have a TV.
  4. He wants to take my television away for some reason.

See none of these are happy thoughts.  When I answered in the affirmative, he walked, nay, strode, into my apartment and said, "Ayfo?"  [where is it]  And he showed me the paper that had my name on it, my address, and my identity number.  I felt a little better, thinking this is something official, I just don't know what.

Me, being a modern gal all into women's rights and standing up for myself, answered his question by meekly pointing down the hall.  I think I set the women's movement back two decades at least.

He went into the room with the television and looked at it.  He started talking and waved a paper at me - he had a stack of them with different people's names on them.  I did not understand one word he said.

He asked me when we moved in.  That I could answer, so I told him. 

He filled out something, tore off a form and handed it to me.  Then he pointed at the bottom of the paper and used one word I definitely know - "l'shalem" [to pay].

Then he asked me to sign something and looked at me seriously - that made me really nervous.  Then he said shalom and left.

I sat down, shaking with nervousness about this.  What did I just sign?  I could just hear my kids asking me why I didn't ask them before I signed this - and having to go from court to court and office to office to undo whatever horror I'd just brought upon myself.

OK, I'm going to read the letter.  Calm down.  I look through the letter and see the words for "law" and "lawyer"!  Oh no, I think I've just signed some kind of agreement and someone is going to sue me or I am going to have to sue someone else.  I hear my husband saying, "You can't just sign things!"

More and more nervous.  OK, it seems to say I have to pay something, but why.  Start translating (yay Morfix!).  The letterhead is from the Ministry of Broadcasting.  Hmmmm.  I read some more and then Gila arrives and I ask her if "THE MAN" came to visit her too, but she'd been out.  I show her the letter and it seems that all is ok.

This is just the man who assesses your TV so that you can.....

....wait for it....


Yes, there is a television tax!    Lucky for us our TV and apartment are new - apparently, if I read it correctly (stop laughing), if you have had your TV since 2005 you have to pay over 4600 shekel - our fee was 221.  I'm sure I read it wrong, that can't be, can it?

Anyway, I go to the website and, like a good citizen, pay the tax.

If someone comes in tomorrow asking if I have windows......

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