Monday, May 14, 2012

They Got Me

Remember the story about the gas station in Beit Shemesh?  And the one about driving on the wrong side of the road in Modiin?

What did those stories have in common?  You in the back there with the blue shirt!  Right!  They all involved the police who are out to get me.

Done.  Check that one off the list.  The entire police force of the State of Israel can sit back and relax because Soozannnn Libteg has been ticketed.

Today I was driving home from Ulpan and noticed something on my windshield. "Wow, I thought, that looks like a ticket!  But of course it can't be!"

When I got home I pulled said item out from under the wiper blade.  Yup, it was a ticket. 

You know how when something happens your brain tries to make sense of it, tries to find a reason for it (like when the earthquake happened in Baltimore and I thought it was a big truck outside]?  Well, the first thing I thought was that I had somehow parked badly at Ulpan.  But I park in the same place every day. "Ah," I thought, "you are not supposed to park in front of the 'don't walk here walk there' metal sidewalk barriers, that's it!"

So I read the ticket and it says it was issued on May 10.  That was last Thursday.  Lag B'Omer.  And where was it issued?  Rishon Lezion, at the beach.  This is where my "there must be a reason for this" brain kicks into even higher gear.

Waiiiiiiiit a minute.  They issue the ticket in Rishon LeZion on May 10 and they just put it on my windshield today in Modiin?  How did they find me?

Did they write up the ticket, take it home with them, and then follow me for 4 days until I got out of the car at Ulpan, then stick it on my windshield and run away giggling? 

Do they follow everyone everywhere and surprise them with tickets for old offenses?  How can this be?  I mean I've washed my windshield at least 3 times in the past 4 days, surely I'd have seen it!

I was (this is a fun word so I'm going to use it) flummoxed. 

First thing I did was go home and pay it - online, of course.  100 shekel, not so bad.

But still I was scratching my head over this one.  And I had another mystery to solve.  I had just checked my mail and there was a bill from the City of Modiin for 100 shekel.  Come on, what is this, guys? 

So I look at the bill and cannot figure out what it is for.  I'm only kind of a sucker, I'm not going to pay this bill if I don't know what it's for.  Then I look at the address - correct!  Then I look at the name on the bill.  Incorrect!  Then I read more carefully - it is a bill for my child's after-school care.  Well, my two grown, married daughters don't actually need afternoon care anymore (although I think they might enjoy it) so I wrote something in Hebrew on the letter and put it back near the mailbox so that the mailman can ignore it and not deliver it and some poor shmo will not realize that his kid is not signed up for the program.  And as a good neighbor I did look up the person's name in the phone book but he was not listed.

Back to the traffic ticket.  Seems that the Israeli parking meter watchers and ticketers like to fold up tickets into teensy weensy sizes and stuff them into your windshield as deeply as they can go.  I don't mean to sound cynical, but I think they don't want you to find it so that they can charge you a late fee.  Other people have since told me that this has happened to them as well.

Out of this story came some good advice from friends about paying for parking in new and ingenious ways here in the Holy Land - apparently there are cards you can buy, and transponders (like EZ Pass) that you can put money on and use to pay for municipal parking. 

My luck the transponder won't work and I'll end up in prison.

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