Sunday, February 24, 2013

Just Sign Here...

This might be the ultimate oleh chadash (new immigrant) story.

About a month ago we had a week of terrible rainstorms, hail, etc.  It basically rained heavily for a week.  Israel is not made for rain like that so there was a lot of flooding.  In addition, lots of people had water damage.  We were lucky - even though we are on the top floor, right under the roof in other words, we only had one spot which developed mold at the end of that week.

We called the builder, since they are still responsible for the construction, and they sent a very nice man over to take a look.  He went into each apartment in the building to assess any water damage, took notes, and said he'd be back.  We did not expect to ever see him again, and since we are such experienced Israelis, we are used to this.  As Donny says, "If he said he'll be back that means he won't be back."

Well, color us surprised when he did come back. 

Like most of the employees of the construction company, this man is an Arab.  And like all of the employees we've come in contact with, he's very nice and helpful.  He came to the door and I answered.

This is how the conversation went (all in Hebrew, ahem):

  • Man: Hello!  How are you?
  • Me: Fine, how are you?
  • Man: Great!  So I finished the work, just make a list of what I did and sign it.
  • Me: Huh?
  • Man: Just make a list of what I did and sign it.
  • Me: Huh? Bern!
  • Bern:  OK, what do we need to do.
  • Man: Just make a list of what I did and sign it. This is what I did [incomprehensible incomprehensible incomprehensible]
  • Bern: Huh?
  • Man: Just get a piece of paper and I'll tell you what to write.

OK, I know what you are all thinking.  Listen, if someone comes to your door and tells you to write down the repairs he's made and then sign the paper and you sign it, you're an idiot.

We agree.  And we felt like idiots.  But it comes to a point where you throw your hands up in the air.  I mean it's hard enough to argue in English, but in Hebrew? Fuhgeddaboudid.

So begins the dictation.  Now, the Arab man is not literate in Hebrew, in that he speaks it but cannot write it.  So let me paint the scene for you:

  • Bern writing on a piece of scrap paper everything the man says.
  • Man using words we do not know (technical house repair words we've never heard of or that he is making up.)
  • Bern asking the man to spell the words.
  • Man cannot spell the words because he cannot write Hebrew.
  • Man saying the words loudly hoping that makes up for his lack of spelling talent.
  • Bern giving up and writing the words he THINKS he hears the man say.
  • Man looking at the paper, not knowing if it is right since he apparently can't read Hebrew, and saying it looks fine.
  • Bern signing the paper.

I'm guessing that we did a very stupid thing.  But hey, it rained last week and we didn't have any mold! 

Oh, sorry, I guess you assumed I'd write about Purim.  It was awesome.  Nothing like it in the States because the kids are into it for about a week, and on the day before they all go to school in their costumes.  And almost all of the adults dress up here, religious or not - it's like a national dress up holiday.

But really, the story about the illegal legal document was so much more interesting...

No comments:

Post a Comment