Thursday, October 15, 2009
What's Love Got To Do With It
i just got woken up by raheli, yosi's secretary. yosi is my cousin who lives in yavneh. his father and my mother were first cousins. his grandfather and my grandmother were brother and sister. they didn't seen each other after my grandmother leah (lina) left poland for america and uncle zvi came to israel. i named my son after zvi and another brother named shalom. actually, my sister came up with that name. the two brothers died without having peace. she thought that this would somehow, psychically and spiritually bring peace to the two brothers. i had already picked out the name zvia leah because i was so sure that i was carrying a girl. but in fact, zvi shalom came into this world instead. i read later on that you should never name someone after two people who do not get along. apparently, this can cause some kind of schizophrenia in the person. anyway, yosi is my insurance agent. we recently, after a long negotiation, revamped the house insurance policy. i realized that i could no longer afford to pay the premium to insure the antique furniture the lifestyle of the rich and famous. they were originally, tante chaya's possessions that mom was given after she passed away. raheli, assaulted my eardrums with her non stop, rapid fire hebrew and went on and on about the policy. it took me a while to realize that it wasn't about my house insurance. i do not do well in hebrew over the phone and especially before i have had a cup of coffee. it has taken me many years to be able to ask people to repeat what they are saying until i can understand what they want from me. i simply hang up on people who won't slow down. raheli explained that this was about health insurance for my sister's daughter who is currently living in N.Y. (an israeli living abroad but maintaining her israeli insurance). apparently, there was a problem and she was given my phone number by someone in my family so i had to deal with it. she aggressively, asked me for my credit card number but was not listening to me and i had to repeat the number three times. kept on asking me if i was sure of the numbers and i kept on asking her how much did the insurance cost but to no avail. i was about to scream at her when she transferred me to another person who started to speak to me in a shrilled rapid fire hebrew and then she began to answer her. so i had two rapid fire hebrew conversations coming at me in stereo and it was a bit of a free for all. the gist of this conversation was that my credit card company had for the umpteenth time, but a stop on the card. i told them to call the credit card company which resulted in more frantic hebrew and a derisive "lo" or a no. so i called up the customer service in california and went through the whole process once again until they reassured me that they would unblock my card in a couple of hours. at least they were polite and very caring. they apologized for the inconvenience and they even asked me how i was doing. i didn't reply because i am not accustomed to social amenities anymore. there is no such thing as customer service here in the holy land. here, when you ask for service they immediately tell you no or that it can't be done. when one raises his voice out of frustration, they up the ante and raise their voice. they then threaten to call the police if you do not leave. by the end of the day they deal with you and then they wish you a good shabbos. we do things a bit differently here in the middle east. i wrestled with the idea of calling back raheli to tell her that i was unable to unblock my card. i then wrestled with the idea of calling my brother-in-law to tell him that my card was blocked and that he had to deal with paying for his daughter's health insurance . some chiddush! (a novel concept). huh! but once again it was zelda to the rescue . i tracked down raheli and told her to try the card again in two hours. she told me once again, that, in no certain terms would she call my credit card company. it reminded of the time when we were closing on our house in zefat and the money had not yet arrived from overseas. we asked the bank clerk to call the bank in america for confirmation of the wired transfer and she told us that she could not call out. she instructed me to leave the bank and go outside to call the bank in america. i was under a lot of pressure as you may imagine, to get the money sorted out. at the time, i did not own a cellphone, nor was there one public phone in zefat that worked. i looked up at the bank clerk and asked if there was some other way to deal with this situation. she took the sandwich that she was chewing on, out of her mouth, and answered with a simple no. she then continued to devour her sandwich. she then turned to me inquisitively, and asked me why i needed so much money. my privacy had been breached and i was feeling violated. but i was so desperate that i told her that we needed the money because were closing on our house in just a few hours. she didn't quite get it. i guess she had never heard of someone paying cash to buy a house, as it is usually done through mortgage banks here. raheli asked me for my cellphone number and would not take my usual no for an answer, lightly. she really tried her best to pressure me into giving out the number. she reminded me that it was already 9:30 am on thursday, and that most israeli offices would be closed on friday. in all fairness, the sabbath does ,come in these days at 5:00m. she then warned me that it would be the weekend in america and that my poor niece could easily, end up without having health insurance. so once again i am sitting in front of my phone and waiting while blogging and wondering how it is already 12:30 p.m and i haven't yet said the morning brachos or had a cup of coffee or brushed my teeth. and my friend michal, the computer maven is coming over any minute to spruce up the blog. and how is it that my whole morning is shot because of my niece's health insurance payment. i had big plans for this morning. i wanted to go to town and straighten out my water bill, sign up at the unemployment office and buy a musical mobile for baby sahar. and why is it always a last minute thing and race to pay the health insurance. this is not a first. actually, this is the third time that i've been saddled with this responsibility this year. i am not a a last minute type of person. i start thinking about purim costumes at chanukah. i always buy the honey for rosh hashana during the three weeks. i like to stock the pantry for pesach even before i finish cleaning the kitchen. and i do not do well with surprises. it's funny, because i don't mind last minute shabbos guests. i can always fit another person in or do a last minute dish. but i do not like dealing under pressure with israeli clerks. i just called the in-law to let him know that my card would be unblocked in a few hours. i did not even get a thank you for my effort and endurance. he didn't even offer to call back raheli in a couple of hours. you probably are thinking what a chutzpah or what a nerve this person has!. and you must be wondering why i continuously put up with this. i also, ask myself why i simply did not tell raheli at the beginning, that she had the wrong number. that probably would not have worked and she probably would have just called me back. so why didn't i just say that i could not help out. why didn't i just call my the in-law and tell him that my credit card was blocked. and why didn't i just tell him to put the shekel equivalent in my bank account. the same way i can't tell the other in-laws that they still owe me for paying their car insurance with my card a few months ago. i am a wimp! and i teach people how to treat me. i can hear Dr.Phil saying :"and how is that working out for you, Zelda?". what can i do ? this is my family and antway, what's love got to do with it?