April 25, 2013

Fax Is Not A Friendly Word

It’s been one of those weeks; lots of long working hours speckled with frustration Israeli style. In this country, the simpler the task, the more complex it is to complete. (Maybe since reading and writing are backwards here, everything else follows suit.)

Take, for example, the bank. Banks do not keep regular hours here. Not only are they irregular, they are different each day. I wanted to open an account for my son. Simple, right? Well, when I compare his free hours to the bank’s opening hours, I am left with about fifteen minutes. 

One afternoon, he sauntered in from school early. I barked at him before he could even open the fridge. “The bank is open. Let’s run for it.”

We simply wanted to give the bank our money and sat down with the teller. She asked me for I.D. I gave her my bank card, the same card I have been using at this bank for eight years.

Teuda zeut?” she asked. I handed it to her.

“Where’s the picture?” she asked, smirking at my crumpled identity card.

Feeling like a child who forgot to do her homework, I confessed. “I lost it,” I said, rifling through all the cards in my wallet, hoping it would magically appear. “Here. Take my driver’s license. It has a photo.”

She frowned. This card was not good enough for the Israeli bank, even though it was acceptable to the electoral system when recently I cast a ballot using my driver’s license.

“You cannot open an account for your son without your teudah zeut. Go to the Misrad HaPanim, get a new card and then come back.”

I gulped. The words Misrad HaPanim were akin to purgatory. One could spend an entire day in that office without seeing a clerk. (My husband has been so frustrated waiting there, he has even offered people cash to snatch their place in line.)

I will not go to the Misrad HaPanim…so I guess my son may just have to wait until he is an adult before he gets a bank account.

One day later I found out that I had to make an appointment at the hospital for an out patient procedure. Simple, right?  I was given a form by a doctor and then called the  hospital only to be told that one cannot make an appointment over the phone. I have to fax in the referral form.

Fax? That is not a friendly word around here; our fax machine doesn’t work.
Freshly picked.

So we call the computer guy. He comes over, fixes it and finally, I fax the form. One day goes by, then two and then three. No appointment. I call back. No answer. I call another number only to be told that there is a special number to call to see if the fax has been received. If and when I do get this appointment, I am told that I must go to the health provider’s office with my form and get another form to take to the hospital.

Baaa. Sheep grazing in Herzliya Pituach.
Looks like I may not get to that hospital until my son opens a bank account. Looks like neither of these will happen until,  as my grandfather used to say, “Shabbos the fortnight.”

Which brings me to the point of this rambling tale. Whenever I feel frustrated, I head to the beach. Just a ten-minute drive or a twenty-minute bike ride away, the beach provides pure, simple bliss.

No photo IDs required. No faxes to fix. No clerks to cluck. Just bare feet, warm sand and sparkling surf; the perfect antidote to a long week.

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