Thursday, July 22, 2010

Meet Itzik. The Guy Who Fixed My Car. A Truly Israeli Story. Part I

Last week I ate the most expensive falafel ever. It cost me 1,017 shekel. 17 shekel for the falafel - it was an "aish tanur" the big kind, and 1,000 shekel to pay for the huge dent that resulted when I tried to park my car.
I called my insurance, and decided to have the car fixed in a garage in Petach Tikvah, which is a little out of my way on my drive to work. I GoogleMapped, and found a place in close proximity to a car rental agency.
I arrive at the body shop on Sunday morning, and meet Itzik. (For those of you interested in learning Hebrew, the word for "body shop" is פחחות. pachechut. Now you know.) Itzik is probably seventy, with a narrow mustache that was popular in the 40s. Maybe. He's got an intercom up to his secretary in the office from the 70s. To get up to the office you climb up a narrow, rickety, spiral staircase. I'm quite sure Itzik hasn't been up there in years.
"You're Elkana?" he asks me. I am. They were expecting me.
I show Itzik the car, and point out another dent on the other side of the car, asking if he can fix it. He first offers 450 shekel, and when I point out that he needs not paint the whole door, he brings the price down to 300 shekel. (For the main accident, which required the replacement of my door, I had a 1,000 shekel deductible.) Itzik's secretary, Chana, arranged a rental car, and Itzik got into his car to drive me there. As we're getting in the car I ask him, "Shouldn't you give me some kind of receipt?" After all, I was leaving a very expensive car with someone who I'd met not ten minutes before.
Itzik laughed. He really laughed, kind of involuntarily, as if to say, "You stupid American. What, you don't trust me?" What could I do? I left the car. No receipt. He seemed nice enough.

To be continued...