Israel – a Different Reality
Only after my parents said goodbye after a long brunch with an old friend, who also was visiting her daughter in Jerusalem, (which my father generously paid with his credit card) they together had toured the new Cinema City and then my parents had boarded the bus to Beitar, where I live, did they notice my father’s wallet was missing.
My father remembered the nightmare he experienced in New York when his credit card had been copied through his wallet and back pocket. He since replaced his wallet with a metal holder so that couldn’t happen again. Another time he was pickpocketed, and not only did he have to inform all the credit cards (and carefully go through the bills for months), but he needed to replace all his identity cards (driving license, library card and etc.) and had to deal with the reality of identity theft and loss of some money. So although my father is not an arduous person, he convinced the driver to let him off just a few meters away from where they had gotten on the bus, which is pretty unheard of.
After returning to the building, in spite of their panic, they were aware, appreciated and enamored by the storekeepers’ diligence to help. The proprietors had made a special effort to help them locate the missing wallet; especially the waffle restaurant owner (even though they hadn’t eaten there). Mr. Waffle man escorted them around the complex eventually taking them to security, who seeing how upset my parents were applied the first aide immediately by offering them sympathy, concern and a cup of coffee. Security took their job seriously and reviewed the last hour of videos with my parents looking for anything suspicious.
Only after spending quite a time searching, my parents gave up finding it and walked back to the bus-stop continually searching the floor just in case they would find it lying on the sidewalk. Only after they boarded, feeling totally dejected by the loss, they started making a plan; which credit cards to call first as soon as they got back to my home, where the information they needed was stored.
Then they called me, sounding rejected and a bit anxious of the amount of work they needed to face as well as the fear of any real loss of money and identity – again.
My father charitably told over how generous everyone had been, from the waffle man to the security and even mentioning the man on the bus who gave him his seat when they were on the bus the first time.
I tried to reassure my father telling him’ not to worry, I’m sure we would find the wallet.’ He, of course, thought I was not only trying to placate him but he realized the reality of the minuteness of that possibility. But what he didn’t know is that is America (and most places) reality, is not Israel’s.
A number of times I have had a wallet, phone, bus card not only returned, but even found and identified before I even knew it was missing. (And I know many others who have had the same experience.) In fact, one time I really did have my wallet stolen. Two weeks after the event, a man called and asked me if I had ever been in the ‘Joint building’. I told him, although I worked close to that building, I had never had the pleasure of actually being inside. He then told me that he found in the water tank of men’s bathroom in the Joint my wallet with all my credit cards, licenses sans cash! He had taken it home, dried it and returned it to me at work. I even once lost my phone, which my husband discovered when he tried calling me and an Arab answered. My husband, not even sounding the bit worried, just asked the Arab man, “Where did she lose it this time?” (I later picked it up at the bus’s lost and found that very day.) Living in Eretz Yisrael is living in another dimension.
So, I actually meant it when I told him the wallet would be found, but he certainly didn’t believe me. I tried to get all the information of the bus they had first started on their journey home. I called the bus company and relayed all the information. They said it would be a few hours before they could track down the driver, but they would be in touch if anything came up and took down my number.
Not more than 15 minutes went by when I got a call from a neighbor and friend who lives a bit down from my street. Although she had not recognized my mobile phone number, she was even happier to hear she was helping out a friend. She informed me that her nephew was on a bus when he noticed the wallet of an elderly gentleman fall out. But before he had a chance to retrieve it, the man and his wife had gotten off the bus in a hurry. My neighbor called the bus company as soon as her nephew arrived at her home and were given my number. (This was after she had already tried calling America, and looking up all Horowitz’s in Beitar (my maiden name).
I, of course, called my father back and was able to tell him, “We found your wallet.” Disbelief and then relief I heard in his voice. And before he made it back to the house, I was able to send someone to fetch the wallet so we could present it to him as he came in the door.
Admittedly, I sounded a bit obnoxious and overly proud when I asked him what did he think when I told him not to worry; relief had not been one of his first reactions that had come to his mind.
“Dad, I told you, this is Eretz Yisrael. We live in a different reality.”