Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Concrete Jungle

When I first arrived in Israel I was given a few simple rules which I was told never to break. The same rules I pass on to newcomers when they ask for advice.

1) Never agree to mind someone's bag for them unless you know them.
2) Never drink the local alcohol.
3) Never buy anything from a guy called Ahab who only has one leg.
4) Never go to Malha Mall on a Friday.

Guess which rule I broke?

I was in a dire need of a haircut and a friend of ours was going to the Mall for one as well so I figured I might as well join him.

It was the typical Friday scene which greeted us when we arrived. Cars everywhere - on traffic islands, on the sidewalks and virtually triple-parking. Taking any space they could to park.

We decide the only way to get a spot is to play Waiting the Leader which is a combination of the Waiting Game and Follow the Leader. What this entails is to try and locate a shopper who is walking to their car, whereby you follow them to their car, thereafter taking the spot as soon as they exit.
Possession is 9/10s of the law so it is critical that you make an early spot because the sooner you spot the person, the stronger your claim to the space is.

So we get a nice and early spot on this lady to the extent that she even waves off other cars where they ask where she is parked. There were a few obstacles on our way to the spot but we arrive there just as she is pulling out.

It's all co-ordinated like clockwork: She waits to see us before pulling out. We drive past letting her pull out and as soon as she does we start reversing in. Crisp, clean and perfect execution of Follow the Leader.

One problem. As we start pulling in, a girl jumps into the spot and is safe-guarding it for her friends.

The unwritten rules for parking may not be set in stone but there is some basic carpark etiquette and at the top of the list would be that you don't contest someone else's spot when it is clearly theirs.

Right under that would be the section of minding a spot for someone. Sure if no-one else is around you can mind the spot for your friends and wave away everyone else but you simply can not run into a spot which you see someone is about to enter.

After a few choice words she moves and as far as everyone was concerned that is the end of that.

As we make out way towards the mall, the friends in the car turn up and ask the girl what is going on. She tells them that we tried to run her over (Rachel Corrie anyone??)

The girl in the car then decides to show off her sparkling vocabulary which consists entirely of four-letter words. Some of them were personal which make my friend go back and stand up for himself.

Inside the car was a guy and a girl. My friend tells the girl that that isn't distinguished speech for a lady. Then the guy gets out of the car and want to get involved to show what a man he is. Only problem is that when he opens his mouth he reveals this incredible lisp which somewhat deflates his image. Think being threatened by Steve Urkel.....

The interesting thing was how he went up to about two inches away from my friend, baiting, goading and provoking him. As if he wanted him to do something stupid.

Then being Israel, everyone has to stand around and watch, as if they had nothing better to do on a Friday afternoon. Followed by the security guard playing United Nations and wanting to have his two cents worth.

I'm pleased to say that after all that we got our hair-cuts. I'm even happier to report that when we got returned that the car was in one piece.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crazy story!

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Karen said...

Another Malha mall parking story. I still cringe at the time I saw two women starting throwing punches at each other when one had taken the other one's spot.

5:10 PM  
Blogger Gilly said...

Park across the road at the Stadium. No waiting to get in, no bag checks, no arguing, always spaces.


5:15 PM  
Blogger marissa said...

Hmmm.. sounds like another fun day for you Dot.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Dot Co Dot Il said...

Anon - Yep.

Karen - Sorry to hear that.

Gilly - Good idea. Thanks. What is the parking situation in Maryland/DC?

Marissa - Never a dull moment!

9:50 AM  

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