Monday, November 28, 2011

In Which My Complete Lack of Directional Abilities Gets Me in Trouble, Once Again

Last week, I had to spend all day at a mall. Yes, had to. As part of our never-ending campaign to get our life back together after The Case of the Missing Purse (Where is Cam when you need her?), I had to take our car to the dealership in Ranaana to get the locks changed. We had two options, locks-wise:

1. Spend a lot of money to get the Immoblizer changed, so the thief could open the car, but have no way of starting it.
2. Spend a lot MORE money and completely change the entire internal structure of the car, including locks and ignition.

The idea of someone being able to open my car was less than pleasing. Also, I keep important stuff in there. Our Chanukah CD. My Rami Levi bags. Kids, sometimes. So we decided to go with Option More Money.

This also involved staying in Ranaana all day, since it took a few hours to completely change everything. There is a decent mall  right across the street from the garage (decent = kosher cafe with WiFi; I am easy to please), so at the beginning, all was both hunky and dory. I sat at Greg's, I worked, I drank coffee. Once we had passed hour five, though I was starting to go a little nuts. I walked around, but every time I entered a store, this annoying little goody-two-shoes voice said, "Really? You're going to spend money on clothing when you have to spend nearly 3,000 shekel fixing your car?" and then I walked out again, leaving a trail of disappointed sales clerks in my wake. So I just walked and wandered, up escalators and down escalators, until I began to feel like I was in some sort of bad New Age movie about the evils of commercialism.

Finally, I was released with my new(ish) car at 4:00. And that's where the trouble began. (Though you would not be wrong to say, "continued.")

See, in Israel, you need to have basic knowledge of geography to get where you need to go. There's no "Route 4 North" and "Route 4 South." There's "Route 4 Haifa" and "Route 4 Ashdod." And you need to know that Haifa is northerly and Ashdod is southerly. I'm good with the basics. I know the ups from the downs.

The problem is the middle. In my head, the entire Merkaz is somewhat mushed. Tel Aviv, Ranaana, Petah Tikva, Herziliyah, the airport, Modiin - they are all more or less "there" (pointing to the center.)

I had looked carefully at the map and wrote down directions before I left, but before I knew it, I was faced with a choice: Route 5 Tel Aviv or Route 5 Petah Tikva. My eventual goal was to get to Route 6.

Based on the whole reversing your previous route process, I was pretty sure I wanted "Petah Tikva." But I wasn't sure. And, as you now understand, in my mind Tel Aviv and Petah Tikvah are basically the same. Confusing me even further is my motto: When trying to go toward Modiin, follow signs to Tel Aviv. Except if you're at Ben-Gurion. (Of course, that motto works much better when your choices are "Haifa" or "Tel Aviv.")

So despite every fiber of my being telling to go toward Petah Tikva, I somehow found myself curving inexorably toward Tel Aviv. Yep, wrong way, as I veered off the exit ramp and saw the sign "Route 5 to Route 6" just out of reach. I thought, okay, no big deal, I'll just turn around. I rolled down my window and asked someone which way to Route 6. She looked at me as if I had asked her where the nearest crop circles are.

In the end, after much panicking and driving aimlessly, I ended up on the Ayalon, which thank goodness uses directional words like "south." After sitting in traffic for an hour, I finally made it back to Modiin (it's in the Merkaz; kind of near Tel Aviv).

Maybe it's time for a GPS. Do they make ones that attach to your wrist? That would be super helpful in the mall parking lot. ("To get back to your car, turn Left. Now turn. Right.")


toby said...

A parking lot gps is a fantastic idea! Please let me know when you market it!

Commenter Abbi said...

wow, this so reminds me of the time I tried to get to Modiin from Ranaana for the first time to visit my SIL one afternoon. I was a pretty confident driver so I was like "I'll just follow the signs, how hard could it be?" I was on the 6 and I saw a sign "Modiin 27 km". Great, I'll just wait for the Modiin exit! Little did I know you have to quickly get off right after the tunnel to get to 443 (little did i know because the sun blinded me right as I came out. I dithered at Daniel, thinking "oh, there will be a sign!" As we're cruising to Ashdod, I realize there is no sign, I missed the exit and there's nowhere to turn around!. Had to make a U Turn at Gedera. Made it to my Sil's at 6 for an afternoon visit. Oh well...

Anonymous said...

Gils, you can pin your gift of misdirection on me.

After all, I'm the one who worked in the same building for 10 years and had to think, every day, about which way to get to my office when I got out of the elevator.

Already got my Israel GPS warmin' up - I'll probably need it to get out of the airport, those exit signs are tricky.

Baila said...

I love my GPS. When it works. When it doesn't tell me I'm "over the speed limit" (really, I'm not). When it doesn't tell me to turn around, because it prefers to Route 1 to the 443. Otherwise, it's perfect.

Risa said...

I can totally empathize. The Baltimore Beltway signs confuse me because it's not always North/South or East/West. An I know which way is Towson vs. Glen Burnie, but I get confused when the signs say something else, which they sometimes do. Our GPS is not always helpful with that.

Risa said...

P.S. Love the reference to Cam Jensen. I used to enjoy reading those novels.

Anonymous said...

Risa - and what about the inner and outer loops - I mean, I'm not in a helicopter, how the heck do I know what loop I'm on?

Gila Rose said...

Abbi, sounds like me except for the "confident driver" part.

Momz, an airport tip for you: Don't go toward Tel Aviv.

Risa, the one piece of Beltway advice I have for you is, "Essex is bad."

I think instead of Google maps and GPS-im, we should just get personal drivers.

Bethami said...

reminded me of the first time i tried to get to work in ramat hachayal from givat shmuel. really, shouldn't be more than a 15 minute drive. except the sign i needed said "towards bnei brak". and as you know, bnei brak is diametrically opposite to tel aviv. so i went the other way and ended up going towards the beach.

SaraK said...

Gila, don't you have an iPhone? Maps+ and Waze are good apps.

Batya said...

As I'm new to your blog, I don't know what happened to your bag, but I feel safest with my valuable locked around my waist, even though my kids and boss think I look nuts.