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.")