Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Conclusion to the Car Story

The painter, whose lack of expertise caused the initial damage to the car, did not allow me to take the car to my garage for repairs, since he was footing the bill. Instead, he recommended his people IE he wanted a place in Jerusalem that was owned by and only employed religious Jews, rather than our Arab cousins.

Last week I dropped off the car, and two days later they called me to report that they had worked "very hard" and that it was clean and ready to come home.  When I went to pick it up, I inspected their work, and it quickly became obvious that not only had they not done any work at all, but also that areas of the paint that had been previously undamaged were now worse than before.

When I confronted them, I got the run around, "Well, you would have to talk to the owner of the garage, who is my father, but he is not here now and I have no idea when he would be available to speak to you."  "We are very busy now anyway and it would have to wait a few weeks, no harm, no foul." And it went on like that, so I called the painter and made my position clear:  I would be taking the car to my people whom I trust and have used for the last 13 years, and that he would be paying for it.

The painter agreed, and this morning we all met at my garage, where we came to a settlement regarding the damage done and the cost of the repair.  This afternoon I received a call from my guys, saying that they didn't know what products the other garage had used, and beyond the obvious damage of the paint splatter, the acidic material had eaten through the paint job on the entire car, and that if I truly wanted to get the job done well, I would have pay another 5000 NIS for a complete reconstruction.

I considered the hassle and the cost, and asked the most real question, "Is the car terribly ugly?"  They replied that unless you really looked at the paint in bright sunlight, it could pass without serious notice.

As a single mother with far more important life concerns than the aesthetics of my car, I passed on their offer, instructing them to do what they could with the monies already paid.  I have neither the inclination nor the strength to consider a law suit.

As my mother would say, "It's a kaparah!"*

I still intend to call the painter and his "trusty garage," and let them know that just because someone is wearing a skullcap and has a larger than life picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe hanging in their space, does not mean that they do better work than the Arabs, who actually have shown me more professionalism in this field in the last 16 years that I have lived in Israel.

That's enormous coming from me, a woman who was almost killed by a Palestinian sniper during the Second Intifada, as an artist who appreciates beauty, and a Jew who has great respect for the person who was the Lubavitcher Rebbe; I met him in person in New York while studying at Barnard College, and regardless of the misdirection his movement has taken, he was truly a man connected to himself and to the Higher Power.

My Inner Voice and that Higher Power are telling me to move on.


kaparah = a Hebrew term for a situation where you are suffering a little in order to avoid a Divine decree to suffer a hell of a lot more than you could ever imagine; Some superstitious version of the Jewish guilt/martyrdom complex.


David Staum said...

"That's enormous coming from me"

On the one hand, kol hakavod. On the other hand, it's a real shame Israeli Jewish society today is such that that not being racist should have to be considered "enormous".

Doc said...

David, it's funny (not in a ha ha sort of way), but when I grew up in Manhattan there was all sorts of "acceptable racism," and I remember hearing totally reasonable adults around me make jokes about Hispanics, Blacks, Asians etc. When I moved to Israel, I made a point of leaving that behind, but guess what, Israel provides other completely different targets EG Russians, French, Arabs, Chareidim. I begin to wonder if racism, that us vs. them mentality is an unfortunate aspect of human nature.

Midlife Singlemum said...

Good post. I'm impressed with your ability to let it go - I know I'd be angry for ages. Interesting comments too.

I'm not sure that it's racist when you are anti a certain sector of society because of their actions.

We may have made jokes about the Russians or French but I don't know anyone who would avoid working or socializing with them on principle.

Haredim are not a race, they are a group of Jews who deliberately separate themselves from most of society by their extreme behavior - as they choose to be separate I have no problem preferring to avoid them myself.

Our Arab neighbours is a tricky one because we are officially at war. That means the official Arab leadership wants to kill us. It's hard to separate that from the ordinary Arab in the street who just wants a quiet life and good income. We do make the distinction though it is a conscious decision every time so does that make us less racist?Either way, it's understandable while we are at war.

Batya Medad said...

I work with Arabs all the time, and I have learned to separate the politics form the people.

tesyaa said...

Ten years ago my car's psint job was horribly damaged by a careless driver in a Manhattan garage. The garage owner insisted on using "his" people and they did a rushed, bad job. I also didn't have the energy to insist they makd things right. This brings back bad memories, but the good news is that in 10 years, it won't bother you anymore. (And yes, we still have thst car).