Thursday, July 10, 2003

Imshin the jailbird
Have I had an exciting afternoon! I have just been the victim of Tel Aviv municipality's terror and extortion tactics. You wouldn't believe it. Those b@$%@&ds sent their goons round to intimidate the girls and me.

They claim that we owe them money for long forgotten car fines (from between the years 1996 - 1998, for a car I sold long ago and forgot all about). The first we heard of this was a couple of months ago when I received notice that my car was to be confiscated (I'm not sure what the legal term for this is in English). Understandably bewildered and dismayed, I rang Bish in hysterics. Lawyers were involved and negotiation commenced, initially to find out what exactly we owed them and why they hadn't bothered to notify us of this before taking such a drastic step. Later on we agreed to pay our debts, which amounted to something in the region of $1000 as a result of exorbitant interest. Then they informed us that, after we had paid this, they would have more surprises in store for us. Here we said "No no no! Please inform us now of all your monetary demands of us and let us settle our full debt right now." This, they seemed to think, was too much to ask for, and therefore - the goons.

I was completely flabbergasted when they turned up on my doorstep. Later our lawyer told us he had just received a letter listing the rest of our debts with an apology for it taking such a long time. This meant, in effect, that they had accepted our (quite reasonable) demands, and he really couldn't understand why they had resorted to such tactics. Of course, conveniently for them, the goons arrived after the municipality offices had closed for the evening, so we had no one to complain to.

Under duress, I was forced to write them a delayed check for the amount in question. The threat was if I didn't fork out, they would send over a policeman, who would break down my door. Needless to say, the goon stayed out in the corridor, on the other side of the chain, although I did pass him out a glass of water, a folding chair and today's newspaper (Yediot Aharonot, of course, not Haaretz which we have started to receive again as well, I'm not that cruel), while I tried to work things out. After gaining entry by violent means to my humble castle, I was informed gleefully by the goon, they would then proceed to liberate it of some of its clutter. The goon then dangled a piece of paper in my face (through the crack in the door), luring me with the enticing offer to just write him a check and he would immediately call off the hounds. Multiple phone calls to Bish and to the lawyer ensued, with Bish shouting, "Let them break down the door! Let them take the TV, see if I care! I will not be intimidated!"

Now, our TV just happens to be a 43", and it weighs 165 lbs. I visualized the goons having to schlep that thing out in this heat and I suddenly saw the humorous side of it all. From this point on I started to enjoy myself. After all, I don't watch much TV and last time it was being fixed we had a lovely time, listening to music, talking... The comical aspect peaked when Youngest's piano teacher arrived and the event developed, from this point on, to the gay sounds of Maykapar's Little Commander.

Egg on my face: Now I think on, I'm pretty sure it's a 34" not a 43" (I'm hopeless with these things). It's still heavy, anyway. (43" what was I thinking? Where would I stick a 43", exactly?).

Oh, and a reader informs me that while "confiscated" is fine, the correct term is "impounded". I had seen this word in the dictionary but I wasn't sure.