Friday, November 10, 2006



I have spent my entire life being lost - either getting lost, or becoming lost, or just being lost - whatever - I have always been lost.

Not emotionally or mentally, mind you, (although I've been there too) - but actually lost. As I've said before, I have the "hush kivoon" (sense of direction) of a toaster oven. It all started in my childhood - my Dad also had no sense of direction. And while I freely admit my shortcoming, my Dad was unable to admit that he was always lost. (It's a macho men's thing - which is why it took the Jews forty years to get out of the desert because Moses couldn't bring himself to ask for directions.) I spent my childhood riding down highways - and then backing up because Dad missed the exit - again. Yes, I know it's dangerous to back up on a highway - but that's what Dad did.

My Mom, on the other hand, had a fabulous sense of direction - but my Dad couldn't ask her for directions because that would "prove" that he wasn't a man. So she would sit quietly in the passenger seat and when they came to a place where it was either turn left or turn right - she would - also quietly - indicate with her thumbs either "left" or "right". And then he wouldn't have to lose face - as it were. Of course, she could have done the driving - heavens - what am I saying? She never drove when my Dad was in the car.

It was only when I began to drive myself that I realized that I never knew where I was going. And then - great luck - I married Fred who also had a great sense of direction. In fact, his golden rule was, when we came to a place where we had to turn either right or left he would ask me which way I thought we should go - and he turned in exactly the opposite direction to what I said.

I remember the weekend we went to Safed with another couple. The hotel fronted on a narrow, one-way street. The men got out of the car to have the luggage taken in and I sat in the car with my girlfriend until he could come back and take the car to be parked. Just my luck a rather large vehicle came up behind me and couldn't get by. So I sent my girlfriend in to the hotel to tell Fred that I was going to drive around the block and be back in five minutes. Ha!

There is no "just around the block" in Safed. We were using Fred's car - a great big, powder blue BMV, manual shift, without power steering. I hated driving that thing. I liked riding in it - but driving it? No way. So there I was - driving - and driving - and driving - and getting more and more lost. And that was a time before cell phones so there was no one to "talk me" back. This is Israel and no one likes to say "I don't know". We have many words for "I don't know" - but they are never to be used when someone asks for directions. You say "yashar, yashar, yashar (straight, straight, straight) - and then ask again". So I drove and drove and drove - and then asked again - and again - and again.

Finally I saw a young soldier and asked him if knew where the Rimon Inn was. "Of course", he answered, "I was born in Safed". "Get in my car right away" I cried (literally cried - because by this time I was weeping) and take me there. And one whole hour later I arrived back at the hotel.

And that is an example of only one of the million or so times I've gotten lost.

So, dear readers, yesterday I bought myself a GPS - which I think stands for Gee, you're Pretty Stupid - for many thousands of shekels I might tell you. But I can't use it yet because the instructions are all in Hebrew - and, as I am technologically challenged as well as directionally challenged, and don't understand technical instructions in English let alone Hebrew - I am still figuring it out. I'll let you know what happens. Wish me luck.

Stay Safe.


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