Sunday, December 04, 2005

Escaping from the SBL

My way home from the SBL was much more eventful than I hoped it would be. When I finished loading up my car with luggage, I went to start it – and lo and behold! It did not start. Through pure coincidence, a car with someone from AAA was driving through the parking garage at just that moment, so I flagged him down and asked him if he could start my car. He did my best, but concluded that the car needed a new starter motor. I called AAA to get a tow-truck to take my car to the Honda dealership.

When the tow-truck arrived, it transpired that it was much too big to go down to the lower level of the parking garage. The tow-truck guy called a buddy of his from his shop. The buddy arrived in a two-tone car (the door was red, the rest of the car was blue). He towed my car out of the garage, and it was then put onto the enormous tow-truck. We drove to the shop (any hope of going to the Honda dealership was scotched by the two-truck driver). As we drove deeper into a run-down section of Philadelphia I wondered what was going to happen to my car. We drove into the lot (surrounded by a fence with razor wire on the top!), and he eased my car off the truck. I went into the office to talk to the manager. He promised to start working on it first thing the next morning. Then my eye wandered around the walls of the office – and fixed on two photographs of the Lubavitcher rebbe, and a prayer for a successful business, in Hebrew. Needless to say, this is not what I expected to find in a repair shop in urban Philadelphia. I asked the manager if the shop was owned by an Israeli. He said to me, “Is that a problem?” I said no, I had spent time in Israel. Then the guy sitting next to him spoke up – in Hebrew. I replied. His father owned the shop. After that I felt a bit more confident that my car would get fixed and that the repairs would cost a reasonable amount of money.

The next morning, the buddy from the shop drove my fixed car to the hotel where I was staying, and I went back to the shop to pay for the repairs – which were indeed at a very reasonable price. I got to meet the boss, who indeed spoke with an Israeli accent. It was an unexpectedly pleasant experience, despite the fact that I had to stay an extra night in Philadelphia and then had the truly tedious drive from Philly to Boston via the N.J. Turnpike, the GW Bridge, and I-95…. I hope never to do that again on the day before Thanksgiving!

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