Only in Jerusalem

I am somewhat absentminded, but do you really think I'm capable of losing a 1,500-kg. car?

electric car better place 248.88 ap (photo credit: AP)
electric car better place 248.88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
Despite the recent economic downturn and the droves upon droves of workers who with a simple lay-off notice find themselves jobless, I was rather pleasantly surprised recently to have found a job. And a good one at that! One of the things that I have learned in life, however, much to my chagrin, is that when something good happens, something bad is quite often sure to follow and vice versa. Call it karma if you like. I prefer to think of it as "stasis," or the maintaining of life's precious balance. Perhaps that is why I was not entirely surprised, or dismayed, the morning after beginning the new job, to find only shards of broken window-glass in the spot where I remembered parking our car the night before. "Congratulations, Yonatan," I thought to myself, "You've joined the, as of late, not-so-exclusive club whose single membership criterion is having your car swiped from the streets of Jerusalem." The NIS 6,000 my wife Rivkah and I spent to buy the car four months ago? I wasn't going to cry over that. The memory of the NIS 2,500 we shelled out only two weeks ago to get the almost 20-year-old car through inspection? Now that hurt no less than a good sucker punch to the solar plexus. "Yes, Yoni," answers the not-so-surprised Rivkah (a fellow subscriber to the maintaining of life's precious balance theory) upon hearing of the missing car, "I do think it would be a good idea to notify the police. First, however…" "There's a 'first' before the police?" I ask, more than a little taken aback. "Yes, there is," she responds emphatically, covering her hair with her scarf. "First we're going for a little walk." "A walk? Do you really think a walk is in order at a time like this?" "I didn't mean putting Halva's leash on and going for a relaxing stroll around the neighborhood. We're going to look for the car." "What do you mean look for the car?" "Maybe you parked it someplace else. Maybe you got confused. Maybe you -" "Are you insinuating that maybe I… I lost it?" "Well," she adds gingerly, "it wouldn't be the first time you misplaced something…" "Okay," I admit, "I am somewhat absentminded, but do you really think I'm capable of losing a 1,500-kg. car?" "Well, people get distracted and forgetful sometimes." "Come on, sweetheart, my mind is still young and vibrant. I'm only 40 years old." "How old?" "Forty…two." My loving wife gives me a hug and a kiss on the cheek, "Come on, Grandpa. Let's go take a look." Suddenly feeling just a little bit older and forgetful beyond my years, I concede and relent. I open the front door and we're off to find the misplaced car. "CAN I help you?" asks the uniformed officer in the investigation room of our neighborhood police station, an hour later. "Yes," I begin in Hebrew, "I'd like to report a stolen - " "Auto?" he finishes the sentence for me. "How did you know?" I ask. A shrewd smile emerges from his young lips. "You have 'stolen-car face.'" "A stolen-car what?" "Face. Car theft is epidemic. Don't take it personally. It's just that when you see as many people walk in to report their cars stolen as I have, you begin to notice certain characteristics. And facial expressions. Anyway, make and model?" "Subaru, '91." "Ah… a favorite. Last place you remember seeing it?" "We parked it in front of our apartment last night at around 10:30." I proceed to give him the address, which he types in to the report. "Any suspects?" he asks. "Huh?" I respond, stone-faced. "Did you have any type of incident with anyone who might be trying to get back at you?" "Well, now that you mention it, my friend Dave and I rolled toilet paper around our algebra teacher Mr. Barducci's trees when we didn't get the grade we thought we deserved on an exam. Other than that…" "When and where was that?" he asks, his investigating face ready to pounce on the lead. "Let's see," I begin thinking back, "Pennsylvania. It would have been 1979." "Are you serious?" he asks. "No, sir," I respond, suddenly feeling rather more than a little bit silly, "I just thought a bit of humor might ease my pain." "Well, did it work?" "The toilet paper or the humor?" "Never mind. Let's move on. Insurance?" he asks, fingers poised on the keyboard. "Compulsory, no-theft coverage. Since it was so old, the insurance company refused full coverage. Listen, sir, before we go any further -" "What's on your mind?" "Any chance of finding the car… or the person or people who stole it?" "There's a better chance of anti-Semitism ending today." "Are you serious?" I ask. "No," he smiles mischievously. "My turn at humor, though. In all seriousness, the odds are pretty slim, but we'll look." Twenty minutes later, the report and my testimony complete… "Listen, seeing that you don't have a car anymore and since I live close to you… my shift ends in 20 minutes, I'll be happy to drop you at your house," says the policeman. "That's mighty kind of you officer, but since it looks like I'll be bussing it for the foreseeable future, I might as well get used to it now. Thanks for the offer, though." "Al ti'dag, yihye b'seder," (Don't worry, everything will be fine) he says to me with a reassuring smile. "I know it will," I respond emphatically, feeling a sudden smile come to my face and a feeling of warmth wash over myself. Since a bad thing has just happened, suddenly I realize that something good is right around the corner. "Officer, have you ever heard about the theory of - ?" Just as I begin to explain to him about my theories of stasis and "the balance of life," he looks up at the figure standing just behind me at the entrance to the investigations room. "Can I help you, sir?" asks the officer. "Yes," responds the figure from just over my right shoulder, "I'd like to report a stolen - " "Auto?" asks the officer. "H-How did you know?" comes the surprised voice. "It's written all over your - " begins the officer's voice, but before he can finish the sentence, I fill in the final word with a sly smirk… "Face!"