Monday, January 09, 2006

An Exceptionally Bad Monday

It all started when I woke up late. Instead of going to shul (synagogue) in the morning, I decided to daven (pray) at home to save some time. Since I usually go to shul, I kept my tefillin (little prayer boxes) in my car. Imagine my surprise to discover, while going out to my parking space to get my tefillin, that not only was my tefillin missing (cost: $450), so was the entire car! Quickly going through the checklist… no, I didn’t park it somewhere else last night… no, it couldn’t have been towed… I realized that it had been stolen. I called the police and filled out a report, but there wasn’t much they could do. Now my poor ’88 CRX, the Rust Rocket, is out there being violated by some wicked thief, and my tefillin is probably in a dumpster somewhere, God forbid.

My next step would be to ask the Rabbi for another beater car. California tax law states that anyone can donate their old car to a non-profit organization, like our shul, and receive a full deduction for the value. The front yard of our shul displays a whole fleet of beaters; rusty Datsuns, a Ford Aerostar that makes a bang-bang sound, an MGM with a transmission that can’t reverse, and the like. Today was a warm, sunny day, so I decided to hop on my bike and ride to shul and see if any keys were lying around. Upon arriving I discovered that the office was locked. I suddenly remembered that the Rabbi left last night for a month-long vacation to Israel. Now, I can do without the car, but the real problem is that I’m supposed to substitute teach in the Hebrew school for the next four weekends, and all of the teaching material is locked in the office. I started looking at the door for hinges, thinking that perhaps I could chisel out the hinge-pins and open the door that way. No dice. Finally, I was just getting frustrated enough to consider kicking the door down when I decided that I should collect myself and daven shacharit (morning prayers) before it got too late. Of course, I didn’t have any tefillin, but after searching far and wide I found an extra set we have hidden for people who don’t have to use. Of course, my luck today being what it is, it’s for right handed people and I’m a leftie. After about fifteen minutes of effort, I managed to reverse the knot on the tefillin so that it’s now appropriate for a leftie. Being late for work, still boiling mad, I race through the Shema and Amidah prayers, skipping everything else, and start to take off the tefillin. While I’m taking off the tefillin, I stop and think that, perhaps this is not the best day to be rushing through my davening, considering everything else that’s happened, so I put it back on, rewind to the very beginning, collect myself, and daven the entire Shacharit from beginning to end nice and slowly.

Feeling much calmer now, figuring things can only go up from here, I hopped on my bike and began the ride to work. About halfway there, I noticed that it was becoming harder and harder to pedal. Finally, I was passing by the exact same spot on the trail where I severely sprained my ankle three months ago when I lost control of the bike! I realized that the tire had sprung a leak. I managed to recover and not do any permanent damage to myself, but from then on I had to walk my bike along, hobbling on my lame ankle. I pushed my bike along the trail and finally made it back to work, sweating profusely and smelling like a men’s locker room. I came into the lobby and clicked on the elevator button. *DING!* The doors slid open and there stands Craig, the building maintenance man. “What do you think you’re DOING! There are no bikes allowed here! You know better than that! Take that thing outside immediately!”

I dragged my bike outside and find somewhere to lock it up, hauled myself upstairs, went to my office, and shut the door. It’s now almost noon and I needed to find something to eat. But before I could, the phone rang. When construction managers call you in the middle of construction, it’s seldom to complement you on the quality of your work. Turns out they found some serious oversights in a job I designed that’s now already in construction. Time for a conference call… and on and on it goes.

From then on, though, it’s been good news. Somebody at work offered to give me a ride tomorrow, but I hassled my insurance company, and, while they didn’t volunteer the information, it turns out I can get a rental car on their nickel until the claim is processed. I then managed to track down somebody else with the shul’s office key, so I retrieved my teaching material. I won’t have to go in front of the kiddies on Sunday looking like a fool. Lastly, I talked with another local rabbi, and it sounds like one of his neighbors might be making donating a beater some time soon. When you step back and look at it, these are all, thank God, replaceable objects. The only thing that’s really upsetting to me is the tefillin.

Anyway, tomorrow is a partial fast day, so I’ve got to get to sleep to wake up before sunrise and eat. Tzum Kal (easy fast) to all those who are fasting!


ifyouwillit... said...

Monday's are bad enough without having you're car nicked to kick start it all. Sorry to hear about your bad day.

Just think, the Monday blues will disappear in Israel, the week starts 24 hours earlier to make it that little bit more fun!

Margalit-L said...

Haha, ifyouwillit, that will cheer the boy boy up! 24 hours earlier start of the horrible beginning of the week - The Sunday blues in Israel!

That is a bad day though! Wow.


Ephraim said...

Well, you take the good with the bad. I ususally work Sundays anyway. :)