Israel, Israel experience, Jerusalem, parenting

Pango You Glad to See Me?!

It all started at the doctor’s office. After my oldest was complaining for months that his foot hurt, the doctor handed him a referral for orthopedic inserts. “Um, but where do I get them?” I said to the doctor. Looking at me like I was crazy, he said, “I don’t know. You have to speak to your insurance about that.”

Right…so then I found the time to go into Maccabi and to ask for help and she printed out the 8 page document with phone numbers of places that made discounted orthopedic inserts. Now we were talking. Although no one was talking since I called five of the places over and over again and got…nothing. No answer. Finally, Bingo! Place number 6 answered and they were so nice. Yeah! We made an appointment so that I could bring Matan in during that two-hour window when he and I are both off at the same moment each week.

We drove into Talpiot, a rather crowded, industrial/commercial area of Jerusalem, and parked the car right by where I thought the store was located. I got out with those coins that I had remembered to store up for the trip (go me!) only to realize that there were none of those little parking ticket machines around. Now, as a brief aside, I almost never leave Gush Etzion. And when I do leave, Josh and I are running errands together and typically end up at a mall in Jerusalem where there is underground parking. Street parking in the city? Well, I haven’t had to deal with this in quite a while. Clearly – since I was shocked to see that the only way to pay for parking was to put an app on my phone.

Deep breath. We were five minutes late for the appointment and no such app was already on my phone, since I don’t need it. Except I did. So, we quickly selected Pango from the App Store and started registering the car. Except it wouldn’t let me finish and the app was driving me crazy. I sent Matan ahead to find the orthopedic store while I wrestled with the app. Then Matan called to say he needed a credit card and I had him run out of the store to get my Israeli card from me. I kept wrestling.

Finally, I got smart and realized that I couldn’t use the same email address that Josh had used to register his car with Pango and I was in…except for when it asked for a credit card, of course, which was sitting in my son’s hand in the store. You can’t make this stuff up. So, I dragged out another credit card, imagining that my fee for using the international card would probably be greater than the payment. And I was ready. Except then I didn’t know how to activate the meter to start counting my parking time. Sigh. I sat in my car trying to figure it out when a huge SUV pulled up right in front of me onto the sidewalk and blocked me in. It was such a brazen move that I was rendered speechless.

Well, only for a second. I started laughing at the absurdity of their parking choice and got out of my car to figure out what they were doing. After all, I wasn’t going anywhere until I figured out the damn Pango thing.

“What are you doing?” I said, shaking my head.

“Birthday party!” he replied with a big smile.

Birthday party. Hmmm…Great. But um, he was blocking me in and parked completely illegally so what did that have to do with a birthday party?

“Mazal Tov!” I replied, “But…”

“Do you need to leave?”

“Well,” I tried to start explaining. “Not this second but….” And then the Israeli in me took over. “Hey,” I said, realizing my opportunity, “Do you know how to use Pango?”

“Pango? Of course I know how to use Pango,” he said as if it were something that his two year old would know how to use. And the guy that I had just called out for his chutzpah started figuring out everything that I needed to know about Pango. “There you go, no problem,” he said, handing me back the phone.


And finally, forty minutes after I’d arrived for Matan’s appointment, I was ready to join him…just as he came out of the store saying, “Ok Mommy, all done. You didn’t bother paying for the meter, did you?”

Can’t wait to see that charge of 79 agarot on my credit card.

Another day, another Olah adventure.

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