It’s funny in life you know, the second you don’t have anything to do, all the stuff seems to happen. What am I talking about, the unexpected….fate….a series of events that occur and just throw you around like a crash test dummy. My name is Barrie Cowan……and this is the longest day in my life (for the benefit of you Jack Bauer fans!)
Events occur in real-time…
The phone rings, and in my daze of just waking up I see it is Yossi calling. I pick up the phone, speak but I don’t really know what is being said. The call ends.
14:00 is the time, still early on the scale of things. I soon realise what just happened is I have been invited to a BBQ at Yossi’s uncle’s house tonight to celebrate Yom Hatzmaut. I do all the menial tasks, showering, brushing my teeth, grabbing a bite to eat, and by 17:30 I am heading to the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem to meet with Yossi and his Mum. I get there, exchange the pleasantries and we get on our way to a place called Beitar Illit, which is about 25 mins outside of Jerusalem. Yossi is driving (his uncle’s car) and decides he knows how to get us there, truth be told I have never seen so many parts of Jerusalem, we got lost, and for an hour and a half we were trying to get out of the city. After eventually succeeding we get to Beitar Illit, and enjoy a BBQ.
That’s when it starts….
Once we had finished we were working out the rest of our night. The plan was, take Yossi’s mum back to the Hotel in Jerusalem, head to Lod to pick up stuff for Yossi’s mum to take back to England, then head back to Jerusalem to pick up more bits and pieces, head home and have a narg. Little did we know that narg was unimaginably far off in the future.
We had reached the Lod stage of our journey and we travelling back to Jerusalem when all of a sudden our conversation was stalled by Yossi’s sudden case of turrets. What had happened, we had taken the wrong lane, and ended up not going in the direction we wanted to, although not such a problem, all it meant was it would take us a little longer to get home, and back to the conversation it was. Funnily enough it seems we were never meant to finish that conversation, so much so I can’t even remember what it was about, but we found ourselves suddenly listening to the high pitched opera of the engine….it was a great show complete with smoke, smells, a real family day out at the theatre. To no surprise we pulled over, and popped the hood. Once the smoke had cleared we saw the engine, checked the oil, filled the water and thought, great, fixed, we will be on our way. Key in, turn key………..nothing. Again……..nothing. Oh dear (sigh).
We had managed, after taking a wrong turn to end up broken down in the middle of nowhere (next to the entrance of Makkabim Reut), with no idea what to do with this car. We needed a jump, it had to be the battery, but we were in the middle of nowhere how were we going to get a jump off someone – and just in case you think there is loads of traffic on this road, there isn’t it is now 00:30 at night. So as in the case of any emergency you ring a family member, in this case the owner of the car Yossi’s uncle, only one problem………no battery, and this time I mean the phone not the car. I then realised that a 10 min DRIVE down the road lived my madricha from last year, Shoshie. So of course at 01:30 at night I call her, as you do. In the midst of waking up she very kindly offers to come and meet us where we are and give us a jump, she arrives, we search her car, no jump leads. So we get in her car drive to a nearby garage (remember this) borrow some jump leads from the one person who is working in the garage and come back to the car (which Yossi had been waiting with), we put the jump leads on, and with fear of electrocuting ourselves try the engine…………nothing. As you can tell this isn’t our night. It isn’t the battery, so what is it? Well in trying the engine with the jump leads, the car started to smoke again, which was strange as we had put water in the car, and then we saw it…………..the fanbelt………ripped to shreds. It seems the fanbelt had snapped, that had been making the noise, and the rubber was burning as the wheel span creating the smoke. We needed to get towed. So Shoshie, our translator, starts calling round tow people, who apparently charge a lot more at night, that’s if they come, which none of them would as it was late…….then why be a 24 hour service I ask? No luck no-one will come.
02:35……Me and Yossi (Yossi and I) at this point took an executive decision to push the car to the nearest garage, which just so happened to be the one we went to go and borrow the jump leads, which at this point Shoshie went to return, it was a 5 min DRIVE away. We felt if we could leave the car there overnight it would be better than leaving it at the side of the road. So we did……the only problem was 5 min DRIVE away, turned out to be a 1 ½ hour push of the car, by the two of us, over a stretch of 2 miles….and the best part, yes you guessed it….uphill.
We arrived at the garage at 04:00, dead, tired, dirty. Whilst we had been pushing the car we thought it best Shoshie went home to get some rest, who at this point came back to pick us up and take us back to her house to ‘sleep’, as seen here….
Strangely we didn’t really sleep well that night, which you would think we would have after pushing a car. Now it was back to it.
07:00, we were up, dropped off at the garage once again, managed to get a tow to the nearest mechanic after waiting for an hour and a half, who told us we would have to wait at least 2 hours to get it looked at even, which after he did he told us it would cost 2000 shekels which we didn’t have, so Yossi’s uncle decided he was sending another tow company to bring it back to his mechanic in Beitar, but that tow could take anywhere between 2 and 6 hours to come, and my battery was dying on my phone, so Shoshie came to pick us up again, to take us back to her house, give us some food and swap phones with me so I had battery, but then we got a phone call saying we had to go back to the car to give Yossi’s mum the bag which we took from Lod the night before, so we went back to the mechanic, gave her the bag, as she stopped on her way to the airport, we about to go back to Shoshie’s, when we got the call from the tow company who told us they were coming, but still took another hour, the tow company then took us to Beitar, we dropped the car off with Yossi’s uncle, had a bite to eat, got a bus back to Jerusalem, and then we were in the tachana, where we decided it would be a nice idea to get Shoshie a little gift, for all the help she gave us through the night, so we found a clock in a shop in the tachana, which we wanted to get engraved, which was going to take another hour, but we said fine, so then thinking everything could go right, we went back after the hour to pick it up and they still hadn’t even started, so we had to wait another hour for the clock to be done, which once it was we went to Emek Refaim to drop it off with Shoshie where she works, swapped phones back then walked back to my house, had showers, sorted out the rooms, and finally, after all this SAT DOWN AND HAD OUR NARG!!!!
(I’ll just take a few moments to get my breathe back and compose myself………ok I am done.
As you can see every possible thing that could have gone wrong with us did, but the best part was we laughed through it all, because what else can you do in situations like these. C’est la vie.
Just a couple of points to clean up, and put time into perspective as I shortened this greatly for the sake of your sanity. We finally got back to Jerusalem at roughly 19:00, finally got back to my apartment at 21:30 and finally got our narg at 22:00, by the time we got to sleep we had both been going since 09:00 the previous day and had been up for 38 hours…..making it the longest day of my life and breaking my record of 36 hours, and what a couple of days we had had to celebrate it.
The clock that we bought for Shoshie had inscribed
“To give you back the time we took from you……..Yossi and Barrie