Monday, April 03, 2006

A comically epic week-end.

How an apparently easy task can be turned into a two days ordeal.

As I said a while ago, I had to get a hold of new furniture for what will be my first own room since 1982, the day we moved back in Rome from my native Tuscany, and a room where I hope I shall not even stay too long. Anyway, the struggle to get a hold of these furniture, a theoretically easy task, was complicated and turned into a little family epic by two factors: the most incompetent sales woman of history and my italian family.

It all started on saturday, when a first recon in the new house (where the wooden floors, in the meanwhile, have been polished... they looks simply marvellous) provided some needed measurements. Done that, together with my parents (more for the company and the excuse to do something all together than for actual need of advise... or so I thought) we headed for the italian equivalent of Ikea, called "Mondo Convenienza". It was an early afternoon, a wonderful, sunny, warm spring day.

2 hours, and a lot of discussions, later, we were... I mean, I was ready to place the actual order and there tragedy struck in the shape, a big shape actually as it would had been easier to jump above it than turning around it, of a female clerk whose name we shall not name, who sat down in front of a computer to select the pieces that would have shaped my own composition. But then the code wasn't right, the piece wouldn't fit, she turned a wardrobe in a library and a mirror in a cd-rack, the left terminal in a right terminal, not to mention my modern design, simple bed was turned into a victorian style explosion of decorated wrought iron.

Another 2 hours later, practically on the megastore closing time, while my father was pretending to have an extensive trial of the nearest bed and with my mother adding to the chaos by revising aloud the list of pieces and codes we got until that point, we were ready. Or so I thought. As I had the wise idea of giving a last look at the (hand made) picture of how the room would had looked like and asked a casual question about the apparently odd perspective of a given combination, I saw the eyes of the clerk going wide in surprise. Turned out, it wasn't an odd perspective, she had really placed two triangular bookcase-terminals one after the other, giving a very odd (Picasso would had loved it) "saw" line to my room.

As it was too late to redo everything all over again, the case was adjourned until the day after. And that staged the scene for the next phase of the catastrophe, as sunday morning (where my mind was working at 5% efficiency, having stayed up to watch the Australian F1 GP) my brother had the chance to look at the plan and, as your average good engineer, dropped a half dozen of potential problems. What followed was the classic "all the family gets into the fight" italian discussion which ended up in the most classic way too: with a mom upset because "she's never listened to", a dad wisely uttering the magical "one day you will understand" words (When? When is this day of enlightenment when everything is revealed to us? Is it announced in a special way, like a choir of angels blowing their trumpets? is it painful?) and a brother ending up with "Do as you wish, but one day I will come to you and say "I did tell you so!"". And obviously me, knowing that whatever I would had decided for my own room, that I would had paid with my own money, there would had been hell to pay to at least one of the above mentioned subjects.

Life is funny.

Anyway, taking my destiny in my own hand and with my father (probably moved to compassion towards his son who has not yet experienced the day of revelation, after all) with me, I headed again to the megastore (which is, btw, 25 kms from my house) and there... obviously I ended up paired with the very same vendor from hell that had been sent to me the first day. Yes. An immense store, with probably 30 to 50 sales-people, and I get the same one twice in a row.

What followed is obvious: another 3 hours of "no, it's not that piece, is that one!" "Are you sure?" "Well, it's actually tempting to have my underwear staying two meters above my head in the morning, but yes, the closets should go down there" or "Weird, it's not accepting the code" "Could that be that you are trying to put the shelves for a left terminal in a right one?" "oh, right". And the final one "Oh my, it has not accepted to save the order and deleted it, we have to do it again!" said in the classic damsel in distress voice, where at that point the knight would had more happily passed the salt and spices to the dragon rather than killing him. Dragons are way unjustly badmouthed beings, you know.

My titanic patience (and probably the lack of energies due lack of sleep), anyway, prevented me to open up a job vacancy in the store, and eventually, way past closing time, another vendor had pity of us and came with a "Maybe I can help?" that sounded as a "Get the hell out of that computer, we'd all like to get home for sunday dinner before tuesday" and in less than 10 minutes everything was done. I had gratitude tears in my eyes.

And so, 1800 euros (to think I had started this thinking to get myself only a bed and a wardrobe.. typical) less in my pocket and 8 hours, all in all, less to live, I happily headed home. There's only one thing tho: my inner ancient roman soul is wondering now, with all such bad omens lingering over the purchase of this room, what will happen when I will actually get to sleep in it? Shall it crash upon me? I wouldn't be surprised...

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