Friday, 17 July 2009

On a refreshing change from the norm - a continuation of sorts

Fucking mental perhaps, but also refreshing. Here's the deal:

My last post here detailed the gist of my trying to get an internet connection sorted at my new flat here in Vienna (I can't be bothered to check what I wrote right now so I may well repeat a bit here - deal with it).

Basically, I spoke for longer than accustomed to, to a slightly odd, yet very friendly lady on the phone, who began asking questions about my personal life, albeit in a non-invasive way. She'd informed me that within a couple of days I'd receive an email with a form I needed to fill in and return and then Id be internetagogo. A couple of days pass, no email. It was vexing me slightly as it means I have to patronise various pubs and cafes in order to use their free wireless, since the one I was leeching from a neighbour suddenly stopped working. Lousy neighbor. I sent my crazy internet lady an email asking when I'd be likely to receive the forms. She emailed back explaining how she'd had a busy Monday so hadn't been able to call but would try to call me the following day. OK, fair enough I thought.

A cople more days passed and still no contact. I tried calling the number she'd left but apparently it didn't exist. Frustrating. Then I got a call from her last night:

"I'm very angry," she said. "You have to understand, I thought I could count on people." She did indeed sound distressed.
"What's wrong?" I asked. Already I'd decided she was nice, and that it probably wasn't her fault."
"He sent the forms to the wrong email address, the idiot," she protested, "I didn't know. I can't be expected to check on every outgoing email here. Thank you so much for your email - I would never have known otherwise."

he more she spoke, the more endearing I found her, her accented English making her plight (which was really my own) seem even more heartbreaking. She explained that she'd see to it that the forms were resent, to the correct address, immediately, sighing and apologising the whole time. I stressed that it wasn't a big deal and thanked her for her attempts to recify the error, a smile on my face the whole time. She sounded so sweet and well-meaning.

So we got that sorted - end of phone call right? But then she wished me a good evening and began telling me how she had the weekend off and would be going to Prague. And then it got odd, but amusingly, rather than irritatingly so. She'd just bought some Stoff (she implored me to tell her the English word - it's material), and with it would be constructing hats.

"I'll make one with fishes. Fishes on Stoff. It'll be like wearing an aquarium!" (giggle).

I'm stifling giggles myself here, but wanting to hear more, so humouring her as best I can.

"And one hat will be red with bells. Like a wizard's hat!"

God bless this lady and her hatmaking eccentricities.

The conversation, post internet sorting, lasted 20 minutes, and left me with a grin and aching cheeks

I truly hope she has a good time in Prague. When my internet is sorted I will be calling her regularly with invented problems, just to hear her madness some more.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

On stupid people and odd people

I just moved into a new flat here in Vienna and have been trying to get hooked up to the internet. I chose the package I wanted - I'm a bit ignorant when it comes to all the technical terms, but I knew it had the download speed I wanted, and I could use it via ethernet as my computer's not set up for wireless. I ordered it online and waited for a phone call.

A couple of days ago it came, from a lady who didn't seem to have a clue. After the initial greetings and confirmations, her first question relating to the actual setup was, "Which kind of Fritz Box do you want?" I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in not having a fucking clue what a Fritz Box is. So I asked. She laughed as if I was an idiot for not knowing and then proceeded to explain:

"Well, the free one is an old model. The newer one will cost you 39 Euros, or something like that, I'm not sure exactly."

Well, that's cleared it up. Thanks.

"What is a Fritz Box?"
"It's the modem you need."
"Ah, ok. And what benefits would the one I have to pay for give me?"
"Well, it has 3 antennas."
"Three antennas for what?"
"Well, the old one only has one."

You're shitting me - what kind of a sucker uses only one antenna?

"What do I need antennae for?"
"It's for wireless..."
"Ah, yeah, like I explained before - I don't need wireless. Give me the free one."

I thought that was settled, but she proceeded to talk nonsense for ages, before I practically had to shout at her to just give me the free one.

Then she started asking questions about where I was from, and why I'd moved to Vienna and did I have a girlfriend here... fucking hell! Just hook me up to some internet already!

Then on Tuesday, at the pub I work in, this occurred:

"Hi, are you open?" (I had 3 tables of people in already)
"I saw the sign outside. I'd like to order breakfast."
"I'm afraid we only do breakfasts on the weekends."
"But it's Tuesday."
"Could you not make me eggs and bacon please?"
"No. I have no eggs. We buy them on Saturday morning for the breakfasts. Which is only served on weekends, as the sign says."
"But you don't look busy. Just some eggs and bacon."
"I have no eggs, regardless of whether I'm busy or not."
"But Billa (supermarket) is just around the corner."
"Then you'll be able to get yourself some eggs on your way home. Now, can I get you anything else?"

With that she grunted and left. Stupid bitch.

Today I had an experience with a more pleasant weirdo.

First she came up to me and asked what year the film The Gift was from. I said it was 2000 and for some reason this made her laugh and say, "It doesn't matter."

Then she went downstairs to the video shop, which was closed, and started looking around in the dark until I called her back up.

Then she said, "If I want to eat a salad, where should I sit?" I told her she could sit anywhere she pleased, gestring to all the empty tables and handing her a menu, saying, "All our salads are listed inside. Take your pick." Again she laughed and after studying the menu said, "I saw some green leaves and tomatoes. If I wanted tomatoes in a salad, what should I order?" I recommended the tomato and mozarella salad. So I made this, she ate it and expressed how delightful it was.

Finally, she asked for "a coffee with Irish". I said, "an Irish coffee?" and she said, "No," and pointed to the menu, where it said 'Irish Coffee'. I made her this, she drank it, grinning, and then came and asked for the bill. It came to 16 Euros for the salad, coffee and a ginger ale, and she gave me 30, saying keep the change. The odd thing is, she didn't look weird at all. Kind of like someone's mum, or a teacher.