The trip so far.

by sam on 11/21/2006

Since I’m still full of jet lag insomnia, just thought I’d catch y’all up on the trip so far, by wading through some of the things I essentially journaled in the past two months.

The arrival:

Arrived on September 17th, my building porter, Luigi, helped me find a place to buy a cellphone, I found the grocery store, and discovered that all of the stuff that I had shipped was stuck in Italian customs. It would remain that way for two full weeks, thanks to some inadequate labeling on the part of the mailroom in New York. But the best part? The anxiety dream that I had that afternoon. I dreamt that I was looking for the Milan office, and it was dark out (even though I obviously go to work during daylight hours). When I finally found the place, the entrance consisted of some tiny willy wonka-esque door that you needed to crawl through after climbing some sort of ladder or narrow stairs. Of course the office looks nothing like this. Of course we don’t make our clients go through an obstacle course to attend meetings. But you don’t need to be a licensed psychiatrist to figure out that I was worried about fitting in at the new place! So that was weird. Needless to say, the next day I went and found the office to make sure that it had an actual human-sized door.

My stuff finally got out of customs on September 29th. I really wonder what they were thinking when they went through all of my boxes to find such scintillating items as…extra anti-perspirant, 7 pairs of clearly worn shoes, a shoebox full of socks, 3 coats, 4 purses, an alarm clock, an odd assortment of power converts, my bathrobe, a down blanket and my tempurpedic pillow. And an entire box of paperback books. Sure, I had gone out an bought replacement pillows and sheets (which took forever!), but I was a bit irrationally happy when everything arrived. My first friday in the office, I went out with a bunch of people from work, got to ride on the back of a scooter, and generally got drunk and danced too much.

I’ve generally been working too much – almost every weekend since I got there – but that’s the job. They obviously didn’t send me over to be a tourist. I totally miss New York while I’m over there. The biggest think that I miss about NY (aside from my family, and my friends, and the fact that it’s my home) is the convenience. In Italy, everything is slow. Everything is closed on Sundays, making that day completely useless for trying to run errands. and when you do try to run errands, they take ten times as long. For example, in NYC, I drop my dry cleaning off on saturday. when I get home from work on Monday, it’s been delivered to my apartment and my doorman just hands it to me when I get home. In Italy, I drop my dry cleaning off on Saturday, and have a conversation in broken italian with the proprietress (who is missing at least one finger), who tells me that it’ll be ready “after the weekend”. meaning the following weekend. So I wait 8 days, and stop by the following Monday morning before work. Where all of my stuff is still sitting on a pile on the floor and she tells me to come back tomorrow. So. nine days to get my stuff. And because they don’t deliver, I have to go over in the morning (because they’re certainly not open when I get home from work at 9 in the evening). And then when it’s finally ready, I have to stand there for 20 minutes while she wraps everything up. Seriously – it all gets taken off of the hangars and wrapped in pretty paper like a present. I do love the fact that she’s utterly confused by my 3-letter last name, and just labels all of my stuff with a “D”.

That’s just one example, but it pretty much epitomizes all customer service interactions. It drives me crazy.

Now I’m tired again, so I’m going to try to go back to sleep.

Damn jet lag.