Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Think Bauhaus

I tried to make my first internet banking payment but messed up the authorisation code and my account was blocked. I rang the telephone helpline number and the man said that I had to talk to my Account Manager at my branch. She did not answer her phone and I was put through to someone else who also said that I would have to speak to my Account Manager. She was nowhere to be found so I sent an email and waited. It could have been worse -

‘Hello my account is blocked through my own stupidity and I need to have it unblocked
Ah – to do that you have to speak to your Account Manager
I have tried that but she is not answering her telephone
One moment I will check for you……yes she is on holidays in Majorca at the moment and will return in three weeks.
But my account is blocked – I cannot make payments – I cannot get money from my account. Can’t you help me?
No it must be your Account Manager . You will find that Austria has a very generous social security system but unfortunately it is run by Chello so there will be a little wait for payments. While you are waiting to see them you should put your hat at your feet and you may get enough coins to buy a salami semmel and a coke’.

One of the features about living on the top floor of an old building is that unless you want to walk up the stairs you have to catch a very small and very slow elevator. Ours has mirrors on three sides and this enables you to examine yourself carefully from a number of angles during the trip - which takes 35 seconds.

Today I noticed on the way up that I had quite a large dollop of dried ice cream on the end of my nose.

I also discovered that my efforts to cut my hair (I have a #1) were somewhat less than effective. I cut my own hair – actually it’s not really hair anymore – more like stubble - and normally do it weekly but with all the excitement I had left it untended for three weeks. I left a furry stripe down one side of the back of my head. A bit like an off centre half Mohawk. The type that a drug crazed hairdresser would do in purple while listening to Jimi Hendrix.

I had time to think about the people with whom I had interacted during my shopping trip – let me see……there was the woman in the funny little electrical shop in Landstrasser-Hauptstrasse, the woman who served me in Anker (salami semmel and a coke), the man from Niedermeyer, the cashier at Billa and lastly the cashier at Libro.

I know you are thinking ‘why did he have dried ice cream on his nose’. Simple – after the furniture was delivered I was hot and thirsty and hungry. There were no biscuits left so I fell on the ice cream like a wolf on lambs. It was very hard and I had to chip it with a spoon and clearly lost control of some stray pieces. I cannot explain why I did not notice until some hours later that there was ice cream on the end of my nose.

People occasionally leave messages on my Handy. Well I think they do because my phone beeps and shouts at me in German. I have no idea how to retrieve messages because I have not been able to access my message bank. All the instructions are in German (well it is Austria) and its not an intuitive process. Also I keep running out of time to see the nice man in Drei. One day when I have mastered the German language I will retrieve my messages to see if they are of some historical value and perhaps should be given to the museum.

The weather in Wien at the moment is perfect for me – cool and sunny. Not that I get out much as I am currently assembling the Great Pyramid of Giza and I think there are some stones missing. Did you know that the Egyptians invented the Allen key? Also I have to line the burial chamber up with Orion and my skylight isn’t big enough to get good view.

I am getting very good at bagging my stuff at the checkout. It’s more substance than style and needs work but I have reached the stage where I can clear the deck and have a gap of maybe one or two seconds before the next customer’s stuff arrives. Focus is important – snag something on the bag handle and it’s all over. I don’t use the Billa free bags - which are just big enough to hold a packet of cigarettes - but many people do. Billa in Landstrasser-Hauptstrasse sometimes hides these just for sport.

Another disappointing trip to Bauhaus today. Imagine you are an unmarried mother living in New Orleans just after Katrina hit – and you are black. You ask George Bush for assistance – think Bauhaus!

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