Sunday, October 01, 2006

Waaah! (Somebody call the waahmbulance)

Saturday 9/30/2006, 1930

(I think I’ll start date- and time stamping my postings, because I can’t adjust the timestamp on the blogging tool. I have irregular access to the internet, and I am composing them in Word and uploading them when I can, so the timestamp on the blog doesn’t necessarily correspond to when I am writing them.)

If I believed in that sort of thing, I’d say my patience was being tested today. It was a day of minor annoyances. I’m not even sure I can remember them all, but I’ll try.

My last posting was written from 0900 – 1000 Saturday morning, while waiting behind the Burger King at the PX for the barber shop to open. The day was just beginning, and the first minor annoyance (no breakfast) had already manifested itself. Unless, that is, you count the reason I was waiting at the barber shop in the first place.

My mantra of “high and tight, and #1 on top” apparently hadn’t reached the lady barber’s consciousness yesterday. She was too busy talking to her eleven year old on the phone to pay much attention to me. When she *finally* finished, she stuck the mirror in my face and what I saw looked OK, so I paid and left. When I looked in the mirror this morning, I saw that my hair was still much too long on top (well, OK, the upper sides; I don’t have any hair on top at all :-) ) – definitely not a #1 (as short as it gets without just having skin). I was waiting at the barber shop to ask to have it fixed. So I guess no breakfast might have been Annoyance #2.

A few minutes after ten, I packed up the computer and went around the corner into the PX, to find that the barber shop was not yet open, despite the posted opening time of 1000. Annoyance #3. Several other people were waiting. We waited around, making conversation and speculating about what the trouble was. One by one they left, until I was the last one. (Where else was I going to go?)

At about 10:45 or so, an employee finally came, expressing surprise that nobody was there and explaining that her car had broken down. She didn’t have her keys, so she had to mess around getting some. She had no intention of staying to cut hair, but had intended to take care of her car. Then she discovered that the other employee had decided not to come to work today. So she stayed around to work. I had been hoping to have the barber who had cut my hair wrong fix it, but since she wasn’t there this woman fixed it. She didn’t have a cash drawer and couldn’t take payment, although in my case it didn’t matter since I wasn’t paying. I tipped her anyway. So now my haircut was OK, but it was already nearly afternoon. Time to think about lunch.

I decided to go back to my room and drop off my camera and a couple other things, because my bag was heavier than I wanted to carry around downtown all day. I walked back to my building (all of this involved much walking around the post, similar to the post in Korea). Imagine my surprise and delight when my room key (magnetic card) failed to open the door! Annoyance #4. The cleaning ladies were there and let me into the building and into my room. But the card just wouldn’t work. I called the front desk on the room phone. No answer. Great. I left a message, rearranged my bag as planned, and then set out across the post for the Army Lodging office. When I got there they told me that my card was demagnetized because I hadn’t kept it in the little sleeve. (I threw away the sleeve because they wrote my building and room number on it). So I took a new sleeve and remagnetized card, and set out for downtown. Annoyance #4 dealt with.

I headed for the train and went downtown to seek a Wall Street Journal, some lunch, and a wi-fi hotspot.

Annoyance #5 – no Wall Street Journal. Anyplace. The first “Newsstand” (well, that’s what the sign said) had only one newspaper, a few porn magazines, lottery tickets, and a lot of cigarettes. The second two were closed. Walking many blocks in several directions failed to yield a single WSJ. So I gave up and decided to just read it online once I got to a wi-fi location.

Annoyance #6 – hard to find a wi-fi hotspot. I walked many more blocks, failing to locate any of the places I had written down. Many were closed for the weekend; some I couldn’t find. I finally ended up in Peachtree Center, an underground mall with a large food court. I was hungry and it looked good. I stopped at information and asked if they knew a hotspot. The lady pointed to a sign that said “Hot” in the food court and said people connected to the internet there, but that they had to plug in. I didn’t have an Ethernet cable with me, so I was bummed. I set off to find an Ethernet cable in the mall, since I didn’t want to talk around looking for a wireless hotspot anymore.

Annoyance #7 (or maybe #6a) – ignorant employees who don’t understand internet connections. Finally I gave up and decided to sit down by the “Hot” sign. I noticed somebody using his computer with no cable. Long story short, the people the “information” person saw had been plugging in their power cables, but it was in fact a wireless hotspot. She just had no idea how it worked.

OK, things were looking up! I went back to an oriental takeout place that I had seen, and got a huge pile of various flavors of chicken and some fried rice for lunch (I think it was about 3:00 PM by then). I sat down and had a nice meal and actually got on the internet for awhile. I kept getting kicked off, but I don’t categorize that as a real annoyance – it’s free, so what do you expect? It wasn’t really too bad.

Across from the food court was a store called “International Records”. They were having a retirement sale – all CD’s were $1. I went through the bins and picked up a few that looked good. A couple I already knew I’d like – Six Concerti Grossi by Handel, and the Yellow River Concerto with Yitkin Seow at the piano. (I heard this playing once at a booth at a street festival in Plymouth, but never bought the CD). Others were more speculation – a collection called “Autumn Moon - The Chinese Virtuosi”, the “Nordic Roots” I’m listening to now, a collection of hits by The Motels, The Fixx, and Berlin (seems OK), and one loser that wasn’t what I thought it might be. I ripped them into my computer and put them on the iPod while I chatted with friends over Yahoo Messenger and with Anna on AIM.

So in the end it seemed like the day had been redeemed. I packed up, got on the train, and returned to Ft. McPherson. I went to plug in my computer and….crap!

Annoyance #8: I am using an (expensive) international surge suppressor with multiple country adapters. When I unplugged it at the Peachtree Center, I was neither careful nor observant, and the North American adapter stayed plugged into the wall. So I was here and it was there. Nothing to do but go back and get it.

1 ½ hours, $3.50 in train tickets, and a lot of walking later, I was back here with the adapter in hand. Time for a nice glass of Jack Daniel’s on ice, and a therapeutic session of complaining on my blog. Waaah!

It’s ok, don’t call the waahmbulance. I’m all better now. :-)

Mood: Tired
Music : Nordic Roots ( e.g. En Geng Ska Han Greta)

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