Monday, July 1, 2013

HOW (NOT TO) GET A DELIVERY WHEN YOU LIVE IN MIDDLE-OF-NOWHERE ITALIA




"Well if you really needed that package by yesterday, what's the point of discussing it now?" says the charming UPS lady to our visiting friend S, who called the delivery company on Jim's behalf. Actually, it was on my behalf, too, since I was still half asleep upstairs when the call needed to be made.

In addition to being unhelpful, this lady was suspicious of S's intentions:"Well who are YOU, anyway?"

S explains that she is just trying to assist Jim, because he feels his Italian is not up to dealing with the machinations needed to get the movie in that package delivered to us in time for Wednesday's Italian film fest.

But since S's request that our lonesome package be rerouted to an address that somebody could actually find was contrary to protocol, Signora UPS needed to check with her supervisor. S asked that she call back within the hour to let Jim know what was up.

Signora UPS was ready with her favorite comeback:"He doesn't speak Italian, so what's the point?" Then she asked S for HER number instead. Ever quick on the draw despite her increasing annoyance, S retorted, "his wife speaks Italian, but she's sleeping at the moment." At this point, S was wondering just how much of our personal lives she was going to have to reveal to get the job done.

I should backtrack a bit. When you live at an address that no map or GPS can recognize, delivery of anything except the regular mail (which only arrives when our Postina feels like coming here) is very IFFY.

Full disclosure:I had called the day before to arrange for our precious package to be delivered to our local Asterix Bar that everyone seems able to find--the perfect solution, right?

I explained how urgent it was to get this package ASAP, and naively thought that all would be "a posto" (Italian for "hunky dory.") After all, everything seemed in place for us to grab a cappuccino and our package and happily head back to our hidden home.

But that was before our smarter friends reminded us that Asterix Bar was closed all day Monday--oops!

S, a Chicago girl who settled in Rome over 50 years ago, modestly describes herself as speaking  "fluently incorrect Italian." That doesn't stop her from being indomitably brilliant on the phone, regardless of what the person on the other end is dishing out.

Once we found out that our clever plan to have the package delivered to Asterix, was not going to work, we needed S to call to make a delivery switch to the aptly named Zoobar.

Fortunately, S was still here when UPS called back to give us the latest news on whether we would live to see our package. As soon as the phone rang, I handed it right to S. On hearing her voice, the person said, "Donatella?" Of course S pretended to be me and said, "SI!"

The good news was that all would be tutto a posto (and without anyone having to "go postal").

Even better: the Zoobar people couldn't have been nicer, and we made some new friends.

Hereafter, if we ever need a place to have a package delivered on a Monday, we're heading for the Zoo!

But what was up with that uncharacteristically unpleasant UPS lady?

S, who had just returned from a French vacation that was marred by a nasty encounter with a mean waitress, concluded that Signora UPS must have a twin sister in France.



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