Wednesday, September 3, 2014


You try to check on the status of the stool you ordered on Amazon--the one that will allow your pinched nerve husband to remain seated in the kitchen and feel better by cooking us some great food.

Although my phone-phobic, hearing-challenged self is unhappy speaking on the telephone in any language, to do so in Italian from our house has been a special trial. When you live as deep into the countryside as we do, in order to get any reception at all, one has to:
1.station herself in front of a particular window
2.NOT move
3.pray to the Telephone Gods that there won't be too much static at the other end, and that the person at the other end will have the patience to stick with you, and that you won't get cut off mid-sentence due to ???

In terms of speaking to the nice lady about tracking your package, you also need to pray that either you or your husband doesn't have "number anxiety" when having to recite long Italian numbers, and that one of you actually knows the Italian alphabet. But most importantly, you better hope that your package tracking number is not W269438157.

Even though I am the designated Telephone Talker in the family, I am number and alphabet challenged. Fortunately my temporarily handicapped husband is not. So when we sat down together to call about the whereabouts of his new stool, he was confident that having learned the Italian alphabet in Yale's Intensive Beginning Italian class, he'd be able to pitch in at the right moment.

Even so, we decided a little preparation might be necessary, since not even he could remember how to say the letter W.  But techno-savvy man that he is, he quickly found an on-line tutorial that teaches the alphabet. Of course they started at the beginning by telling us how many vowels there were, and reciting each one. The consonants were next.

We waited with great anticipation for the W, but the teacher himself seemed to have forgotten the W. How come? Could he/we have missed it?

We started the the tutorial again and got the same result. Then the light bulb went off:THIS LANGUAGE HAS NO W! Now what?

We were lucky in that the nice tracking lady didn't hang up when we couldn't respond with the tracking number. She's probably used to dealing with analphabetic dumb foreigners, and found a way around the problem.

And the best news? That the stool was en route, and that we could, all by our incompetent selves, call Driver Man, Antonio, directly on his cell phone to explain that he would never be able to find our house, but that if the gods were kind, we'd be able to find HIM at the justly popular Asterix Bar in our nearest village.

This story actually has a happy ending, since after not much of a wait, Antonio appeared bearing a stool-shaped box that contained a really lovely stool that looks as if it were made for the home of a pinched nerve victim in need of a place to rest his weary, cortisone-filled bum.

Looks great from all angles, right?

This first grouping was supposed to show just how much at home the new stool feels.

So why did we need another photo? Well, since we think too much matching is over-rated, we have three different kinds of kitchen chairs, and one was feeling left out.

(I have a more embarrassing French equivalent of my telephone trials, but my face is already red enough for now. To get the courage to tell that one, I need to go downstairs and admire the new stool just to remind myself that good things, not just news of disaster, can come from a telephone call. So please don't hang up yet. The French version will be coming up soon.)

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