…like, I live in Romania now. Romania, for those of you without a map handy, is pretty far from Texas.
I have a little extra time to write now, so I’m hoping to update more often. Yes, more often than once a year. Or two. I think I can pull that off.
For now, let me just say that Romania, while generally nice and friendly and beautiful and full of good food and old women in babushkas, also has a dark side: no one here is in a hurry.
To do anything.
(Except when they’re driving, at which point they all act like they have a laboring woman in the back seat and less than five minutes to get to the hospital before the head starts cresting. But more on that later.)
For example, we arrived in Bucharest in mid-July and it wasn’t until a few days ago that we got an internet provider over to our house to hook us up. It took a good six weeks of calling them daily and basically begging them to take our money before they would deign to provide us with internet service. Which, as an internet service provider, is like, their thing.
Here’s an example of what it’s like dealing with customer service – and I use that second noun in the loosest of all possible senses – in Romania. Keep in mind that this isn’t a fly-by-night place. This is the second-largest internet provider in the entire country:
Me: <Dials incredibly long telephone number for Romanian internet provider. They have long numbers here. The Romanians. And their internet providers. >
Internet Boy: Buna ziua.
Me, in passable but far from perfect Romanian: Hello. I need to speak to someone who speaks English. I don’t speak Romanian well.
Internet Boy: <Long stream of lightening-fast Romanian, of which I only understand the word “suna,” which means “to call.”>
Me, in English: You want my phone number?
Internet Boy, in English: Yes. Give me your telephone number.
Me: <Gives incredibly long personal telephone number. Because I’m in Romania. And they have long numbers.>
Internet Boy: <Long stream of lightening-fast Romanian, of which I only understand “cinci minute,” which means “five minutes.”>
Me, English: Someone will call me in five minutes?
Internet Boy, in English again: Yes, someone will call you in five minutes.
Me: Arg. Thanks.
Internet Boy: La revedere!
The Romanians are masters of “Someone will call you back shortly.” Every communication with the company followed a closely-prescribed, ten-step order:
1. I call and tell them, “I need help, but I don’t speak Romanian very well.”
2. They tell me, in English, “I don’t speak English, but someone who does will call you back shortly.”
3. Two days pass.
4. Someone who speaks English returns my call.
5. I tell him, “I need someone to come to my house to connect the internet.”
6. They tell me, “Someone who can schedule that will call you back shortly.”
7. Two more days pass.
8. Someone who, according to rumor, can schedule the installation, calls back, gives me a ticket number, and tells me, “Someone will call you back very shortly to set up a time to install the internet.”
9. Two days pass.
10. Start back at Step No. 1.
Anyway, I’m tired and about to head to bed. It’s after 11 pm here, not the middle of the afternoon like there.
Because I’m in Romania.
[Also,you can still by my book I, Superhero!! on Amazon and Barnes & Noble dot com, but only in e-editions. if you’re the 1,000th person to buy the book, I will come to your house personally and sign…well, not the book, because it will probably be on your phone, and you don’t want me signing your phone. I’ll sign something. An arm. I’ll sign your arm. Or another book you don’t like that much and which you think my autograph will class up a bit.]
[PS: I won’t really do that.]