... So Meike called the phone company to explain the whole conundrum. The lady was nice and understanding, and it was a relief to have someone helping - rather than hindering - our path to the phone. 'Just to confirm your details', the woman repeated, '...you have no middle name, correct?' - oh dear! Apparently, if Meike's middle name (Friederike) had not been specified, or even just spelt incorrectly, we'd be knocked back again upon delivery. Wow, every little god-damn detail matters apparently. This country's efficiency is dropping, I tell you! Anyway, the lady assured us it'd be sent again through a different courier, and at a more convenient time of day. So it was all sorted - or so we thought...
A few days later we received a phone call from a delivery company - hold on! - it was the same god-damn delivery company from last time, the one that screwed us about royally! Their ultimatum was that the phone would be delivered on the same f'ing day between the same f'ing hours (Monday 10:00 ~ 15:00). WTFF!!?!!?
No, we cannot deliver it to you any other day or any other time, but collection before 9:30 is acceptable
It seemed best to go a long way away from anyone involved in this whole performance, lest Meike turn into an angry German and become violent. Off to ride my bike now! - however, this time on a much better seat. It seems that if a urologist designs your seat, the price doubles. Grumble! Benefit of the doubt, and to be super-safe this time, I bought the urologists' seat anyway; there is no way I want my parts becoming any more numb (if that's possible). It was a hugely different experience riding on the new seat - less pressure, more happiness (hap-penis?). It was not a match for the ride that day though...
Oh god, why would anyone listen to the voices in their head when they say such stupid thing? Why oh why? Then came Shu's voice with: Come on! Push it! Don't be soft! Get more massive! Doooo it!! Of course, a great idea to listen to that when every other thought was against it. Here's the situation: You ride in strong wind that keeps your speed under 15 km/h (slow) for an hour; it's very cold and wet; it's a cloudy, grey and depressing day with no blue sky anywhere; your parts are still numb and you're scarred it'll get worse; you're lost in Potsdam (wherever the F' that is); and you are still less than 20% into your ride. Sure! I thought, I don't want to be soft like Ben (sorry Lizanne, but it's so motivating to think that sometimes, hehe!). C.O.A? Clearly to continue on our merry way! Potsdam had a few things of note, such as some odd outdoor furniture and some very gay stone statues. It was only every 5 or 6 minutes that I'd stop and rethink again; every time, the same voice telling me 'don't be soft'. From Potsdam - which smelt like coal for some funny reason - I was going for a loop around the southern lake, Schwielowsee. Apparently, that's where Einstein once lived; a good enough reason to visit, I thought. Oh, to hell with this! I'm cold - it's raining - it's dark - it's desolate - the trees are bare - the houses are derelict - the roads are rough - I'm out of water - I'm out of chocolate - and I'm lost again! I did make it back to the Potsdam main station eventually; but upon passing it for the third time in 20 minutes and smashing my ankle on my frame causing it to bleed, I was not in the best of moods. Plus, my knee had started speaking to me: Why do you hate me? I wanna' stop peddling now! Do your knees talk to you sometimes, complaining about too much exercise? Mine did. To finish this long-winded whinge (BTW: it was still fuggin' windy!), the heavens opened up and an almighty downpour iced my so-over-this cake. 87 km - I hate you Schweilowsee!
After that, all I wanted to do was curl up under a warm blanket for a few days. Unfortunately, Meike's doonas aren't big enough for me; I can choose between warm feet or warm shoulder, not both. This called for a trip to Ikea - Yay! Shopping time! Meike had raved about the Ikea experience, and put special emphasis on their superior hotdogs (to inferior Aussie Ikea hotdogs). You have so many choices when buying a doona in this country: cotton or polyester, wool or feather, camel or goose, thick or thin, long or short, etc. But seriously, why compromise your sleeping experience with something adequate when you can have over-the-top? Hehe! I bought the biggest, softest, most bestest doona EVA! Did you know 2.4 x 2.2 m was available with 90% goose down? I didn't, but I have one now! It was a shame that they only had hideous cover designs - I went with grey patchwork. It's as big as a god-damn tent! And yes, Meike was right: the Ikea hotdogs are things you must include in your Ikea experience. So damn tasty! After getting it home, I noticed my camera's face detection function picks up anything face-like. Giggle! The cover was so big that it ate all the other washing.
Next few days were kinda' slow. The highlight of the slowness was Niki's (Meike's gymnastics coach) birthday party, where I spent 2.5 hrs watching the clock tick. Niki's boy was offered a choice earlier in the year: Get me pregnant or I'm leaving. Wow, what a choice! Are you in (literally) or are you out? He stayed, she's pregnant, and he's still unemployed. The fact he's not even applying for jobs from fear of failure did not stand up strong when cornered in the kitchen against the girls group's assault with their strongly worded orders: You get a job NOW!. "No wonder he's always scarce without Niki protecting him", Meike commented. We all went to Potsdamer Platz for shits n' giggles at some point too.
Germany's efficiency has dropped dramatically (I alluded to this with the icon for this post, check the archives). This worrying fact has come to light through the following observations:
- Anally tight rules for mobile phone delivery by courier
- Pay by cash or card - never both, and no cash-out anywhere
- Super-expensive public transport with all-weekend main line track-work
- Buy 1302.79€ bike? - don't forget the 2.79€ (no rounding)
- Legal name change requires doctors certificate saying 'mental suffrage'
- Loose point on your licence for pedestrian misbehaviour (I'm serious!)
- Shops closed on Sundays
- You can buy 'footpath insurance' in case your paths are slippery
- Blind obedience to traffic signals, even on empty streets
On that last point, I made it a stern personal objective to not obey that rule. My little plan met it's reception with the authorities... This kind of civil disobedience incurs a 26.40€ fine, apparently. I know this because I crossed a tiny side street at 22:40 Monday night with no cars to give me reason to wait, and up came a police car to stop me. I wasn't upset by this at all, and I'd do it again knowing full-well I'd be fined just for the satisfaction of standing up for what I believe in: thinking for myself and being efficient! Viva la sensiblé! I forgot that 'ausweise' means passport and ID, so I told them it was at home. Unfortunately, no postal worker shall ever find a Sam living at Birkbuschstr.8 since my name is not on the mailbox. But even if they did find me, I'd happily pay! Hehe! Silly country.
Some of you (Scary Clare) were worried I'd lost my beard. This was only temporary while I had no way to trim the damn thing. But now, with the marvellous aid of scissors (and 1 weeks wait), I have a very uneven one again. I feel like I fit in a little more here with a beard, but still something bothers me... I think I know what it is: there are too many ugly people whom also have beards! There we are, got it! During weekdays, when everyone is at work (and I'm not), you have all the drop-kicks wandering about, bumping into each other and getting in my way. It's only on the weekends when Berlin beautifies itself with more-upstanding members of the community. So why are we restricting them to shopping on Saturday only? Efficiency: dropping. Do not go shopping on Saturday in this country if you can avoid it. That is, unless you wish to bump into a handsome well-shaven job-toting man to casually ask of his name and marital status (ladies); or any other busty beautiful blonde who can remember her name (guys). That about summarises it: drop-kicks during the week, Aryans on the weekend (Saturdays anyway).
One last thing, it snowed! Yay! It was only for a day but it made me smile :-) I also got my phone. When we collected it I took my pliers instead they needed some persuasion.
PS: Anyone want my old seat?