• My kingdom for a harddisk

    by  • 1 October, 2004 • Uncategorized • 1 Comment

    At a quarter past six, straight from the office, I was in the vendor’s shop. Michalis, the technician whom I had been dealing with, was waiting for me, clearly embarassed. I told him not to worry, but that I was now at the end of my patience. I offered 2 alternatives. Either they rang their supplier in Athens immediately and ordered them to put a disk with the correct specifications on the ferry tonight so that I would get it tomorrow morning, or they would have to give me my money back. The part about the ferry is not so unusual here, it is done all the time. Michalis said he would need to speak to his boss. We both went to see him. His boss, whose English had been so fluent and who had been so friendly and all over me before, now didn’t even bother to look up at me whilst I was standing next to his desk. He growled a rather long tirade in Greek to Michalis, who got even more embarassed. I think he kind of feared that I might have understood. I wasn’t paying attention though. All I was doing was running through my head the script I had prepared, in which I would stand firm and not leave until I had what I had come for. At that moment the guy sitting at the only other desk in the office took over. I guessed it was an associate. He clearly had more authority than an employee (who usually has no authority in any matter whatsoever in this kind of organization). He exchanged a few words with Michalis, also in Greek, and then invited me to sit down. At least some level of civility. Michalis left. I was a bit surprised to see the guy run a search in Google. I gave him the spec sheet that I had printed out from the website of Hitachi, which clearly demonstrated that the disk they had given me was a 4200RPM model, not the 5400RPM that I had paid for. He didn’t even give it a glance. In his pompous way he was going to decide which information he was going to use. After a few misses he got to the same site and page that I had printed out for him. Without a word he grabbed in a metal box on the shelf beside him, pulled out a note of €100 and one of €50 and put them in front of me. The exact amount that I had paid them for the disk. I took them, also without saying a word, stood up and left the room. In the hallway I looked into the room where Michalis was working, said loud and clearly goodbye to him and thanked him for all his help. Five seconds later I was on the street in the warm late September evening sun.

    From there to Plaisio, which is the biggest electronics shop in Iraklio, it was only 10 minutes walking. They did not have any disk drives in stock when my computer broke down, exactly one month ago. Now I was willing to give them a chance. A friendly shop assistant asserted that they didn’t not have one with the right specifications in stock now. But “they could order one from their headquarters in Athens and I would have it in 4 days”. Since all the good and not so good seems to obligatorily come from Athens, I settled for that. When it came to order the device online, the shop assistant told me that also in Athens they had run out of 5400RPM models, but they still had 7200RPM’s in stock, at a higher price, of course. I wasn’t sure if my Powerbook would be able to handle the extra power consumption and heat dissipation, but what the heck, let’s live dangerously for once!

    I now wonder what surprises Tuesday will have in stock for me…

    One Response to My kingdom for a harddisk

    1. Tom Hoffman
      3 October, 2004 at 20:51

      My dear Candide,

      My dear Gulliver (was Swift playing with the word “gullible”? That’s my guess.),

      You have spent you’re life moving from Lilliput to Laputa to Brobigdag, listening, with growing incredulity, to one Pangloss after another.

      This Chronicle entry reminds me of a scene from my notes on your life as I have experienced it: you standing at the entry of that hardware section within the Paris department store, holding an axe handle in a position of threat to prevent a crony of your boss from stealing appliances, apparently a routine matter of larceny prior to your taking the job of managing the section. You did the same when we worked together at Europa Dada. My angry young man act was a pale shadow, freakish of you steady performance.

      But don’t forget that Richard III died waiting for that horse.

      It’s not the coming hither or going forth. Kicking ass is all.

      By the way, you should consider writing an English novel. You write in the mixed prose of a poet. I particularly like your carryover of the French idiom in the Sept 30th entry: “Today, we are now Thursday.” Indeed, most of us are whatever day of the week we are.

      Hell, if Josef Conrad and Vladimir Nabakov could do it, you certainly can.

      Tom Hotspur Hoffman

      PS: I hasten to add that I got you that EEI Very Ltd. Wintel machine, precisely taylored to your specs and ordered from Toilet upon Thames via the Dublin offices of Gateway, inside of a week during the Christmas season. Why? The last three letters of “American”: “I Can”. Take heart. If anybody can force thos Greeks to grease their machine, it’s Luc Henri Dubois.

      PPS: Cheer up, my friend. As an American who might not survive the Reign of Republican Terrorism, I feel like a low-rent, anonymous Moses on Pisgah Mount. I am not looking toward Canaan, however, but rather into hell.

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