The alarm goes off at 4, as I had set it. I reset it for 10 past. But, as I have actually made the appointment, I get up within 5 minutes and get ready and go.
I arrive. He doesn’t recognise me from yesterday. I am, after all, wearing exactly the same coat, scarf and hat as yesterday. He is, to say the least, quite a miserable barsteward.
I give him my surname. He finds the appointment. I give him my phone number. He mistake a nine for an eight. I know my Italian pronunciation is not good but for goodness sake, otto and nove could not really be confused. I decide he is quite stupid really.
He tells me that if he doesn’t phone me that I am to come back before 7 (when they close).
I walk away, happy that I am, at least, doing the something that I should have done a month or more ago.
About 6 he phones me. I walk back to the place.
He is there. Some car is jacked up, without wheels. He gets inside. A man standing with him (who I realise is the car owner) wants something from inside the car. Between them they retrieve it. They speak some more and the man goes away. He starts swearing in Italian. The man has, obviously, pissed him off. I smile at him as if I understand what was going on. ‘Stupid customers’, I thought. He doesn’t smile back. I guess it’s not a good day for him.
I pay for my tyres and he gives me my keys. I have already seen my car and noted that, where they had parked it, there is a car blocking my way out. I ask him if he knows the car that is blocking it. Begrudgingly, he comes out and looks. Well, now, that’s a surprise, it is one of the cars in for a tyre change. He realises and retrieves the key to move it. We walk to the other side of the street and he goes to move the car but before he gets in, I notice some ‘packages’ on my back seat. I question him about why the tyres are not being stored in their storehouse – as we had talked about yesterday. He is not happy. He mumbles something and moves the car that is blocking my way out and then returns to the ‘shop’.
I follow. I don’t know what the hell is going on but I ain’t moving nowhere. He comes out and crosses the road. He gets out the tyres and puts them in the warehouse. This is not done with any joy. In fact, he is using the same swear words that he used with the last customer. At times like this I do wish my Italian were better – just so I could say something really sarcastic to him. This new law must have given them so much business and yet he is not happy about it! I imagine nothing makes him happy, really.
I go into the office with him. He takes down all my details. I ask if I need a receipt or something to prove that I have my tyres in their storehouse. Apparently not. He has all my details and that’s enough. I say I will come back in March. He suggests April is OK too. I set the date in my calendar on my phone. I set it for March because, if I am like I usually am, it will take me a few weeks to build up my courage to go back and go through all this shit again.
On the bright side, I have tyres and don’t need to worry about snow. Yay!
I hope that he cheers up a bit too.
I go to pick up F to go and get the lasagne. We were so impressed with the one for Christmas we have bought the same for New Year. It’s for 6 people so will last three days and it was truly wonderful. So creamy.
We talk about the fact that I have met P (a neighbour on my floor that knew F at the time when he was working in the shop). She has two dogs. She is staying home on New Year’s Eve for much the same reason as we are. The dogs don’t like fireworks and people go a bit crazy, here, with them. We agree that we shall invite her round for dinner. We have champagne, good wine, the lasagne, antipasto stuff and then the zampone and lentils. I will also do mashed potato (because F likes that). What more could you ask for?