Friday, June 27, 2008

Can You Make a Bomb from Fluff?

We were expecting two guests to arrive, a mother and daughter. They are Americans, but were arriving by train from Prague. I did not know it ahead of time, but the mother and I have a mutual friend. This was another of the e-mail notifications that was lost when the computer died, so we did not know their exact arrival time. At 2:30, I received an e-mail from Kelly the daughter stating she missed the train, to please tell her mother she would be on the next one. I thought this was strange. They were traveling together. There was no additional information to sort the puzzle. Later, Linda shows up at the door. Someone let her into the building. After introductions, she shares that she is a friend of my friend Bev. Then with confusion in her voice goes on to say, "My days have been filled with losses. Bev told me you love peanut butter and marshmallow fluff.|I brought you a jar, but that is the first thing they took away from me. Apparently, you can make a bomb out of marshmallow fluff. Then my luggage never arrived. I have been stuck with these clothes for the last three days. They are supposed to forward my luggage here." As it turned out, due to the lost luggage, Kelly made one more valiant attempt to return to the airport to try to recover it, but on her return, missed the train. In the meanwhile, Linda traveling on public transport, validated her ticket more than once and was caught by an inspector who found her overly validated ticket unreadable. She was fined $45.00 being too intimidated to fight back. Linda went off to puruse the city while waiting for Kelly to arrive. While she was gone, the phone rang and it was Malev Airlines stating they had the luggage for delivery and as soon as it cleared Customs, they would deliver it; however, they would call first. Minutes after I hung up the phone, the new guest in the other room asked if she could use the phone to reserve restaurants. No problem. After ten minutes of getting her business done, she returned the phone to the cradle. I was busy working on the computer, writing the Hungary chapter for the Frommer's Eastern Europe guide book. The phone rang! Expecting Malev again, I answered it. Rather I attempted futily to answer it. Successive attempts at pressing the answer button were disregarded by the phone forcing the call to go to voice mail. There was no message, just a hang up. Within a minute, the same thing repeated. A call came in, I could not get the phone to respond, voice mail and an hang-up. I knew it was Linda's luggage using a life line and calling a friend, only to be presumably ignored. Looking at Malev's website, I could only find two phone numbers. One for the Duna Club, the frequent flyer program and one for reservations. Using my cell phone since the now defunct regular phone would not access a dial tone, I called reservations in the hopes of getting a forwarding number to call for lost luggage. Voice mail in Hungarian was followed by a repeat in English. "To speak to someone in English, please press 2". I pressed 2 on the mobile, but the voice mail did not recognize it. I pressed again, but the initial message continued to repeat itself like a bad stuttering problem. I pressed 2, pressed 2, pressed 2, like a man possessed. What I eventually got was 22, which disconnected me from the system. Calling back again and start over had the same result. Two was just not making the tone that tittilated the system into action, but 22 was definite overstimulation. By the fifth attempt, I was able to claim a modicum of success and move on to the next level. This is where the youth outshine we older folk. Their thumb control is far advanced developed from video games, giving them superior powers. My nephews were always king of the universe while I was still trying to escape the dungeon when playing with them. They sadly left me to be eaten as they flew off to a level I could not even dream of. When I did navigate to the next branch of this phone tree, the message clearly stated for lost luggage press 1. Now we are getting somewhere. Press 1. Nothing. Press 1. Nothing. Press 1 harder like it will make a difference and the system will hear my added efforts of strengh in crushing down the key. The system was unimpressed. It would not budge beyond repeating my options with malicious joy that I was impotent to achieve any of them. My one last attempt scored an 11 and I was disconnected for the last time. Linda, I like you, but you will never see your luggage again. Go shopping. When Ron came home, he suggested I try his phone, a different model. He did not say, he would try his phone, but that I should. Like a miracle, it worked. I reached a living human being and to add miracle to miracle, she spoken English and gave me another number to call for the delivery service. Just when I thought I had grabbed the golden ring, I found I was on the wrong merry-go-round. I called the delivery service and tried explaining that the luggage had arrived, I had been called, they did verify the address, someone has been calling, but the phone was not working and I could not answer the phone. They must have thought no one was here, so they did not bother attempting the delivery. The lady on the other end said "Sorry, I no speak English well." Okay, one more time in monosyllables and s-l-o-w-l-y. That worked! She asked for the reference number. I turned to Linda and asked for the reference number. After a moment of silence, she whispered "Kelly has it with her. She took it to return to the airport." Without that number, my monolingual helper was helpless. The reference number are the keys to the kingdom. End of call. Hours later, Kelly arrived on the next train from Prague. I played the above game again, this time learning from my previous mistakes and scoring faster and reaching the upper echelons of levels with greater speed, but to no avail. I was told the luggage could be delivered at any time, but they could not understand they should call on my mobile and not the home phone. Grrr.... Good night everyone. Maybe the sandman and the luggage delivery man will show up hand in hand.

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