Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Up a creek without a paddle...

He set off for San Francisco this morning. From London, it's quite a schlep. I packed his bags and even packed a picnic so he could avoid airplane food. Computer? CHECK. Cell phone? CHECK. Reading glasses? (He hasn't had them that long.) CHECK. Sun glasses? (It is California afterall. Nevermind that London is about as warm as the box of fish fingers in your freezer). CHECK. Coat? Scarf? Ear plugs? Passport?... oh you get the drift.

The little Monica in me was feeling in control and on top of things.

He left silently in a Green Tomato (that's an electric car taxi service). I got a couple of texts, and a call to say that he was dutifully seated at the departure gate waiting for the flight to board. I took the opportunity to remind him - still channelling Monica from Friends - that all his travel efforts would come to nought if he failed to board his plane because he was at the wrong gate. In that respect he's got form. He once missed a business flight to NY by waiting at the wrong gate (and the wrong terminal) and somehow managing to tune out the frantic calls of his name over the tannoy. Turns out he was waiting at the gate of another BA flight going to NY, only an hour later... That's what happens when you live in the centre of things: Heathrow has several flights to NY, with the same airline, within hours of each other. It could happen to anyone but not to me.

Self-congratulation invites bad kharma. I ought to know, from experience. And I didn't have long to wait.

There was another call.

Him: "We're about to board but I've just realised I forgot something..." Me: (what? WHAT?) ????" Him: "My business cards..."  I didn't swear but I really wanted to. "You're a doll. Gotta go. Bye!!" He didn't say it quite like that of course. (He doesn't call me doll either, he calls me cute things that I'm too shy to share.) I wanted to swear some more but suddenly got a craving for something chocolatey.

No time for chocolate, besides I know how to differentiate between emotional and physical cravings. (Years of therapy. Plus, just to be on the safe side, I always make sure there's no chocolate in the house. It's foolproof.) Instead, I went online. I found a place not too far from his hotel. With a turnaround time of less than 6 hours with digital printing. (Thank you Google.) I found the file with the business card artwork. I dutifully loaded up the file and as a last step filled out the billing details. SURPRISE!!!

In America, a lot of billing systems are not set up to process non US/Canadian cards. It's not a criticism, it's a big country with a huge domestic market and let's face it, how many foreigners order business cards in any given year?

But if you're in London at 10 in the morning, 8 hours ahead of the West Coast, it's the internet equivalent of being up a creek with no paddle...

Paddle or no paddle I had to keep moving to keep the craving at bay. I emailed my American friends asking for help. I called them up at work too and left voicemails for good measure...Then I went to Zumba. Then I traipsed for miles to my audition. Then I tried to read my Financial Regulation studybook whilst I waited my turn to audition (Some people just love the sound of their own voices... "I call this 'painting on a found canvas'. I made that when I was in India." The English have some great descriptors for people like that. If you don't know them, ask some British people. One word starts with a T the other with a W.)  Then I traipsed back to the train station (and got a bit lost because I was hungry.) Then I had some lunch -  at about 3 o'clock. Then I  got an email back from my friends saying: "we're on the case." 
Thank goodness for reliable grown up friends. (And for Linked-in.)

Now I am waiting to see if the cards will be printed on time, or indeed at all. (I did receive another email from my friends saying they too were struggling with the payment on the printers' website...).

I am not complaining. I brought this onto myself by dedicating an entire blog entry to how much I was going to miss him during his business trip. As my Abuelita used to say "it's no good bringing to much attention onto yourself". I miss her so much. And she was right, I got my just desserts. (Which is another thing I miss about San Francisco. Expresso thick shake anyone?)

Note: The order has just gone through, the proof looks good, and the cards should be ready for him to collect when he lands! For the record (sorry Sue, I'm sure you're going to hate that...):

 Sue R., environmental lawyer and fantastic mother is a star!! (and a jolly good friend too.)


MuMuGB said...

Very impressive indeed. I am now feeling guilty as I don't do any of this when my husband travels...

Cathy Kozak said...

Now he is one lucky fellow. As with MuMuGB, I don't do any of these things when my husband goes away, nothing more than the prelimianary, "passport, money, eticket and the important reminders: where are you going? When will you be back?" And Isabelle, are you quite sure you want to be an actress? Because you have great potential as a lifesaver :)

isabelle gregson said...

It did occur to me at various points today that I could be charging a fortune for this type of service!