Why I Can’t Have Nice Things

Why I Can’t Have Nice Things

New Bicycle!

If anyone could follow me and record my exploits for a day, you might not believe it. I think when they made up the phrase, “And that’s why we can’t have nice things,” they were thinking of me.

Today, my goal was to go to the ministry of foreign documentation to get started on having them recognize my teaching qualifications… yes, something I should have done a long time ago. I just needed to unpack my printer, so I could print my translated transcripts (Thanks Rita Treija)!
When I plugged the printer in, it didn’t work. I thought it was the printer. Turns out, the printer didn’t like the voltage and blew out the power to the house. We have two sets of breakers. One in the flat and one on the stairs. Robert Brase could have helped us today.
So I went in search of a 230-115 voltage converter because those things you buy at the airport only convert the connector…. not the voltage. I learned that the hard way when I tried to use my rice cooker, and it got so hot, the rice cooked in five minutes and most of it just burned to the bottom of the pan.
No luck at any of the nearby electronic stores… Depot, Euronics, RD… so I asked the keymaker (the one thing I got done today), and he suggested Argus. Miles away. Before I went there, I called, and Martins needed to know how many watts I was going to be converting. Who knew? I swear I had a dream about this whole thing once.
So I rode my bike to Argus for a 1000W converter, which we figured would power my computer and printer and a few other incidentals as needed.
As I rode, my bike started to fall apart. It was making this whistling noise, and clinking and clanking. Those cool-looking, yellow plastic shields were submitting to the rough streets of Riga, and I had to tear them off. It was a sad day, but sometimes you just have to let go of ornaments. Move on with your life.
Finally, I found Argus which was a challenge because the signage is pretty not easy to read, and nothing is just in a place where it says it is on the map. It’s all an adventure.
Martins spoke excellent English and helped me find the right converter. I paid him a bunch of fake money (they call them ‘Euros’), and he boxed it up. “Will it fit in your bag?” he asked, looking at this big box and my little bag. “Probably not, but I can put it on the back of my bike. I have a rack.” I said as Latvia completed their domination of Russia in basketball.
The box fit perfectly on the rack, and the built-in elastic straps seemed to be made for the job. They divided into two, so they could wrap around the corners of the box. It seemed like a match made in heaven. But bumpity bump bump, and the box was gone! Or so I thought. I turned around, and it wasn’t on the rack, but upon further inspection, it had slipped to the side.
I carefully restrapped it and merrily rode, but I could tell the box was not happy on the rack. For some reason, it just wanted to slide to the right and try to fall off. I hate gravity… have I mentioned that lately? Everything falls. Everything I own just falls down all the time. Pants, glasses, hearing aid batteries… (don’t even get me started on those)… everything.
So I got to the bike lane on Barons street, and I stopped to start seriously strapping this thing down. I planned to use my lock to force the straps together so they could not possibly come undone. As I was carefully manipulating the universe to bend to my will, I heard a honk… the nice blond lady in the car I was blocking wanted to get out of her parking spot. No problem, universe. I will not be thwarted by a horn!
I moved to the sidewalk and carefully secured the cables and cords and chain and lock… snap. The deed was done. The box was secure. It would not move. I could not fail.
Then I rode on another trek to find this used Swedish furniture shop because I have no furniture… and it was the hardest place to find. I won’t go into detail, but Riga, seriously… signs. Get some signs. Street signs. Signs for your businesses. It will really help make life better for everyone. Unless it’s all a big secret. Maybe that’s your game, Riga. I don’t know. I will figure it out.
The furniture shop was a bust. The guy, who spoke almost no English, just pointed up the stairs. I looked around and found some things I wanted, but he never came to help. I even called out, “Help? Help!” but he wouldn’t help. Another lesson from American retail, “Can I help you?” You’ll get way more business if you ask me. I swear.
I followed my GPS back to Krasta Iela where I now live (the post about this is coming soon… I swear!), and stopped at a little store for some ice cream and Coke. Today calls for some junk food. It might be the only thing keeping me alive right now. The hope that I have some junk food waiting for me once I finish this post.
Oh, the box. So the box made it almost all the way home, but somewhere on the cobblestones of Maskavas iela (probably crossing the tram tracks), it once again slipped to the side of my bike, and I just let it stay there until I got home. I was too exhausted to fight. If it wanted to fall, screw it. Fall. FALL YOU STUPID BOX!!!
It did not fall. I made it home, and fired up the voltage converter, and I am the proud parent of my iMac once again!

Side note: This youtube video won’t play right. I had to go back and reedit the post to add spaces between paragraphs because it was adding spaces to each paragraph every time I hit the Return button. What is wrong with my life? I do not know. Nothing works.

One Reply to “Why I Can’t Have Nice Things”

  1. Jeff, I was vindicated by the fresh perspective you brought to cobblestone streets here. I used to think I was the only one who loved the way they look but hate the way they work. Great voice here. Also, gravity really does suck. There is a theory floating around in physics that argues that the progression of time “forward” is just the illusion created by the entropy of all things. Everything is, at least on a micro level, moving toward dissipation and equilibrium, which means chaos. I like to think that gravity is one of those forces that reminds us of that. I’ve never had the glass I’ve dropped, which lays exploded on the floor, restore itself and come back into my hand. Thus, the universe really is out to get us. It’s a miracle we’re even still here, right. Great reflections, my friend.

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