mercredi, octobre 26, 2005

The Yellow Eye of Chino

We needed to fax some paperwork back to the states. How dumb does that sound--how dumb, and self-important, too? But alas, it describes exactly what we had to do. We are trying to get out of our U.S. cell phone contract with Verizon (we loved that James Earl Jones voiced all the system announcements and admonishments: "Verizon Wireless is connecting you to 411 Connect..."--if a corporate gig can give so much pleasure to so many, is it really so risible?). But we've learned those cell phone contracts are hard to get out of!

After lots of back-and-forth, (kindly handled by Dear Wife), Verizon had demanded a letter from our rental company on letterhead showing the terms of our rental agreement, and most importantly, our residency outside of the U.S. (or Verizon's service area, whichever is larger). After a few weeks of trying, we'd gotten the required paperwork from the small vacation rental service we've been using (they are incorporated in the Seychelles?), and now we needed to fax it to Verizon. Why bother? With the contract structure, we'd be on the hook for hundreds of dollars--but if we could get out of the contract, we'd have $300 or so refunded to us.

Baby, let's fax.

But how?

I called up our excellent real estate agent, Jules, ostensibly to discuss some matter with our pending rental of their rue Bonaparte apartment--aka, our "Bonapartment"--and then I dropped a little hint about our dilema. "Jules," I ask, "do you kow where we can go to fax something?"

Oh, sure, he says, come over and you can use our fax.


Dear Wife and I get dolled up to go and see him: we haven't got the apartment yet, afterall; we have yet to sign any papers and the deal still seems sketchy, so we are worried that we are going to lose the place if we don't appear solvent and smiling.

We show up at the office. But despite my best effort to clean up, I realize Jules is staring at my left eye. He seems hesitant to ask why I have a black eye--well, a yellow eye, really, as you can see; and I am hopeful that the discoloration is subtle enough to make him doubt what is probably obvious: namely, that I've been involved in some sort of dust up. So I just try to act implacably genial; and the more he stares at my eye, the more intensely I affect an air of unflappable graciousness and good-humor. I try to be just the sort of fellow to whom you'd entrust a fancily-appointed Parisian apartment; not the sort who wanders in off the street with a black eye (well, yellow) and says bugger the for sale ads, you got any rentals--cheap?

In situations like this, I must say Dear Wife's presence by my side is a far stronger proof of character than any act I could muster. She is a marvel of goodness, and people respond instinctively to her quality. So any questions about the eye remained unasked.

The fax was sent, and without any sign of scuttling the rental deal. And with the $300 bucks of Verizon refund coming our way, we may just get a printer that includes a fax machine. $300 bucks may only translate to 234EURO's, but it's a start!