In recent years I have wobbled delicately on the tightrope to self-improvement. A huge part of why I came to Vienna was their rumored laissez-faire attitude in hopes some of it would rub off on me. Clearly, old habits die very hard:
Forgetfulness: I had packed my makeup mirror from home, wrapped tenderly in my fuzzy house coat to keep it safe during any manhandling at the airport. In a fit of forgetfulness while unpacking, I ripped my housecoat from my suitcase only to watch my mirror fly across the room and smash into a billion little pieces on the floor. Seven years, they say. Maybe that explains my Internet and registration difficulties. Given the mirror mishap, I stared down my tiny powder mirror this morning, wondering if there was some way I could make it work. Then it hit me. While my computer is all but useless thanks to the lack of Internet connection, I can still access my webcam. So, I did my hair using Photobooth. Just call me McGyver.
Impatience: I had set my alarm for 8:11AM this morning, as if the extra minute would give my Internet a head start. Still no luck, access was still denied. At my buddy’s suggestion I was going to head to WU today to steal their wireless Internet and hopefully get my life sorted out. What my buddy neglected to tell me was that I needed to be registered with the university’s IT system, which I was not, and like everything important in Vienna seems to be, they were closed today. So I called my buddy who laughed at me and just told me to go to McDonald’s. I asked him again if he was registering with the authorities with his other buddy today, and responded with “Next week.” I told him I needed money now. He told me to find a bank machine. I asked him where one was exactly and he replied, “Around.” (He’s lucky you can’t punch people through cell phones). So I left for McDonald’s, black smoke billowing out my ears as I surfed the slowest Internet this side of dial-up.
Little known fact: I mind-melded with my “bffle” Amy before she left, so now when I’m in trouble, I sent out a mental bat signal, and she always shows up right on time. She woke up seconds before I sent her a strongly worded/caps locked Facebook message. The Internet may have been slow, but a friendly face in slow motion is still a friendly face.
Poor Organization: It was after I had just hung up with Amy when I realized that I had lost my folder with all my important documents like my WU acceptance letter. I took stock my situation:
I was alone.
I couldn’t speak the language.
And I lost the original documents that I needed for the following day.
I nearly threw myself in front of a tram.
If you’d ask my family, they’d say I can’t have nice things as I’ll always lose them.
After collecting myself, I headed back to WU to see if by some miracle it was at the lost and found there. I went to the information desk and, in a mess of German words and English frustration, I explained my situation. The guy behind the desk wasn’t entirely sure what it was I was missing, but he searched through their lost and found anyways. Box after box, he couldn’t find anything that resembled a “black and white folder…you know, like a book…thing…” Finally, at the last box, I spotted front page of my folder and nearly jumped over the counter to grab it. As I walked away from the counter thanking him in every language I knew, I saw a bankomat that accepted my Visa. Kidneys, you’re safe for now.
Buddy-less and shaken, I decided to return home before anything else happened.
Infidelity: Walking into my room, a girl stopped me to introduce herself. She was a fellow Calgarian hanging out with a guy I had met while standing in the Internet line. A regular Christmas miracle. The three of us sat together in the kitchen sharing our stories of disaster. One of my newfound friends offered up his buddy to help us finally get registered since mine was less available/willing. It felt dirty, another buddy was escorting me around Vienna, but OH it felt so right. I could have purred as I ticked off my mental checklist: Registration – check. Money – check. Internet – check (sort of?). Shopping – check.
To balance the scale I suppose we could say I helped strengthen some healthier habits today like self-control for not throwing myself on the floor of the McDonald’s a wailing like a baby on a nine hour flight to Frankfurt.