Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today is Valentine’s Day.

So far my day has consisted of sleeping late, getting a pretty pair of yellow gold hoop earrings with tiny white gold filigreed hearts suspended in them, brunch at my favourite café, shoe shopping (nope…didn’t find any I liked), and a trip to the spa where both Hubby and I had a massage and champagne in the Jacuzzi. While all this has been going on, the workmen are busy demolishing my kitchen and putting in some new cupboards, sink, taps, and granite tops. This evening we have reservations at the Five Flies…a Cape Town institution and a restaurant that most certainly deserves its 5-star rating. Life is good…and my husband is a superstar!

On the other side of the coin, however, today I have also endured such dismal service that we left less than a 10% tip (we usually tip much better than that, been nearly run down by people who think their sense of urgency gives them a right to be rude to others who are proceeding at a merely normal pace, got half the spa treatment hubby had planned because somebody wrote down the wrong package and therefore didn’t book enough time for us (waaaah! no pedicure!), and I watched a completely uncontrolled two year old dash through the café, ignoring his mother’s whiney, wimpy pleas for him to return to her side, and cringed when he crashed into the side of a server who was carrying two plates of hot food…thank goodness she was nimble, or she would have spilled scalding soup all over that kid!

I’m trying very hard to focus on the positive aspects of the day, but today seems to be an extension of yesterday’s equally frustrating experiences in having to deal with the inexplicable idiocy of others. Woolies, for some odd reason, has chosen to display racks of clothing in the middle of the walkways, reducing space to barely one person wide. So, as I passed by one of these racks and neared the end, why did this woman with a trolley full of food look me straight in the eye and enter the same narrow corridor I am in? Does she think she can pass right through me? Does she think I can step aside (and through a glass display case) to allow her to pass? Or maybe she thinks I will walk backwards to the end of the rack of clothes, allow her to pass, and then make another assault on the inner sanctum? (not bloody likely!) I stood my ground, looked her directly in the eye, and eventually she backed her trolley out (a distance of a meter or less) and permitted me to exit that very narrow space that she should not have entered until I had exited.

Why do people behave like this? Why did a woman try to crowd onto the lift yesterday when it was clear that at least two people (one with a trolley) wanted to get off? Just how much IQ is necessary to comprehend that if you let someone out of a confined space, there will be more space for you to get in?

Then there are people who seem to think they are being put upon when you expect them to do their job. I’m sorry, but when I tell a waiter I need “a few more minutes” to peruse a menu (because he just gave it to me 37.6 seconds ago), I don’t mean the guy should go on a hike through the Andes before he gets back to me to take my order! And what is with having to hoist a flag and wave it vigorously in order to get your bill? And why, why, why do so few waiters bother to bring you a pen with your credit card slip? Am I supposed to prick my finger with the dirty table knife he neglected to clear away and sign it in blood??

It’s been a stressful couple of days, I’m afraid. I am currently collecting a subscription (weekly issues) from CNA, but they cannot seem to keep their stories/rules straight. First they told me it was every two weeks, and they were sending back my every second issue because I wasn’t coming to collect them. Then, when I back ordered the missing issues, they told me they would call me when they came in…which they did not…which meant some of them went missing. Then they put up a rule (and posted it on the wall) that they would keep the issue for two weeks, then return it to stock. HAH! I went in yesterday (having missed one…and only one…week due to having houseguests) and guess what? They had returned last week’s issue and now I have to backorder it…and wait four to six weeks for it! (Interestingly, the two-week sign is missing from the wall now.) This, after having just caught up and waiting twelve weeks for an issue I missed when I was laid up with my sprained ankle. They have done this to me so many times, I’m just about ready to give up the subscription and assuage my collecting fever some other way.

Still steaming about CNA and hungry (bad combination…my normally long fuse shortens as my blood sugar drops), I decided to soothe my grumpy soul with the ultimate balm…shoe shopping. Since I am currently looking for a pair of simple black leather shoes with mid-height heels, suitable for wearing with a skirted suit, my first thought was Green Cross. My grumpy-meter spiked several points when we found them closed for stock taking in the middle of the evening shopping hours. Canal Walk was packed…crowds surging in and out of stores like shoals of fish swooping through the water…and some dimbulb decides to close the store for inventory? What’s wrong with doing it when the mall is quiet (i.e., while most of the shoppers are at their own jobs?)…what’s wrong with doing it after hours? Why close early while swarms of shoppers…people who just might spend a wad of cash in your store (I spent more than R900 the last time I was in there!)…are jamming the mall?

So, today I’m trying block out the irritations and stresses that seem to be finding me lately like a heat-seeking missile and to focus on Valentine’s Day…the brunch was tasty, even if I did have to wait nearly an hour for it because the waiter’s mind (and body) were missing in action. And while the spa visit wasn’t entirely what we had anticipated, my masseuse was really, really skilled and my back feels more like rubber than wood now! The mess in my kitchen…well, I’ve chose to view it as the harbinger of better things…you can’t make an omelette without breaking an egg, and you can’t transform a kitchen full of water-damaged cupboards and rotting melamine tops into a showplace with a Franke sink and taps and beautiful Rustenberg granite tops without first making one helluva mess!

And my new earrings are beautiful and match a heart-shaped silver filigree necklace Hubby gave me a few years back…and he actually took the whole day off from work in order to spend time with me today…

Yup…the day isn’t over yet, but I’ve no doubt that, on balance, it’s gonna be a terrific day and tonight I’ll climb into my bed with yet another smile on my face…and in my heart.

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