I try not to be difficult. Being difficult is not just me. I am usually described (by my nearest and dearest and even those that don’t really know me) as mild mannered and calm. Some people, in a fit of pique have labelled me (rather unkindly) as, unmemorable, a wall flower, unobtrusive, someone you could not possible remember from a sea of faces.
I never stand out, in fact I try to blend in and not call attention to myself. This has helped me and in my line of work is of great advantage. So this current situation in which I found myself was very uncomfortable, a country I had yet to visit…until now.
I was mildly infuriated; more than mildly, furious! Why could the dolt behind the marble-topped counter not see reason with me? Could she not understand that baby pink, was a far cry from the hideous imitation that lay between us? Why in the world was Fran├?┬žois not here? He would understand the gravity of the mistake and immediately set everything right.
Gazing fixedly on the poor attempt at Sheena’s favourite colour I recalled our conversation. ‘Now Samuel, don’t forget that the invitation cards are to be in that lovely, cooing baby pink. It matters more than you can ever imagine and for you not to get it right will mean that you don’t consider me as important as you say you do. I’m counting on you. I’ve already discussed it with Fran├?┬žois and he has assured me that they will be ready. All you have to do is collect them (all two hundred and fifty) by nine o’clock on Wednesday.’
How in the world was I to go back and explain that not only was Fran├?┬žois not at work, but he would not return until three whole weeks! Unfortunately, Gundi had gone AWOL again and could not be unearthed. Either Fran├?┬žois had gotten everything mixed up, or something else had gone drastically wrong.
‘Look here miss, could you please check again to make sure you have the right name? I’m quite certain that there has been a mix-up and this is not my order.’ Once again appealed I to her, believing that we could reason together. ‘It is really important that we find the cooing baby pink invitations. You see they’re for my sister’s going away party…’ I trailed off as emotion threatened to overwhelm me. Sheena’s face rose up as I remembered her specific instructions.
She had gotten a bee in her bonnet about the party; her prognosis was not cheerful and she had finally been released by the doctors to go home. She decided that the earlier it took place the better. Sheena wanted to experience the people, music and all the activities she had lined up before she was forced to become totally dependent. We had all tried to dissuade her, but her mind was made up and from experience, nothing and no one on earth could stop her when this happened. The best we could all do was pitch in and make it a success.
Switching tactics, I took a deep breath and smiled at the girl. ‘You know how orders can sometimes be mixed up? Wrong names accidentally put on orders, causing untold confusion all round?’ she nodded, ‘let’s assume that’s the case here. If this is the case, what would you do to sort it out to the satisfaction of all the concerned parties?’ Gazing thoughtfully at me, she tapped out a few keys on the computer in front of her and nodded. ‘What date did you place the order? Was it online or by phone? Please give me a few minutes as I must confer with the back-end staff.
Viola, please come and take over for a few minutes.’ My newfound friend rose and entered the door by the side of her command post. After a few minutes, she was back with an immense look of satisfaction on her face. ‘Part of your order was sent to Selmony, but there’s no need to panic, your two-hundred and fifty will be ready in an hour’s time. So if you would like to wait please step through the door on your left.’
Heaving a sigh of relief I turned and discovered a room I hadn’t noticed. Putting a call through to Sheena, I waited for her to pick as I walked into the room, ‘I’ll be along in two hours, due to a slight delay.’ Settling into a wicker chair, I opened my legal pad to capture my ordeal.