This weekend was about nesting, making my new apartment almost as functional as home. I discovered how complicated and labor-intensive simple tasks can become in an unknown city, where everything shuts early, taxis have to be called and I don’t have access to a Communauto. Sometimes it feels like I’m back to pre-industrial times. Tasks that take me half a morning in Montreal become whole-weekend pilgrimages here.
Marie-Ève doesn’t have a cellphone so I got to remember what it was like to lose someone in a crowd in pre-cellphone times when we became separated at Ikea, where we had gone by taxi (my second visit in as many days, because we couldn’t get everything done in one load). Then I tried putting together the furniture but had no tools. Destroyed my hand trying to twist screws without a screwdriver, and hammering with a shoe. In the end the furniture was held together mostly by hope, and I actually feared leaving the window open lest the wind blow my Billy shelf apart.
Even if I didn’t have about 12 different screwdrivers at home in Montreal, buying one would have been a matter of crossing Mont-Royal street to one of three nearby Ronas. Not so in Newcastle. After running around town in search of tools, and finding everything closed (at 4:45 PM!), I remembered a 24-hour Tesco located out of town. Walked 40 minutes to get there (for a &?%$#@ hammer!), past billboards boasting its opening hours with slogans like “Tesco – Still Open!”. Got there and found it closed. Ah ben SACRAMENT! On a bright, cheerful sign that shouted “Open 24 Hours!” at me, were also listed the actual opening hours (10 am – 4 pm Sundays, and not one day where it doesn’t shut). What?
The washer/dryer with whom I’m living a lie (I suspect it of just being a washer) is covered in forgotten, obscure Runic symbols instead of text, and locks my panties inside if I don’t enter the right
incantation combination of buttons.
With the months all this will probably become familiar and I can carve out an efficient life for myself. However, the Buddha on my Billy would say that for the time being, it’s probably best to let go of such opulent luxuries as a dépanneur.
UPDATE: I can’t make this shit up. I found the washer/dryer manual online at work, and sent myself the link at home. Get home and set up the laptop nearby, click the link, and it’s