Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Angry American

Yesterday, The German and I wrote our shit list. First was the Ayuntamiento (town hall) because they provide the worst internet service ever imaginable. The have an antenna on their roof from which they send wi-fi out into the atmosphere and they hope that somehow it will reach your computer. Now if you're like 99.9% of the population in Campillos, you don't have a clear line of sight from your computer to the antenna and your internet will suck. Anything, such as trees, buildings, walls, birds, rain, street lights etc, diminish the signal to such an extent that by the time it reaches your computer the signal strength is 25% on a good day. Now for reasons unknown, sometimes the signal reaches your computer, but the IP address is not available so you can't connect. This is what has been happening for over a week. And before it would happen for three or four days at a time. And we had had enough!!
Second on the shit list was the secretary of the school. It is his job to pay us in such a way that our money will be in our account the last day of the month. Well, it wasn't there. At the very least they could pay us on time, don't you think?
Third on the shit list was a random Spanish person, just to round out our list.
First thing today we went over to the Ayuntamiento. We waited outside the office of the person with whom we could complain vigorously and then cancel our internet. She wasn't there and never showed up, so I hunted down the guy who had helped me set up the abysmal internet in the first place. I found him at the front desk and signaled The German to follow me. We went over there and I demanded, "What is going on with the Wi-Fi?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, it hasn't worked in more than a week, my computer can't pick up a signal . . ." Blah, blah, blah.
"I'll call someone else."
He talked to Jose, who didn't have good answers either. He handed me the phone and I started in on Jose.
"What is the problem with your intenet? I haven't been able to connect in over a week! Why won't it work?"
"The signal is very weak, try putting your computer near a window so-"
"My computer is RIGHT NEXT to the window! That is not the problem!"
"Well, we've just got one antenna to serve many people-"
"But it isn't working! The signal won't reach my computer! It is very, very bad internet. What am I paying for? Most of the time it doesn't work and when it does it is very, very slow!"
"Yes, but you could by an antenna and then it would-"
"I don't have money for that! Are you in your office?"
"(something I couldn't understand)"
"What!? Where is your office?"
"(something I couldn't understand)"
I gave the phone to The German to translate.
He got the address and said, "Yes, we'll be over there."
My part of the conversation was conducted in very bad Spanish. The other people in the office were glaring at me, probably more because I was butchering their language than because I was yelling at Jose.
Then I told the guy behind the desk, "I have been able to use my internet three or four days this past month, so I don't want to pay."
He nodded and shrugged, "Si." Which I took to mean, "Fine, you don't have to pay."
I was preparing to march right down to Jose's office and continue my tirade. However, his office is on the other side of town for some odd reason and its really cold, so we decided against it.

Next up was the secretary at our school. I found him making copies of all things!! Why was he doing that when he should have been depositing our money??
"Where is our money?" I asked.
Everybody in the office thought I was trying to be funny. I was not. So I asked him again. "Why haven't you paid us? We have bills to pay and rent, we need our money on time!"
He took us into his office and sat us down. He explained that for some stupid reason, he was waiting for us to come get our checks, but he has our bank account numbers and he is supposed to deposit the money two days before the end of the month so it will be there on the last day of the month and he knows that!
The German told me to calm down. Then he explained that we were told he was going to deposit it in time for it to be available Friday. The guy said, no, no such thing. I laughed incredulously. The German changed the subject, asking if we were getting our deposit early for Christmas. And it sounded to both of us like he said, that he would deposit our money on the 29th, but we get done with work on the 19th.
"But we need the money before that because we're not going to be here then! You have to deposit it two or three days before the last day of school so we can get our money!"
The German told me to calm down. Then the guy clarified and said he meant the 19th.
"But we need it deposited before that so we will have it ON the 19th, otherwise we're not going to be able to get it before we leave!"
The German reminded me that I would indeed still be here the week after the 19th and told me to calm down.
"Oh yeah." I calmed down, but I was still mad.
Then he wrote us our checks and personally escorted us to the principles office to get them signed, then we were straight away to the bank. We waited in line while I complained loudly about the inefficiency of Spanish customer service, swearing like a sailor because nobody could understand me anyway. The German told me to calm down.
We deposited our checks after an ETERNITY of waiting in line.
Then we went out to the ATM machine to check that it actually was deposited. Some woman came up and acted like she was going to cut in front of us.
"Is she trying to jump ahead of us in line?" I asked appalled.
"I believe she is." Said The German.
"She better not."
"I'd like to believe she isn't, but it appears she is."
She looked in our direction.
"ESTAMOS EN LINEA!" I said, a lot louder than I meant to.
"Claro." She said and hid behind her bank book.
The woman in front of us turned toward me and said, "Puedo?" Meaning, Can I go now? Or are were you yelling at me, scary foreigner?
"Si." I said.
"Por supuesto." The German said.
Then he laughed and told me to calm down.

No comments: