Thursday, December 11, 2008

Crazy Pills

There's something sublime about having a conversation where it is totally clear that you and someone else both think the other one is crazy. I walk into the music store that sells some electronics, maybe they have an adapter so I can plug my MacBook into the Italian output using either my American or Central European plug. The European plugs are slightly closer together and fatter, but they look superficially the same. The Mac World adapter set comes with both, and I picked up the wrong one. A lot of people at the conference have the same problem - the university only has Italian sockets, and lots of Europeans didn't realize they needed something different. Understandable.

"Que parle Englese?" (I ask in awful Italian)
"Si. Yes." (I should have noticed she did not, in fact, speak English with an Italian accent, so is probably here from somewhere else herself.)
"I need an adapter" (shows the business end of a MacBook power supply - E.U. style) "because this is European."
"Um... Italy is in Europe. That is an Italian plug."

It's not, for the record. I bought a universal American/European to Italian adapter in the Rome airport but left it stuck in the plug (arg).

"It doesn't fit in my hotel..."
"That's a problem with your hotel."

Well, sure. Most real hotels and tourist places use a compatible socket that works for both European and Italian plugs, but I'm staying in a dorm and hanging out at a university, which are not overtly tourist-friendly. So technically she's right, but clearly she has no clue what's going on. I try a different strategy:

"Okay. Are there American adapters?"
"Not within the city, maybe outside."
"Okay, thanks."

Then I walk down another block, find an electronics store, and buy a two-euro European to Italian adapter. I debated going back in and correcting her, but my inner don't-be-annoying censor won out.

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