Entry K27.6

In Florence, The Art of Travel Fall 2016, Mishaps by Harry1 Comment

If you’re one of the dedicated few—of admittedly questionable taste—who have been subscribing to my ramblings over the past two and a half months. you’ll know that I’ve lived a somewhat plagued existence in terms of accidents, mishaps, and all manners of accidents. Thankfully, nothing too serious or debilitating has come my way thus far. Like holy scheisse this one friend of mine got gout. Like what? It’s 2016, who gets gout anymore? That’s like saying you came down with a case of leprosy. It’s wild. The only person I’ve heard of with gout in this century is Doran Martell, and he’s a character from Game of Thrones.

Yeah so nothing quite that bad has hit me, though I do think I came close to having an aneurysm in the TIM store that one time. I suppose it is possible that I could have contracted zika, or malaria, or lime disease… or some fun mixture of the three. After being ravaged by every filthy, fascist mosquito in Tuscany, it seems statistically improbable that I wouldn’t have something. But, until my test results are in, I’ll happily remain ignorant of any festering autoimmune disease I might have, and focus on the little things. Specifically, those that are irksome in nature, which seem to have been hounding me since September.

(Hi, okay, so because I already used ‘plagued’ earlier in this thing, I looked up synonyms for it on thesaurus.com. I know, whatever, shut up. But for real, I did that, and when I did, one of the synonyms that show up is ‘harry’. Uh, yeah, shit. I don’t know how I feel about that. Honestly kind of uncomfortable. What’s punk-ass thesaurus.com trying to say? See, that’s what I mean)

In the beginning I had Mercury to blame them on. You know, cause it was in retrograde or something (I astrology pretty hard, it’s not a big deal). But even after the planets stopped screwing with me, things kept being kinda like “You know Harry, we’re all still kinda thinking, well… here” Like this whole series of occurrences that I’m about to tell you about right now.

It began when I lost my debit card (and NYU ID) in Naples. Whatever, right? I mean, a lost debit card is manageable, and I have a backup credit card. It’s not that chill loosing personal identification and stuff in a city that’s known for its high level of mafia activity, but whatever, spilt milk.“It is gonna be a bummer not having cash for fall break next week” I thought. “But at least I’ll have my credit card.”

Then, about four days later, I was innocently going about my pre-fall-break-departure tasks, with not a care in the world. Dreams of the fun times to come filling my head. I was almost at peace, which should’ve been my first clue to watch my back. So get this. I went to one of those little leather shops to buy a new duffle bag suitcase thing, used my credit card, fine. Then I went to a caffe, ordered a coffee and a panino, gave them my credit card… and nothing. Card didn’t work. How could that be? I just used it a minute ago. Well you know the darnedest thing happened, something which I didn’t even know COULD happen. The goddamn pointless little good for nothing chip that’s supposed to make you card “more secure” or some bullshit, just popped out. Popped right out, and disappeared into the ether, rendering my card useless. So other than the awkwardness of having a coffee and a sandwich made for me which I couldn’t pay for, I realized in that moment that I would be completely without any means of payment for my entire fall break. A time which I had accounted for as being one requiring ‘extreme payment’.

Fall break turned out alright money wise, thanks to my lovely friend Kira who allowed me to participate in an extensive I.O.U. program. But sadly the story doesn’t stop there, though it really should have. You see, I ordered a new debit card immediately after I lost my old one. I went online to Wells Fargo, filled out the appropriate form, and was told that I would receive the new card 5-7 days after it shipped. This would have had it delivered just after we departed for Fall break. A bit of a bummer, but again, oh well. At least it would be waiting for me when I got back to Florence. Such a naive thing to think.

This naivety became apparent when I showed up to campus bright eyed and bushy tailed, eager to check my mailbox, only to find it empty. Five days AFTER my card SHOULD have arrived, no less. That’s when the rage first began to fester deep in my heart. I immediately got on my computer and wrote Wells Fargo a seriously passive aggressive email, demanding answers, and calling into question just how much they actually value their customers. It may have been a tad intense, but you have to understand I had been moneyless and pissed for like three weeks. I needed to vent. I resigned myself to being a bum for a little longer though, and continued with my day.

Later that afternoon I was heading back off campus, trying to figure out how I might be able to procure some much needed sustenance without any money. On my way out I just happened to glance over at the mail room and, lo and behold, right there was a pretty little envelope from Wells Fargo. It was a glorious day. I floated home in a state of elation, fantasizing about buying groceries and coffees and sandwiches. I danced up the steps of Via dell’Acqua 3, slid into my favorite living room chair, and opened my laptop to start a shopping list. My email happened to still up on the screen, and in my inbox was an email from good ol’ Wells Fargo. A reply to my premature tirade it seemed.

This is what it said:

Dear Mr. Zaidain,
I am sorry to learn that you have not received you replacement card. I realize how important it is for you to receive a new debit card.
Our records show that your card was mailed on 10/24/2016, and sent to the address we have on file for your account, on Bolognese.
As you have not received your new card, I have canceled it for your protection.
Someone who doesn’t even realize that a complete stranger wants to viciously beat and/or maim them.


  1. Harry,

    Firstly, I’m sorry about your lengthy and complicated $$$ situation! Good on you to be able to find good humour in it. Secondly, your narrative reads like a beautiful O. Henry story, except in post-contemporary, technologised Italy. Almost had a Proustian moment with the way you ended it.

    Also, I hope you invest in some mosquito repellent . Might be useful to help combat those filthy, fascist mosquitoes of Tuscany that are literally the spectre of the Mussolinian regime — and we all know Italy never really recovered from that one.


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