I’m bad at searching for very specific things on the internet. I know this because, after spending two hours making nice with Google and no headway in tracking down that quote from the movie we saw that one night when it was raining in 2004, I lose it, R. offers to help, and he finds what I was looking for in about 30 seconds. Which is infuriating. But he has really nice hair and I have what I was looking for, so I get over it.
I accept that I suck in this regard. What I don’t accept are actual physical stores and restaurants and whatever not knowing where they bought the actual physical stuff that is sitting right in front of me. They already found it and bought it for God’s sake. It’s not like I’m asking them to go track it down for me. They have a receipt for it somewhere. This is a totally different class of ineptitude than mine.
Here’s what I’m talking about: cocktail glasses. The goddam cocktail glasses I’ve been hunting down for five years now ever since I drank out of one of them at Pegu Club on Houston Street.
Honestly, I think if the Pegu Club hadn’t been so repeatedly clueless or obstructive or whatever it was, I might’ve forgotten about them by now. But no. After way too many, “I don’t know”s, from the staff, management sent me on TWO wild goose chases, one of them on a bitterly cold February afternoon down the Bowery, which was just mean. How can they not know where they bought their own stuff? I know where I bought my stuff. Especially stuff that I have a thousand of in racks behind my bar.
OK, you’re right: I don’t have a bar. And I don’t have 1000 of anything. But you take my point: I know where my goddam glasses came from.
I had to resort to stealing one of the goddam glasses.
Me. Crime. That’s what it came to.
I frame my crime like this: for a restaurant, stealing goddam glasses is the equivalent of office workers taking home Post Its. It’s wrong but, despite all the reports on white collar crime classifying lifting pens from the supply closet as out and out theft, I just can’t think of it in the same category as wheeling the Xerox machine out the back or selling stock tips.
I did it when I worked in an office. Taking Post Its, that is. A few. Not like crates of them out the loading bay or anything. I couldn’t manage that. I’m a terrible liar and I tend to run into things when I’m trying to be sneaky so I would make a super inept criminal. Which is sad because I like to be good at things.
But that’s not my point.
My point is, getting that goddam glass out of that bar took my whole evening – I was sweating like I was making off with the Mona Lisa – but I only feel a little bit bad about it: given the amount of time I’ve put in on this goddam glass hunt, I figured I kind of count as an employee and, as such, thievery of small breakable goods that clumsy patrons do in every night is within bounds. (I think. Maybe.)
Now that I have one of the goddam glasses at home, when I build my own glassblowing studio to make my own goddam glasses I will have a prototype on hand. Maybe I’ll get so good at it that Pegu Club will ask me to be their supplier. Which would be super ironic and totally pay for my new glassblowing studio. And by, “totally,” I mean, “not at all.” When the Pegu Club purchasing manager shows up, I’ll laugh maniacally and say, “No way, suckers! Don’t you remember that frigid February afternoon I spent walking up and down Bowery looking for that unnamed restaurant supply place you sent me to in 2007? You don’t? You’re new? Huh. Well, congratulations on the new job, I guess. This is awkward. You can still appreciate that payback’s a bitch, right? You can’t? Well, you’re young. And well-adjusted? All right. Do you want a glass of water? No? OK, well, I’m going to be over here by my Revenge Kiln, you let yourself out and we’ll both pretend this never happened, OK?”
I still don’t have those glasses. I can’t find them anywhere, including (but not surprisingly) on the internet. The closest I’ve come are some coupes from a company with the unfortunate but somehow appropriate considering my fruitless search name, Schott Zwiesel, which rhymes with “shot weasel” if you hadn’t already worked that out.
It’s very frustrating and I try not to think about it.
But that’s hard because now it’s happening again, only this time, it’s a pillow.
It started when I was pregnant. I had (more) money and (a lot more) time and a giant, giant pillow to share it with. Not one of those pregnancy body pillows that look like you killed someone who had scoliosis and showed poor judgment by disposing of the body in a pillowcase in your bedroom either.
My pillow wasn’t really a pillow at all. It was six feet of perfectly round foam encased in tasteful linen. Or flannel. Or one of those fabrics that tear and pill when I own them for more than ten minutes but always look great at spas. Which, in not much of a coincidence, is where I met my pillow.
And by “my” I mean “the spa’s.”
I should have learned from my goddam glass experience and just stolen it right away, but getting six feet of pillow out of the single exit right next to the front desk was more than my terrible, terrible crime skills could manage. I’ve been subconsciously missing that pillow for two years. (I have a permanently dislocated first rib and a two year old, so let’s just say that things don’t always stay where they belong. Like attached to my sternum.) When my physical therapist pulled out a shorter version of The Pillow two weeks ago, that shit was on. I unzipped the cover and the tag said, “Ikea.”
There was no chicken counting though. I could feel that chilly wind blowing in from the Bowery.
Man, was I right. So. Many. Fucking. Chickens. Ikea doesn’t make The Pillow anymore. And the internet is teeming with fake chickens asking to be counted, none of them the right one. Too short. Too narrow. Too fluffy. Too flat. It’s the goddam glass experience all over again.
After fruitlessly searching every massage supply, yoga and Pilates product web site in the world, I emailed Foam n’ More, a direct-to-the-trade foam supply company asking if their 36″ foam pillows were a.) hard like yoga rollers (concrete) or b.) soft like upholstery foam (your couch, my couch). This is what I got back:
“We have 2 different types of 36″ foam bolster. What dia are you looking for?”
No answer to my question, plus no description of the mysterious “2 different types.”
It took me half an hour to figure out that “dia” meant “diameter,” and less than a second to figure out that this was going to be a long, goddam-glass-like road lined with people working in manufacturing plants in Troy, Michigan, who wish we could kick off a nice long email chat to pass the time.
I’ll tell you who’s foamin’ more now: it’s me.
I drove back across town to my physical therapy studio, strode in among the limber clients, measured the pillow myself, and asked the owner where she thought I could look next since Ikea was a no go. She said, without equivocation, that she got it at this place on Folsom. Which she didn’t. She got it at Ikea. I know this because the goddam tag says so.
Instead of saying this, I waited politely while she Google’d the place on Folsom, clicked on the wrong link and started an online chat with a girl named Harmony about the length of a completely different pillow she had pulled up on a page which clearly stated the pillow’s length. Harmony didn’t seem to mind and took forever to collect the information. Another few minutes of back and forth about their physical store location (which they don’t have), and the owner realized her mistake and pulled up the address of the place on Folsom. Which, after I sped over there, turned out to be a seedy corner storefront with mostly blacked out windows on which you had to knock to be let in, at which point the “supply” part of their name was revealed to be a short hallway stacked with about nine products.
Split secondary realization: the Troy, Michiganians on the road ahead would be joined by zen’d out but unhelpful yoga supply company staff with names like Harmony and Chives.
I called the spa where I first met The Pillow. Harmony II took my name and number to give to their purchasing manager who would definitely call me back on Monday. She didn’t call back. Like the hardboiled PI who can hear the faint whistle of the blackjack before it hits him from behind, I saw that coming.
Several days and another phone call later, the spa assured me they got The Pillow from MassageWarehouse.com. “Massage Warehouse” sounds like a cover for a human trafficking operation working out of a hanger in Hoboken, but I check it out anyway. Naturally, Massage Warehouse has no such product. (Also, no young girls from south Asia toiling in the back, so that’s slightly better news.)
After a few nights spent fruitlessly bonding with Google over The Pillow, I reached my goddam glass limit. I drove to Ikea and bought an inferior Half the Pillow for $15.
I don’t know how we’re going to fit a foam manufacturing plant in the backyard what with the Revenge Kiln and the azaleas, but I’ll tell you what: this is happening. I can only take so much.