Friday, May 27, 2011

The DF iPad saga: part II

Well, broad readership, the DF iPad saga finally came to a happy end. The simple solution of having the iPad sent to me here in Argentina from LA avoided all the difficulties I'd been having, and now the iPad is here and it's been ever so fun and useful. The lesson is that exercising a little patience is always the best way to--

So were you buying that? Sounded nice, didn't it? And a few days ago, I naively thought that it would be how things actually turned out. That was when I had, for some reason, forgotten that acquiring this particular iPad was the star-crossed, Bad News Bears, ghost-ship-in-the-Bermuda-Triangle, tragicomic ongoing unmitigated disaster it was destined to be.

Am I exaggerating? You decide!

So early yesterday morn, I check the DHL tracking info to find that the iPad actually arrived in Arg yesterday (Aha! Things looking up!), and since then has been subject to a customs delay. Well, that's only fair. Customs moves slowly. Delays are understandable. And anyway, I felt sure the delay would be unsnafued by the promised delivery date of Thurs. So I emailed my Argentine point of contact and told her about the iPad's status, figuring she'd confirm that all was well.

I figured horribly, tragically, naively and exactly wrong. It turns out that "customs delay" is the worst news I could have received about the iPad's whereabouts, short of "permanently impounded with no recourse" or "confiscated and given to DHL worker's nephew." This particular customs delay apparently was due to the fact that the local authorities construed the shipment not as me sending the iPad to myself in order to use it here and bring it home to me, but rather as me illegally importing the iPad down to Bs As in order to (presumably) re-sell it.

Yes, apparently the Argentine officials think DF is the world's least strategic illegal importer, so incompetent that I'd buy a full-price iPad in the US, and then have it shipped for almost half the cost of the iPad itself (true, that) down here, in order to re-sell it to someone who would pay me a 150% markup rather than just buying a damned iPad in Argentina for the going, much cheaper, rate. I was almost as insulted at their low opinion of my illegal-importing abilities as I was frustrated by the delays.

But I assumed this would be easily straightened-out. I'd just go to the relevant office, explain the situation, and they'd turn over my iPad, right?

Oh, DF. Please refer to above paragraph, wherein you yourself explained that nothing related to the arrival of this iPad is going to be anything less than the most absurd, expensive, and unfathomably frustrating outcome possibly imaginable.

So of course, of course, it became necessary to hire a lawyer to extract the iPad from customs. Yes, that's right, broad readership, the iPad disaster has become so em-effing ridiculous that LEGAL COUNSEL HAS HAD TO BECOME INVOLVED. And yes, I realize all-caps equals shouting, but that's exactly what I wanted. Shouting was an appropriate expression of the rage I am feeling.

Ahem. Now calmer, but that was not a joke. In fact, through my very kind and patient Argentine friend, we have engaged a local lawyer, who is now working diligently to get the local customs folks to unhand my iPad. Of course, I'll have to pay this lawyer for their services, and with that and the not-cheap shipping costs down here, I'll end up paying well more to get the iPad in Argentina than it would have cost to simply purchase an iPad in the first place.

Yes. Marvelous. Outstanding. It's moments like this, at max-peak frustration, that I'm reminded of one of my fave phrases: amor fati. No, it does not mean "love of fatties," as some of you might rudely think. Rather, it means "love of fate," and expresses the quasi-Zen proposition that total acceptance of even those things that are negative and frustrating and ugly is rather freeing. This is, of course, easier said than done (and also seems pretty problematic insofar as it suggests acceptance of anything--"Genocide? No worries! Amor fati!"). In this case, though, I am resigned to amor-fati this iPad situation, and use it as an object lesson in appreciating the absurd complications that can dog the seemingly simplest tasks, and also as a way to appreciate the nonobvious awesomeness of how most such simple tasks get done with a minimum of fuss.