Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Swiss underbelly

So today I went on a little expedition. My Alexander Technique instructor gave me a flyer from a store that carries chairs and accessories for people with back problems, so I went out there to give a few chairs a spin so that, in the event that my employer will pay for a new chair, I'll at least know which one to order. The store is in Oerlikon, a Zurich neighborhood about half an hour from my apartment. I painstakingly sketched out a little street map (no printer at home) so I wouldn't get lost after getting off the train (happens to me a lot) and jumped on a train, read When They Severed the Earth From the Sky (by Elizabeth Wayland Barber, one of my all time favorite writers) for a while, got off, and found myself walking down some kind of seedy streets. A strange kind of seedy--not just whores and junkies seedy (that's over here, a few blocks from where I live now), but just sort of run down, dumpy looking seedy. I passed a car repair shop and realized that's the first one I've seen in 2.5 years! I even found the building without any hitch (possibly another first??). They had a big sign listing all the business inside, with each name preceded by an arrow pointing up. Except the place I was looking for, which was preceded by an arrow with an elbow:

Somehow I'm never able to interpret this kind of instruction. I'm generally pretty sharp but certain things, especially spatial, just confuse the shit out of me. I finally decided this meant I should go along the left side of the building. I skirt around the cars and start down the parking lot along the side and feel a bit creeped out. The building's a real dump--filthy, rusty metal doors, cracked pavement kind of dumpy. There are some service or delivery type doors over here on the left side, but definitely no high end chair shops. I go back and try going inside--maybe there's a big corridor to the left? The building gets even dumpier--stairwell isn't really lit, there are closed doors everywhere, most of them unlabeled or labeled private. In fact, its starting to seem like exactly the kind of building that, were this a movie, would turn out to be mostly porn filming studios behind all these unlabeled doors, and I'm starting to wonder where the coked out 'actresses' are when I round another set of stairs and see that, in fact, there IS some kind of film studio here. They are playing a video of dirt bike racing or something (perhaps just a sham?) outside their closed door. The next flight of stairs is marked private, so I turn around and leave the building.

Weird. Maybe the place was behind one of the unmarked doors, but I was hardly about to start opening them, and it clearly isn't a live-shop kind of business, or they would have made themselves more apparent. Internet shopping really doesn't exist here, so perhaps they are only telephone, but since the point of this was to sit in some real chairs, it was a total bust and a waste of my afternoon playing hooky, when I could have been working on the fireflowers bag!!



Blogger Chris said...

Sounds relatively surreal. Can you call and get better directions or something??

Blogger letah75 said...

Wow! I had NO IDEA you too were a knitter. Have you ever gone onto I love that place.

Thanks for the congrats! It looks like we're going to be getting married sometime in May (so 6 months). Wow, I'm no longer going to be a Rawlinson. Crazy! Now I know where to find you on the web! Muahahahahahaha


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