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Getting Lady of the Lake and Bleeding in an Inappropriate Place… Or Not

In the previous post I wrote that I was leaving out Monday’s wasted trip and Thursday’s mess, so that’s what this one will be about. Will need to start a little earlier though, because it was Sunday when I just happened to check another store and find The Lady of the Lake at a price about 40% lower than the one listed by the store I prefer to order books from, and from which I had ordered it, at that price, back in February. By then, since it was still just listed as having been sent to Romania, so still on the way, I was already wondering how much of an ass I’d be if I’d delay picking it up until the fair and see whether they’ll have it cheaper there, in which case I meant to buy it from them there and cancel the order, while if it wasn’t cheaper I intended to see whether I could pick up my order from there, so I won’t have to make another trip. But that was a huge difference in price and I assumed I could just pick it up from one of the stores right away and therefore likely even finish reading it before the fair, so I went to bed seriously considering being even worse of an ass and woke up having decided to go for it.
I did check the status of my order again before leaving, and at the time nothing had changed, while this other store listed it as available in all locations, albeit in limited quantities in the main ones, so the plan was to just go to the nearest location and pick it up. However, when I searched for it on the computer there, it showed up without the 20% discount listed on the site, albeit still about 25% cheaper than the supposedly discounted price I had ordered it at from the other store. And when I finally found it, not where I expected it to be but on a table where others did have a 20% discount sticker on them, I saw that it indeed did not have such a sticker on the front and the one on the back listed the same price that showed up on the computer.
Did actually ask and the guy checked and confirmed that it wasn’t discounted, saying that the discount applies to orders made on the site only. But I had the metro card, so instead of asking whether things could be different in another location right away and sparing myself the trouble, the wasted time and the walk in that weather, especially when I was still not feeling quite well, I just went to their main location and looked for it there as well. Then, since it didn’t have the discount listed there either, I walked to another location, actually meaning to check out two more that are nearby but getting confused and failing to find one, so just going to the second. And then, since it wasn’t discounted there either, I went back to the main location, picked up a copy and asked again about the discount, being again told that it applies only to orders made on the site. Then I actually did ask whether it may be a different price at another location, and was told it won’t be, at which point I just left it there and said it’s messed up, to be at the main location, with the book in hand, and not be able to get it, the girl I talked to seeming to really want to explain that I may indeed be at the main location but the site and the stores have separate offers and that’s why this happens before I walked away.
So I got back and checked whether I could order it on-line and pick it up from a store, to actually get it at that discounted price, without any shipping added, and found that I could, but only if I paid on-line as well, while orders that are delivered can be paid with cash on delivery, making it another thing that’s messed up. Still, decided to wait for dad to get back and ask whether he could use his card to pay for it and he did so, and I left the amount in the living room despite him telling me not to. However, the listed information stated that orders made before 4 PM can be picked up the next day and it was just about 4 PM when dad came, meaning that the order was made a little after that time and for that reason I had to wait one more day, being notified that I could pick it up only Wednesday afternoon, actually also just after 4 PM.
But to return to Monday, making this order meant I had to cancel the first one, and that felt even worse when I checked the status again just before sending the e-mail and saw that it had changed and was listed as being ready, though I hadn’t yet received a message notifying me that I could pick it up. Actually wrote in that e-mail that they’ll probably want to curse me out and apologized, but got a reply pretty much right away, telling me that it’s all right and the order’s canceled. In a way that made me feel even worse, since they’re always really nice and I know them and despite the fact that I only make one order per year, and this year I probably won’t actually make any, they seem to know me, the founder, or one of them, even recognizing me right away at a book fair. But the price difference was huge, and I could also get the book sooner without making a separate trip just for that… Or not that much of a separate trip, at least.

It’d have helped if I’d have selected to pick it up from the main location though, since after Andrei Gheorghe’s death I definitely wanted to go pay my last respects if some event would be announced, as long as his body won’t actually be there as well, and such an event did take place in a gallery that was close to that location, Thursday and Friday. But I wanted to grab a few things from Carrefour and Kaufland as well, so I was going to go to where this other location is as well and decided to just do everything on Thursday, not going there as soon as I received the e-mail letting me know that I could pick up the book, Wednesday afternoon.
The problem was that I sure made a mess of things when I went to that gallery. Again got confused on the way, my mental map of the streets in the area, which is very rough either way, apparently being reversed, since I’m used to get off the metro at University Square instead of Romana Square and therefore reach any place that’s between the two from the other direction. But finding the place was the easy part, the real problem appearing after I got there and tried to leave the candle I had brought, which was in a plastic jar with a metal lid, which lid I had trouble taking off. Did feel something just when I finally managed to do so, and ended up dropping and bending it, but I didn’t pay attention, just picking it back up and wondering how was I going to light the candle, as I had brought no matches or small candles and could see none there either, and there was no way to light it from another candle in a jar. Did see one thing I first thought was just some paper, so I tried to light it from another candle in order to use it to light mine, but when I saw it didn’t burn like paper should I had another look and realized it was a homemade cigarette, probably containing weed, considering the scandal that caused his “glory years” to end.
At that time, before 5 PM, the only other person in the room was a guy who, having been alone before my arrival, had sat down and was writing a long message in the condolence book. I also had a long message to leave, but knew I couldn’t sit there and write so much, so I had written it on a piece of paper before leaving and meant to leave it in the book, only writing a few lines and mentioning that I had left more separately. But I was in a gallery and there were other things left on display, even though the lights were off, so I just left my candle there, unlit, and walked around to have a look, then also arranged the ribbons on the wreaths that some had brought a little, giving the guy time to write his message. As I did that, a few other people came, one having a box of matches which she left next to the candles, so I used a match to light my candle as well… And that’s when I noticed that there was a lot of red on my hands. And I do mean a whole lot.
At first I didn’t realize what it was and looked at the candle and the jar, but the candle was white and the jar, while red, would have had to pretty much completely melt all over my hands to cause that to happen and that was obviously not the case. Then, realizing that it was blood and considering how much my nose was running, even though I never recall having a nosebleed I wondered whether I didn’t have one then, what was on my hands being a result of wiping my nose. But that was not the case either, and that left me just staring at my hands, rather in shock. They were simply full of blood and I was starting to realize that I had cut myself somehow, but couldn’t figure out how, nor where exactly the cut was.
At that point a guy who was there noticed me, asked whether I had done something to my hands and I said I believed I had cut myself. He asked where, I said that I didn’t know, he suggested my coat, probably referring to the zipper, then told me to go to the bathroom to sort it out, leading the way, as I obviously had no idea that there even was a bathroom there and the door was hidden behind a curtain. Somebody was inside at the time, but he knocked on the door, told me the person inside will come out right away and left me there to wait.
Once inside and washing my hands, I could finally spot a deep cut on my right index finger. That was apparently not the only injury, but it was the only one I could spot then, and I couldn’t get the bleeding to stop, so I did the only thing I could think of, taking some toilet paper and wrapping it around that finger, hoping it’ll buy me enough time to just write a short goodbye message… And that was pretty much all I could do, because after washing my hands I had taken the paper my longer message was written on out of my pocket and found it full of blood as well, as I had taken it out of the small notebook I had it in earlier in order to put it in my pocket and that had obviously happened after I had cut myself. It was probably then that I realized that I had most probably injured myself while trying to take the lid off the candle’s jar, especially since I think it may not be the first time I scratch myself in such a lid, or the edge of such a jar. Any other such scratches were pretty superficial though, definitely nothing like this.
With the bloody paper flushed down the toilet, as there was nothing else I could do with it, I went back out, waited my turn, since a few others had arrived by then, grabbed a pen and tried to hold it in such a way as to avoid leaving blood on it, as it was already seeping out through all the layers of toilet paper. Under those circumstances, I wasn’t sure what to write anymore, but quickly mentioned that I had more on a piece of paper I wanted to leave but cut myself in the candle and the paper ended up full of blood, which may somehow be fitting but I obviously couldn’t leave it there like that, after which I added I believe three quick lines and signed my name, after noticing that the couple of messages before mine were signed. Then I tried to wipe the pen, but since it seems that I had scraped some skin off my right thumb as well, which I hadn’t noticed at that point, I wonder whether that didn’t actually cause me to get blood on it in the first place, after perhaps managing to avoid doing so while writing.
Also wonder how much blood I left on my candle, the matches or those ribbons I arranged before noticing how my hands looked. And I just now realized that the thing I most likely did leave blood on was that homemade cigarette, as I actually picked it up and held it right after the moment when I most likely cut myself, and that’s likely to lead whoever looks at it and at my message, signed as it was, to conclude that I was the one who left it there. And with the media filming and taking pictures, including of the messages written, over the two days, who knows what else it may lead to. But at least I’m quite sure I got no blood on the page of the condolence book.

Either way, decided to not go to pick up the book like that, so came right back here, and it was when I took my glove off to have another look after getting off the metro that I noticed how my right thumb looked as well. It wasn’t bleeding anymore though, and when I was back here and took off the toilet paper I saw that neither was my index finger. Still didn’t mean to go back out though, but dad said there had been warnings about the weather on Friday, schools will be closed, so I thought that meant it’ll be worse then and I should just get it all over with that evening after all. In the end, Friday proved to be quite a nice winter day, possibly with the exception of the morning, but I was asleep then so it wouldn’t have affected me anyway. But going back out right away also made me decide to write my message again and actually go right back to the gallery first, to leave it there after all.
So I did that, cleaning up my finger a little, putting a small bandage on it and just going right back… And probably leaving a bad impression yet again, since there were two people there when I arrived, reading the condolence book and giving me the impression that they were relatives or close friends of his, and after they stepped away after realizing I wanted to write something they got to see me burst out laughing as a result of my eyes falling on a funny message someone had left. Not that I wasn’t smirking already, out of embarrassment due to having returned and the earlier mess, and I continued to smirk as I fumbled with the piece of paper, searched for the message I had written earlier, added “(PS: Bandaged, rewrote, returned, left the paper at this page.)” at the bottom of it, put my longer message there and then flipped back to the page with the most recent messages.
That done, I walked around the gallery a little more and tried to have a look at the ribbons I had touched and at the box of matches and didn’t notice blood on them, but I didn’t look at my candle, couldn’t spot the one ribbon I had likely touched the most anymore, and didn’t think to check that cigarette. Also told an older man who had just arrived, bringing a few candles and asking me whether I had left one, that I had, earlier, barely stopping myself from adding that I had left a blood sacrifice along with it. And I looked at those two people a few times, meaning to go to them to apologize for my inappropriate reaction and perhaps explain the entire situation, but didn’t have the courage to do so. Now I also realize that they, or anyone else seeing all of this, may put together the message mentioning cutting myself, and signed as well, and the blood likely left on what was likely a joint and come to an even worse conclusion. But at the time I just eventually, haltingly, left again without saying anything to them.

After that, I went to the bookstore to pick up the book, also mentioning again that it’s really messed up to be there, see the book, pick it up and want to purchase it, but need to leave it, go back home, order on-line, have another copy sent to that location, then come back again some other day and pick up said copy. Then I sat down outside the bookstore and spent quite a few minutes struggling to open the box the book was in, to check it, after which I went to Carrefour and Kaufland to buy a few things, before finally making my way back quite late, after 10 PM. Spent about an hour in Kaufland for just a few things, wandering around, but what I want to mention happened earlier, in Carrefour, when the cashier gave me 5 RON back when using a 10 RON bill to pay for purchases of 5.09 RON. She asked whether I had a 0.10 RON coin and when I said no she just handed me a 5 RON bill as change, which was nice.

Before ending this, I really, really want to apologize for any inappropriate reactions while at the gallery and, even more so, for any blood left on anything. Somehow, despite the deep cut, I didn’t realize I was bleeding and touched all those things, and I can only hope that I somehow didn’t leave blood on them, or at least that nobody else ended up touching it, since that’s always to be avoided, and it can be easily cleaned off anything that relatives or friends may want to keep or display anywhere.

Also, since I actually typed it before writing it on the piece of paper, so I still have it, I want to translate the message I left in the condolence book and add it here as well:
However hard to influence I am now, this is partially due to your influence. I have no models or idols, but I can say that, to a certain extent, you formed me. My communication style, the fact that what others say or think doesn’t affect me, the courage to think for myself and advocate for opinions however unpopular, for an important part of the way that brought me here I have to thank you.
Maybe a first contact with the authorities was also thanks to you, when Ralu Filip selected me to contact as a result of what I was writing on your forum. Maybe it was a spark that brought me, many years later, from expressing myself incisively on the ‘Net but almost never poking my nose out of the house to, among others, participating in so many protests.
Maybe, in this world in which the difference between the level of knowledge and the capacity to do good and the practical positive achievements keeps increasing, there was no more room for one like you. I often wonder whether there may ever be room for us, those who care, who fight to change something for the better, and not just for our own interests. Those who think and analyze and are not driven only by our pocket, crotch and stomach. But there sure is still the need.
Goodnight, AG, wherever you may be.


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