When I was waiting for my first MINI to arrive (I ordered it the first weekend they were available, and waited patiently for it to be built and shipped here, a process that took about 3 months), I became obsessed with what my coworker Dania used to call M.M.P.E.M.
Sidebar. Dania was the receptionist in the office where I worked. She was Cuban and would talk to me in spanish to help me practice. She would order things online (this was the real beginning of online ordering, I think amazon was still just books then) and so would the office manager, Ofelia. When the packages would arrive, she would announce “M.M.P.L.C.” which stood for “mas mierda para la casa” – “more shit for the house”.
So I would order “mas mierda para el MINI” (M.M.P.E.M.) and Dania would announce its arrival. I was especially interested in genuine MINI stuff. Tiny MINIs, advertising, catalogs, shirts, etc. The best place to find all this was Ebay. This was an activity of mine for years, and sort of still is.
So one day (this is in 2002), I see a listing for a window cling, white lettering on a black background, with a green rectangle (MINI was all about this look, white on black surrounded by a color). It read
MINI COOPER ADVENTURE IN PROGRESS.
Hello?! This sticker was made for me! I was literally living a MINI COOPER ADVENTURE every day! Meeting new people! Planning things! Buying all the red clothes and accessories to match the MINI! So I bought it now. Well, then. I bought it then.
And when it shipped, the seller sent me an email to tell me so and the subject line was “Stick ’em up”. And I thought, wow that’s clever, so I replied and waited patiently for my sticker. Because, like my MINI, this sticker was coming from England.
So the sticker arrives, and I’m so excited. Until I open the envelope and peel away the backing (see, these were clings, not really stickers, and the black background prevented you from seeing what was written, and the protective paper was also opaque) and see my awesome new sticker, once that will leave no one wondering if driving a MINI is an adventure. But alas, this is not the sticker I received. It’s not the sticker I received because it’s not what I ordered. I thought I ordered what was in the picture, but the listing was for a different message and the seller didn’t want to peel all the messages, so he used the ADVENTURE sticker for the picture, and the listing stated what would be on the one you were ordering.
In my haste to BUY IT NOW I did not read it now. So I messaged him, hey this isn’t what I thought I was getting, but if there are two designs, are there more and can I buy the whole set? Sure he said, and I did. ADVENTURE on the way.
The ebay messages about the stickers turned into email exchanges, and aol instant messenger chats. Turns out we had a lot in common, except of course the continent thing.
We got along so well, I remarked one day, you should come here! And he did. (to be continued)