New Case of Amazonitis

Amazonitis struck again. Packages were supposed to arrive by Sunday. When such didn’t happen, I checked the calendar (yes, yesterday was Sunday and today is Monday) and the front porch (nope, no package — but was it stolen?) and then went to Amazon. After clicking on Orders and Track Package, I was given this message:

Now expected January 11 – January 12

We’re very sorry your delivery is late. Most late packages arrive in a day. If you have not received your package by tomorrow, you can come back here the next day for a refund.

Well, where was it, then? When I checked on Saturday, they assured me it was ‘on the way’. I clicked on a link for more shipping details.

Wow. I was impressed! That package worked hard on Friday, making tremendous progress from Vancouver to Portland, rushing between Amazon facilities and carrier facilities. Where’d it go after that?

Who knows? If only there was some capacity to track these things, some system whereby the packages are provided a number, and then under that system, let’s call it a tracking system, where its progress is followed, with details provided to the expectant customer about when it’ll arrive.

Fortunately for me, in this issue, it’s again not at all crucial. It’s more of a minor annoyance. I put the annoyance factor below the football team that I root for (we’ll not speak their name) getting bounced from the playoffs. It’s not like the package is carrying critical medicine, desperately needed food, or almost as importantly, coffee.

This is more of a first-world whine about setting expectations and having those expectations dashed. (Well, ‘dashed’ is a little strong. Let’s say, ‘failed’.) Yes, I’m aware of COVID-19. I’m aware many people are at risk out there for this stupid little package. I’m grateful to those people. I’m just having a little pre-coffee Monday morning fun, venting. It’s not like I have places to go.

It’s not like I’m a package.

Friday’s Fumbles

  1. Well, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost. Not completely unexpected. A loss isn’t the end of the world. Now riding eleven wins and one loss, they should have won the game. They had a lead, blew it, and then couldn’t come back, leading to a lot of teeth grinding on my part. What’s most disturbing is that the issues that fans like me were worrying about (the inability to execute the run game, dropped passes, offensive predictability) bit them as expected, the second week in a row. This time, they couldn’t overcome it. The question before Sunday’s game against Buffalo: can they address these issues? They have their #1 RB back, and DeCastro to the lineup. Those two things should help. Over on Defense, though…injuries thin the roster. It’s a hold-your-breath game this weekend. Most experts are predicting a Steelers loss. Which pleases me, as they seem to play better as underdogs.
  2. The lawsuit to overturn the results in four states disturbs me. It’s being led by Republicans who always insisted that states’ right are paramount, on behalf of a president who always insisted that states’ rights are paramount. Their rank hypocrisy and desperation to overturn the democratic process is revolting.
  3. Meanwhile, the writing days are going great. Always uplifting to have that going. Not going fast as thoughts are weeded, characters formed, pacing is monitored, and the story is honed. Very rewarding, though, satisfying. Writing for me is often creating and then solving complex logic problems, over and over again, and that’s fun. I hope I’m not jinxing myself by putting this out there.
  4. We helped some folks out with an online order. It’s an interesting situation. These people are twenty-three years older than me. Grandparents, their daughter and her family live down in LA (we’re ‘up’ in southern Oregon). Daughter (L) brings her children to see their grandparents every year for Christmas. That means…L and her family have no Christmas decorations! Amazing, right? So, the grands wanted to order something to decorate their grandchildren’s home. One of those blow up lawn ornaments would do. Being older, with vision issues, they struggled with the net. My wife and I stepped in to help. We found one, recommended it to them, then ordered it for them. The package was delivered. Except…the daughter said that she didn’t receive it. No, nothing there. WTF? Were we ripped off?
  5. The delivery company said they gave it to a resident. Our friend called her daughter to talk it through. “You didn’t get it? It’s a big package addressed to all of you.” Well, no, it was a big blow up ornament, but the shipping package is only ten by ten by seven inches, and weighed only seven pounds. And, no, it was addressed only to the daughter.
  6. Why, yes, that package did come. Daughter didn’t know what it was, and just set it aside and forgot about it. Whaaat? It seems strange to my wife and me. When we receive a package, we basically vet it by looking at the address, seeing who it’s for, wondering what it is, and then opening it, you know? This idea of setting a package aside and forgetting it is foreign to us. But then, perhaps our military background plays into it. An unexpected or unattended package was treated as a threat. Could be an explosive device. That was drilled into us through my twenty years plus of service. Also, getting packages always feels like a special moment for people of our generation. These young people…smh.
  7. So now, two friends are dealing with cancer, one local, and another across the country. Oh, that cancer. It’s not shying off just because of COVID-19. Both friends are coping, as are their families.
  8. Fitbit has notified me that I’ve done one hundred three consecutive days of meeting my walking goal. I enjoy receiving Fitbit’s weekly report on what I’ve done. It’s tangible. I’m maintaining a twelve mile a day average. I usually do eighty-five to eighty-eight miles per week. It gets harder to do twelve on some days. I’ve found that the eight mile mark is particularly challenging. If I make it through to nine miles, the other three miles seem pretty easy. Guess eight miles is where my wall comes up.
  9. This week’s soup was a vegetarian chili, but not the one I was hoping for. No, I’m not complaining, really, just commenting. I wanted the black bean vegetarian chili; she made the regular vegetarian chili. The one made incorporates chickpeas, black beans, and kidney beans, along with onion and green peppers. Very tasty on these cold winter days. She also baked cornbread, because chili must have cornbread. Yes, it was awesome. I had it for dinner on Monday, then lunch the rest of the week. Love it.
  10. Made fresh coffee. Time to return to writing like crazy, at least one more time. Please, stay positive, test negative, and wear a mask. Others will thank you. Cheers

Deliveries

The delivery trucks were lined up on Main Street as he took his morning walk. The doors opened up. The ramps came down. People began walking down them.

It wasn’t encouraged to stand and gawk, but slowing, he watched with a sly side gaze. The newcomers seemed like an older lot and mostly white, which gave a grimace to his face. He preferred it when they brought in young people, especially when they brought in young men. Spilling out on the sidewalks, they had the befuddled look that he’d seen before on others, the look that asked, “Where am I? How did I get here? What’s my name? Do I know you?”

He wondered who they’d be, and whether any would become friends. Ambivalence hedged his thoughts about the answer. On the one hand, he wasn’t supposed to remember these things. Meeting a new delivery always fueled temptations to share his secrets with them. He wanted to whisper to them, “Psss, did you know that you died and were resurrected? You’re just like Jesus.” He always wanted to giggle about it.

Not that it was a laughing matter, having a dead population that was always being resuscitated and put into communities to give them a lived-in look. That’s how it goes when you lose the war.

The victors dictate the terms for peace.

Delivery Rules

I know he’s out there. Watching. Waiting, exercising Zen patience. I know the Delivery Rules.

First Rule: inconvenience the customer as significantly as possible.

It’s not about profit and loss or corporate vision and mission statements. It’s about people with power. They have the package. I want the package. So they have the power.

Oh, delicious power, how they love watching me leap up when a truck passes my house. “Is that it?” they mock, imagining my voice, bringing up their super-powerful binoculars to see my disappointment, laughing as they finger a few more drooping French fries into their mouth.

They don’t know that I know the rules. I’m aware of them and their delivery watch. “Keep hidden,” I tell my wife. “Don’t go past any windows.”

“This is ridiculous,” she answers.

“Shhh,” I hiss, pointing up. “They’re listening.”

She stares at me.

I explain, “They’ll know you’re here. We want them to think we’re not home or can’t come to the door.”

Amazement disturbs her gaze. “And why do we care if they know I’m here?”

“Shhh.” I look out the windows. Of course I can’t see a delivery vehicle. They’re not fools. They cloak the van with invisibility so they can stay out there, watching, without being detected, until they believe I’m not home or available and ‘attempt’ delivery. I know how this works.

I move closer to my wife so I can whisper. “They’re out there. They’re waiting for me to leave or take a shower. Then they’ll ring the bell. I won’t hear it so they’ll leave a notice and try again tomorrow. That’s how they get you.”

She stares at me. I don’t know what that look means. “How do I fit into this?” she asks in a Very Normal Tone.

Her refusal to keep her voice down disturbs me. “Quiet,” I hiss. “Come on. What’re you trying to do?” Realizations penetrate my thinking. “They got to you, didn’t they?”

Her eyes widen. “Who?”

But I get it. I understand. “Never mind.” I smile. “I was just joking.” I let slip laughter. “Pretty convincing, wasn’t I?”

She doesn’t seem convinced but I put her behind me and leave the room. Out there, in the living-dining-kitchen great room, I pace and pace, trying to figure out what I can do.

But it doesn’t matter. They have her. They’ve already won the day. Yet, I can’t give up. Not that easily. I’ve been playing the game too long. This isn’t my first delivery. “I’m going to take a shower,” I call, very loudly.

“Okay,” she answers, a mumble.

I go into the master bath and turn on the shower, hoping to fool them, and then slip into the hall to get to the front door to wait. I meet my wife coming down the hall. She looks startled. “I thought you were taking a shower.”

Checking on me. Oh, I get it. I smile. “I am.”

“But you have all your clothes on.”

I nod. “I know.”

Shaking her head, she walks past, saying, “I think you need to relax.”

Relax, oh, they’d like that. Hearing her turn off the water, I run back into the bathroom. “What are you doing?”

“You’re wasting water,” she replies.

Pushing past her, I turn the water back on. She’s talking but I can’t understand her. “What?” I ask. She’s talking again but I still can’t understand her. “What?” I shake my head. “I can’t hear you. You’re talking too low.”

Diversion, I realize, and then the phone rings. The rules require them to ring the doorbell, but if I don’t hear it or answer in time, they leave – and then they won. “Was that the doorbell?” I run for the door and yank it open as my wife answers the phone.

A notice hangs from the door handle. I rush out to see if I spot the truck, a rookie error born from frustration. They already cloaked the truck. Nobody can hear or see it now.

“Did your computer come?” My wife asks from behind me.

I smile without looking back. “No. They left a notice.” I go back in past her, glancing at her face. They got to her. I see it in her brown eyes. I don’t know how. Probably bribed her with a discount coupon for shoes.

“I’m sorry,” she says, closing the door, but there’s no sorrow in her voice.

“That’s okay,” I answer with false cheerfulness. “There’s always tomorrow.”

Yes, there’s always tomorrow, when we’ll play again. I know the rules.

Someday, I’ll win.

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