It is Saturday, the only day I’m home and some deliveries are to be made. I’m on the phone to a DIY chain (you can guess who) because they’ve messed up my garden furniture order for the balcony of my new apartment. I try to explain two outdoor chairs have been paid for but they have only delivered one. For some reason this is difficult for them to digest.
So, I find myself reading out order and product numbers and then, at the same time, the doorbell rings. Rings. And keeps ringing. But, if I lose this vital phone connection with the garden furniture people, I know I will be spending twenty minutes listening to robotic instructions. So, I hold onto that telephone conversation for dear life.
It does not stop. The doorbell continues with its shrill chorus while I am concentrating on conveying accurate descriptions of products with their corresponding numbers! I answer the door, with the phone glued to my ear and my eyes looking for the delivery docket for what should have been the other garden chair. I have opened the door to a heavily bearded delivery man who, despite seeing me on the phone, launches into how relieved he is to finally reach me.
I’m trying to maximise eye contact and nod to compensate for my silence, as I struggle to follow two voices: the one on the phone and the other at the door. The jovial man, who would pass for a roadie, describes the arduous quest to drop his cargo at my feet; the previous visits; the unanswered phone calls. I beam at him in an attempt to mirror his relief. I didn’t receive any of the phone calls. The contents of the red bag in his hand were ordered by the previous resident of the apartment, just before she moved out.
He leaves smiling, pleased as punch without me uttering a word, glad to have finally dropped off whatever is in the big red poly bag. I can only hope my non-verbals conveyed to him an appreciation, even though I hadn’t been expecting the delivery and it was not for me. Now, that is something else I have to deal with. I had of course, been expecting another chair.
When you live on your own, delivery windows are like gold dust – especially when you work long hours and even your Saturdays can be taken up with board meetings and the like. So, when a delivery provides less than expected, particularly when it coincides with an unexpected and unrequited consignment, the logistics of solo living are brought into sharp relief.
Take tradesmen. The number of times in recent months I have had to develop the most imaginative arrangements in order to drop off or pick up spare keys for work to be done. The other day I met a man with long white hair – another roadie look-a-like…(actually, perhaps more like Gandalf) and gave him cash on a busy main road.
He returned the gesture by dropping my spare keys into my hand with a nod and a wink. We shook hands and parted ways as if sharing a strange, hobbit-like brotherhood. But, instead of searching for a precious ring, I just want my bathroom fan to work properly and quietly – hardly the stuff of fantasy adventures.
I’m thankful to say a few days later, I now have the second garden chair.
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