by , under life, o tempora

On Monday, around the time that mail tends to arrive, the mailbox flap clattered. Prima, who happened to be on the stairs, went down and got it– but it wasn’t mail, it was a “You weren’t in” note from a delivery service. “But we are in!” we both said. It couldn’t have been a flat doorbell battery like last time someone thought we weren’t in: Prima tried it and it went “Ding-dong! Ding-dong!” because our doorbell always rings twice even if the postman doesn’t. Anyway, we have a new battery that should work until 2013 at least.

So I rang the number on the note for “if you have any questions” and got a very nice apologetic man, who said he’d look into it. I’m a bit sorry for these customer-service people, after all isn’t their fault if delivery people don’t deliver.

There are four delivery men (I’m sure delivery women also exist but the ones we get are all male) who bring our parcels: a tall mournful one, a medium-sized jolly one with a moustache, a largish cheerful one, and a small grumpy one. I’m practically sure it was the small grumpy one this time, because my other half caught him once walking towards our door with only the “You weren’t in” note in his hand, not even trying to deliver the parcel. I wonder why: it doesn’t spare him any work, he just has to make another run. Or perhaps most people don’t call to ask for another run, but go to pick up the parcel themselves from a run-down warehouse in the backwoods of the industrial compound, where a surly woman does all her administration backlog first before she deigns to look at the person on a bicycle who has come to pick up a stray parcel (been there, done that, ridden the bike).

When my other half caught the small grumpy man and asked why he didn’t try to deliver, the man said “It’s a private address, and it’s our experience that most people tend to be out during the day” in a slightly judgemental tone — companies keep business hours, and people with private addresses ought to be working at those companies! But my other half works from home and keeps his business hours there; anyway, it’s a delivery person’s job to deliver, not to make guesses about whether or not someone is in before ringing the bell. (And if he’d looked up only slightly, he’d have seen my other half working.) This time the blinds were down because of the sun, so we didn’t see him coming. Anyway, I sit at the dinner table to type –the desk chair is too high for me– so I wouldn’t have seen him even with the blinds up.

Now, Wednesday, I’m waiting for the parcel once again.

ETA: Arrived, full of pasted-on labels. The sender had addressed it to No. 14, which doesn’t exist: there’s 1 (in the courtyard beyond the underpass), 9, 11 (us), 13 (the church, without a doorbell), and 15 (a shop); also 2, 2a, 4 and 6 (houses) on the even side, but it ends there. Across the road there’s a No. 16, also a shop, but with a completely different street name. One of the labels has a note written on it: “Must exist, probably in a dead-end street. Street is long.” The street looks long all right, but after No. 15 going the same way the name changes to something similar enough to be confusing and it starts again with 1. (I used to bring the other No. 11 their mail delivered to us, and vice versa, but it was just a building site for a while so no mail came anyway. Now it’s apartments, so I may be doing this again soon.)

This delivery man was the largish cheerful one and he knew where the house was, because he’s been delivering to us before. He knows his small grumpy colleague and is convinced it must have been him on Monday.

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