Dear Dave

Friday 30 January 2009

Wanting it now

Dear Dave,

Where the heck is Barking?

My Xbox is stuck in a sorting office in Barking. I keep refreshing the parcel tracking web page every few minutes but it's still there. Wherever there is...

For crying out loud, it only took a week for the thing to get to Germany and be fixed. It's taken nearly as long just to get back again...


Still in Barking...

And this is after spending a night in Frankfurt for no obvious reason. Gah! Don't these people realise that there's an empty space in my 'safe place' that's missing an Xbox? The little corner of the house I go to in order to hide and get peace and quiet is incomplete. I want it returned to normal. I feel like a secret agent without an escape route. If everything goes according to plan, I'll be fine, but there's a constant gnawing sensation at the back of my mind that in the event of an emergency, there will be no way out. Even a minor setback this week could leave me unable to cope. I want my Xbox. And I want it NOW! (Before I get captured by a bald guy with a cat and suspended over a pit of ravenous toddlers.)


Drat. Still in Barking...

This would actually be easier to deal with if I had no idea where my console was. If it weren't for email alerts and internet updates, I wouldn't even be expecting the thing before the end of next week. Its early arrival in a couple of days would have been a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, modern technology has revealed that only a minor touch of efficiency and a small dab of luck would have had it here yesterday. Despite the whole process taking less than a fortnight, I'm disappointed already.

And, to think, I was complimented on my patience the other day. Not my current levels of patience, obviously, but my ability to remain calm when the kids were small despite having had very little sleep. I suppose back then I always knew I'd get to collapse on the sofa with a beer at the end of the day and I was under no delusion that that moment would come early. There was every chance it would arrive late, in fact. I simply pressed on.

Now the kids have set schedules tied to school and clubs, I feel more impatient than I used to. If I tell them to do something, they have to get on with it or we're going to be late. Constantly goading them gets quickly wearying. Since they have definite bedtimes, it's easier to count the minutes until there's peace and more frustrating if lights-out is delayed.

Sadly, it's actually the kids' lack of patience that most often tries my own. If they ask me for something and I'm busy and I tell them 'later', they simply won't leave me alone. They keep pestering me. It's really hard to finish a task when you're constantly being asked if you're finished. Sigh...

We ordered some books online at the weekend and they haven't arrived yet. The children are demanding I go on the computer and tell the postman to hurry up. They want to know where the books are, why they haven't arrived yet and when they're going to show up. Unfortunately, that parcel isn't being tracked, so there's nothing to do but wait. They're not too happy about this. I've had to drown out the whining with stories of the olden days a couple of times:

Back when we were kids, mail order took weeks. When they said, 'Allow 28 days for delivery', they really meant it. Three days for the order to reach them, two days for caterpillars to eat their way into the envelope, another two days for someone to take the cheque to the bank, a week for the cheque to clear, another week for anyone to notice, several hours for a troll to find the ordered item in the warehouse, two days for the item to travel along a conveyor belt of snails to the packaging department, another day to find a box the right size and then three more days in the post.

Sometimes I didn't even get what I ordered. If the thing was out of stock, I got something 'similar'. Being able to purchase an item over the internet and have it arrive within 48 hours still feels like magic.

Not that my children see it like that. They want the books NOW!

Ironically, a firm timetable or a progress bar would help them be patient. Knowing their books were stuck in Barking and wouldn't turn up until the day after tomorrow would allow them to put the thought to one side. It's like if I tell them that I'll be with them in a bit - they keep asking until I actually go. If I tell them I'll be with them in eleven and a half minutes, there's a good chance they'll go away and I'll have ten minutes or so before they return to stare at me expectantly.

Meanwhile, here I am, clicking every couple of minutes to check where my package has got to, hoping it might get here tomorrow after all but wishing I didn't have a clue so I could just forget about it. Click... Ooh, it's at Tamworth now.

I don't know where Tamworth is either.

If they're going to do this, they should do it properly. The next step is full GPS tracking. I want to be able to follow my package on Google Maps. I want to know if it's stuck at roadworks near Newcastle or going round a roundabout in Watford. I should be able to tell if the driver has stopped for a cigarette in Jedburgh. I need infrared satellite imagery of him sitting in a Little Chef in Doncaster and I need to be able to text chat with everyone else stalking the same delivery. That way, when he has a refill, we can all moan together that he'll need to stop for yet another comfort break just past Durham...

At least it would give me something to do while I'm waiting (other than tell the kids to get a move on, that is).

Yours in a woman's world,



Gwen said...

Hey Ed! I have another award for you on my blog. I know how much you love these things! ;)
As always, strictly optional to play along.
I hope you and the family are doing well!
Take care,

Mockingbird said...

Barking... East London luv. Has a very nice market. Tamworth... that's where the pigs are from... Don't know much about Tamworth accept it's in the Midlands (I think).

DadsDinner said...

Gwen - we're all doing fine apart from the usual round of winter bugs and sniffles. Thanks for the award - I appreciate it. Already involved in another online pyramid scheme of appreciation at Authonomy, though. ;-)

Mockingbird - Cheers. Had a feeling Barking was around there. Maggie Thatcher was once accused of 'heading distinctly Dagenham'...