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On mail

Alright, I’ve had a day.

So I bought a new chair. Well, my parents bought it for me, because it’s my birthday soon, and my chair has not been getting less creaky, it has felt like it could break in half for a while, good useful gift that I’ll get a lot of daily use out of for years. Happy birthday to me.1Well, on the 17th.

Ordered it online, because none of us felt like shoving it into a car and all that hassle, picked a delivery window when I knew I’d be home. That was yesterday, the morning of the fifth, I was home the whole time. It did briefly announce it would show up today instead, right while I’d be at the cinema, but that only lasted about an hour. A little weird, not a problem. And I am, indeed, home the whole time. And then the delivery window ends, I check the mail box, and discover the delivery person has missed me. Funny way to find out I wasn’t home at all.

It is at this point that I start to seriously consider my previously announced intention to destroy and eat the next mail van I see.

Anyway, now I’ve got to get this 22kg box from a supermarket a kilometre from my house. Which is a lot more hassle than it would’ve been with the car, for anyone. Realise that might be a lot for me on my own, so I ask the Brother, who lives 300 metres away from me.2Close enough that we can juuuust about wave at and see each other if I go up the roof. He’s happy to help, and leaving a work a little early, anyway, so we go that same afternoon.

The Plan: We take my bike, pop the box on top of the bike, two pairs of hands should get it home. Simple. We’re Dutch, we could solve a murder with a bike and two pairs of hands, and we could do it without the hands if we needed to.

Halfway to the supermarket, my bike announces its plan to decouple from three of the spokes on my back wheel. Clang clang clang. Thunk, thud. Three loose at once, damn. The metal on the wheel has bad cracks in it. That’s gonna mean a new wheel, baby. Sigh. Oh well. It’s a 10-year old bike, it’s a miracle it’s served me this well this long. I’ll take it to the guy after I come home.

Get to the store, pick up the package. Well, two packages, they had a book for me, too. Coincidence. We try a few different angles, get it on the bike, standing up on the, what do you call that, the pakjesdrager, literally the “package carrier,” the metal shelf thing over the back wheel. A package carrier carrying a package. This works fine, almost exactly like I’d expected.

It is at this point that I’d like to talk about the ways in which you’re wondering how this is gonna go wrong. Maybe the back wheel collapses. Maybe the box falls off. Maybe the whole bike just explodes. Maybe– No. It goes wrong in none of these ways. The box is heavy, it’s a bit of a walk with that kind of weight, but we know what we’re doing. Two hands on the bike, two hands on the box. We get it home. I thank the Brother profusely, and offer to buy Subway tomorrow, before the movie.

Once I get the box in the hallway, I suddenly have a thought. I ask the Brother, hey, if I go inside, can you do this real quick? I do, he does. The thing that should happen… doesn’t.

There’s a beat, like a silent penultimate panel in a comic strip that overuses those.

My doorbell doesn’t work.


  • 1
    Well, on the 17th.
  • 2
    Close enough that we can juuuust about wave at and see each other if I go up the roof.

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