In the corner

I hear the kids want these gadgets for Christmas. So I decide to get them each one. Exactly the same, except for color. One is black. One is green. We’ll call the black one Baron, and the green one Yao. After some consternation, they are ordered directly from the manufacturer, both at the same time. Two hours later, an email that Baron has shipped. Two hours after that, an email that Yao has shipped. And they are scheduled to arrive on two different days. Now, why didn’t they just ship them in one box and not complicate my already complicated life? I cursed the boneheads. Over the weekend I took a peek at their tracking history. Baron was coming from Oakland. Yao was coming from China. I nodded my best Emily Litella. Black Baron boogied by the bay and dropped down the 5. Green Yao hopped and skipped from Shenzhen, China to Lantau Island, Hong Kong to Anchorage, AK to Memphis, TN to Canoga Park, CA. Then suddenly, they are not arriving on Tuesday and Wednesday, but both together on Monday. The door tag says I can pickup my packages after 6:30. And that they close at 7:00. At the facility located 30 miles from home. So I call and ask that they hold my packages at the conveniently located facility, and I’ll do the 30 miles from work to pick them up on Tuesday. Phone girl says she can’t place that hold for me, due to the international nature of this shipment. She tells me some acronym must perform the holding task and that they would not be available until morning. She relays that I need to call after 8:00 CT, the hour that acronym arrives and also approximately when the insistent driver loads his truck for the entire day. A restless night, awaiting 8:00 CT. I had to be prompt, calling before the truck rolled. The required timing was like calling in to buy tickets for a big concert. When I explained my dilemma and laid out my request, I mentioned the powerful acronym. There was no reaction at all from my assistant on this call. She must already be a member of this secret society of shipping Sandinistas. She quickly completed the hold and I fetched the gadgets at lunch. The North Hollywood holiday traffic was perfectly light. One box looks like a brand new box that was just sealed up and then handed to you. The other has a big stain on it, looks like it’s been dropped multiple times, perhaps run over by a mountain bike, and you can hear and feel that everything inside is banging around loosely. Then there’s the Lakers…