AKA Big Shipping.
At that time I didn’t have much good to say but I did try to keep from being turgid and shrill. I don’t know if I succeeded but I do know that I dropped a couple of anecdotes on the floor so I thought I’d (finally) tell one of them here (I only remember one — it has been seven years, after all).
For thirty-odd years I worked (either full or part time) in IT for the local university. Universities everywhere (and the local one is no exception) frequently name buildings after people — often financial benefactors but sometimes significant or historical figures. The building I worked in for a couple of decades is one of those — it was named for an influential professor in the late 1800s named Nathan Dupuis. I have no idea how Nathan pronounced his name, but these days ‘his’ building is generally pronounced something like ‘doo-pwee.‘
So for many years my mailing address was something like
Rose Glace Department of Blinkenlights Dupuis Hall
and it was used a lot — because I worked in IT, I got a lot of stuff. A lot of packages coming in. A lot of packages going out. A lot of blue envelopes. Stuff.
Many (most?) via Big Shipping.
Most of the time incoming packages from Big Shipping just… appeared. Once in a very long while, however, they’d call ahead. While this was potentially nice (this was in the days before online tracking so hearing anything was potentially useful) it was also… worrying. Because the first time I remember them doing this was to schedule the delivery of something I already had. So when they called to ‘confirm’ my address (apparently it ‘looked funny’.) I was understandably… apprehensive.
“My address looks funny? That’s odd. What do you have?”
I half-expected a question about the blinkenlights, but no —
“It says… ‘Doofus Hall’?”
Doofus? But there’s no ‘f’ in ‘dupuis’. Or did she say ‘duphus’? That’s not the usual spelling but I’m not sure it matters since there’s no ‘ph’ either. I was confused. I remember asking her to spell it and she spelled it ‘d-u-p-u-i-s’ so I suppose it didn’t really matter how they pronounced it. But I wasn’t sure if this was their backhanded way of telling me I was stupid. Perhaps they read this blog? But it hadn’t been written yet. Ooo — why does everything have to be so complicated?
(Of course, I still call it Doofus so maybe they were right after all. Who would have thought it?)
Years have passed. Things have changed. (It didn’t take me more than a few weeks in lockdown to notice that. I went to graduate school. I know things. Plus I’m kinda misanthropic so when an authority figure on TV told me to stay home and not see anyone I didn’t worry too much about the details.)
Because I was told to stay home and play video games I’ve been busy doing almost nothing else for about six months. (Just for a change of pace, though, this week Ms. Rose and I gave the radish its annual haircut. Tomorrow, though, it’s back to blasting virtual miscreants.) And since playing video games involves sitting in front of a computer I’ve also done a lot of shopping. (Except when I go out and get rattled or traumatized, of course. I’ve never been good at interacting with people. Six months at home has just made it worse. I wouldn’t call myself ‘feral’ just yet, but my socialization definitely isn’t what it used to be.)
It turns out that when you buy lots of stuff online, Big Shipping comes to your house. Go figure. But in the last six months not once has Big Shipping phoned me to tell me that I’m stupid. Maybe Big Shipping has changed.
Laugh laugh, joke joke.
I mean, some things have changed, the most obvious being that Big
Shipping tells you stuff these days. Sometimes quite a lot of stuff
— there was a time this summer when I was getting half-a-dozen email
messages every day with news as to where my various purchases were,
where they were going, the name of the truck driver, yadda yadda
But despite now providing a veritable deluge of information, I was sure that Big Shipping really hadn’t changed. I got confirmation of that just before dawn about ten weeks ago — I got up to go to The Necessary and happened to look at my phone. I had two email messages from Big Shipping. The first told me that a package for me had gone ‘out for delivery’ at 2:25 AM. The second told me that the package had been delivered at 4:15 AM.
Wait, what? Big Shipping doesn’t have their delivery trucks on the road at that hour, do they? That would be insane. Well, there was one way to find out: I went downstairs and checked the front porch. Nada. As expected. But I was inexplicably happy — “that’s the Big Shipping I know.”
Maybe I should start calling the house Doofus Manor.