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UPS Tracking and the Art of Having No Life.

UPS Tracking and the Art of Having No Life.

The most startling indication that I have no life is my recent purchase: a used, Apple G3 desktop unit. Well, actually, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but the purchase is a good starting point.

You see, I’m a subscriber to an email list–several actually. There’s the Atlantis_II list, full of fans of Ayn Rand, libertarians and such. Then there’s Nexus, which is strictly for announcing local get-togethers. Work For Writers doesn’t much provide anything in my market, but is interesting reading. I moderate Happy Hacker Windows forum, and there are others. Last but not least is LEM-“Low-End-Mac”, a swap list.

This is an eBay addict’s worst nightmare–or wet dream. You can decide. Either way, it spells baaaaad for MD’s pocketbook. My first purchase from LEM: a pair of Mac desktops — for only $35 each!

Now some will argue that my eBay addiction was evidence enough of a lack of life. But I view it as anti-social shopping. I don’t want to be around little old people in junk shops, so there’s eBay. I don’t want to be around people in boutiques. eBay! About the only retail establishment I have any tolerance for is a shopping mall. And there I can tune out the people, pretend it’s a building constructed specifically for me, tame the OCDemons of my fountain-tick, and find things I never knew I needed–like the fourth backpack I now own or the third pair of black shoes. No, this isn’t indication of my lack of life enough. The final nail in the coffin was in the form of a number–or a combination of letters and numbers to be exact.


That’s the tracking number on my pair of computers, set for delivery on April 27th. I know this beyond any reasonable doubt because I was informed of such in a very polite, if machine-generated, email from PayPal and UPS (a joint-venture, no doubt). But that’s just the fun part.

Down at the bottom of the email was a little pair of words that the OCD in me cannot resist. We’ll digress for a moment. Though I am a natural leader, I have a deplorable condition: I follow orders. Not from people, like “Hey you, do this.” Hell no. I am the eternal iconoclast. But when a computer tells me to do something, a sign in the mall says stop here, or a jingle on the radio says visit, I find myself fighting with every fiber of my being to NOT do whatever it is the ad, the sign, or the computer tells me to do. Unfortunately for me, right there at the bottom of the PayPal-UPS Joint Email were two words I simply cannot resist: Click Here.

And I did.

My package was sitting in the previous owner’s garage, awaiting pickup. I clicked again twenty hours later and I learned it had been picked up. But it didn’t stop there. It told me it had already LEFT Michigan and was “in route”. Departure Scan.

Five hours later, my parcel had arrived safely at the next depot, where it sat for twelve hours. I know this because I checked *every hour on the hour* until it left. It is now listed as “in transit”, having departed the depot on a truck at Noon yesterday. Right now, I’m terrified that it’s lost, fallen off a truck, or has become the victim of Druid terrorists. Like some paranoid mother awaiting the visit of the stork to deliver her progeny safely to her doorstep, I sit at home, refreshing the same screen on my browser, anxiously praying for the safe arrival of my purchase.

I check it before I leave home in the morning, from the cable at work, and just now from the dialup.

I have faith. I believe in UPS because they have never failed me. And they won’t fail my progeny either. I’ll sit here, quietly and fanatically clicking ‘refresh’ until that fateful moment when my doorbell rings and the man in brown sets that big, well-packed box down on my doorstep and utters those two magical, mystical, mythical, words:

Sign here.