Pull up a chair. This story, if told to you in person, would involve a lot of hand waving on my part. Many gestures. Some face pulling. Mild tears and a whole host of swear words and perhaps some hair pulling (mine, not yours) and finally one of those expressions that say “if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry” while simultaneously laughing and crying. Listen now, for this story is the story of my College Books and their travels through the UK and Ireland.
Packing to leave the country as I was, I was trying to bring as many useful things as possible. I consider a lot of my belongings to be useful, nay essential, for every day life, and so packing was becoming an increasingly difficult task, as I didn’t want to leave anything behind. My mother came up with the wonderful notion of posting my Open University books to England, as they weighed 2 stone when all sitting in a box together, and although that would cost me a lot to bring it on a plane as baggage, it wouldn’t cost me very much if I sent it through the post.
I paid the postage, I paid for insurance, I got a track and trace number and a suggested date of delivery, and all was well. Myself and He Who Only… took to checking the An Post website daily, using our Track and Trace number to Track and Trace the parcel. There it was, Dun Laoghaire to Dublin Central to Newcastle to… No, just to Newcastle. They’re in Newcastle, we’d tell each other every evening. Still in Newcastle. I wonder when they’re coming down to London?
They were still in Newcastle when I came home last week for Ben Folds. I checked the website the evening I got back from Ben Folds. They weren’t in Newcastle any more though. No. They’d be Tracked and Traced to Port Laoise.
That’s in Ireland. Not England, and certainly not London. Why the hecking fuck were they back in Ireland? I rang An Post the very next day – you’ll remember, the day after my dog died and I was in no fit state for company – and the lady on the phone told me that they’d attempted delivery, failed, left a card, held the books in London for five days and then sent them back to the sorting office in Port Laoise.
But you see, they hadn’t. I’d be in that house where they were addressed. I’d sat on my arse for vast quantities of the day in that house, and if any deliveries had been attempted, I’d’ve been right there at the door ready to receive. If they’d left in a card, I’d’ve been down that post office in a second, ready to get my university books back. No delivery was attempted, and I’m willing to swear to this on The Koran, on a Bible, on the complete scripts of Blackadder if you’d like me to.
The lady down the phone seemed non-plussed, until I burst in to tears. She then transferred me to a man called Eugene, who was a wonder.
Eugene assumed he was talking to a hysterical 16 year old, thanks to the tone that I was adopting of my entire world having fallen down around me thanks to college books being lost. He assured me that they’d do everything they could to get them back to Dublin. I pointed out I didn’t want the fuckers in Dublin. That’s why I’d posted them away from Dublin. So that they wouldn’t be in Dublin. Eugene saw the strength of my argument, and we decided that the best possible thing to do would be to get the package from Port Laoise, bring them to Dublin, then put them on a plane to London, and have them delivered. Eugene promised me with all his heart that he would do so, and what’s more that he’d keep me informed of everything that was going on.
Eugene duly rang me last Monday to tell me that my package had gone missing from Port Laoise. It wasn’t in Port Laoise and it wasn’t in Dublin. He didn’t know where my package was. He told me not to panic.
In the end, I phoned the Open University and explained to them what had happened, about the books and the moving and the misdirection and the losing and the me having been without them for two weeks already meaning that I was going to start missing essay deadlines. The Open University, after consulting with itself, came back to me and said they’d send me out all the books – these books, worth in excess of £500 – FREE OF CHARGE.
Eugene rang me yesterday to tell me that he’d found the books, and that they were being sent to my Mum. Mum rang me to tell me that my books were back in our hall way.
I have paid, between phone calls and insurance costs and postage and blood, sweat and tears, over €60 for my Open University books to be taken from Dublin to Newcastle to London to Port Laoise to Dublin. I’ve not had them for three weeks now. And the worst thing is, Eugene was so pleased with himself and his good work of finding a package that shouldn’t have been lost and sending it to the address that it originally came from and wasn’t supposed to be at that I couldn’t do anything but thank him profusely for all his work while seething so much I wanted to rip my own skin off in anger at the madness of the whole thing.
This morning, Carol called me to say the Open Unversity have sent out all the books. It took them two days to send out £500 worth of books for free, where An Post cost me €60 and a nervous breakdown to return my books to the last place I wanted them to be.
That is the end of my tale of woe. Let us never speak of it again.