The Weekend Australian - Review
THIS (UNBOXING) LIFE
Crossing our street to head out on our daily lunchtime walk I crane my neck to see if the delivery van is stopping at our house to drop off the pair of sneakers I’m waiting on. He slows down … is he stopping … I think he is! But wait, he U-turns and parks outside my neighbour’s house instead, where he jumps out, slides back his door with a whirr and rifles through boxes and bubblewrapped goodies that will make someone’s day.
During Victoria’s lockdowns I have ordered clothes, shoes, make-up, hair-dye, books, a macrame rope plant hanger kit (it hasn’t arrived yet) a NinjaLine obstacle rope from a dodgy Instagram ad that turned out to be a scam, a second NinjaLine from a reputable shop, exercise equipment, a wok and cases of wine.
These deliveries bring anticipation, and joy while we’re stuck at home.
And it’s not just my house that’s turned to online shopping for relief. More delivery vans drive excitement down our street than regular cars. Drivers fight for parking spots and are honked at by bigger trucks carrying furniture, whitegoods and our elliptical trainer. If our street represents what’s happening across Melbourne, it’s no wonder Australia Post can’t keep up with demand.
At around 10:30 each morning I open the front door to check if any cardboard boxes or white plastic bundles have been left on the doorstep by Santa, aka the postie.
Once there was no package, only this bittersweet note: “We tried to deliver your package, but you weren’t home. It’s gone back to the Depot” (but I was home! I was right here. Where is the Depot?).
Parcel tracking has become my new hobby. Each day brings more emails updating me on the status of my orders. Some of these emails are chirpy and efficient: “Hey Jess, we’ve received your order and are working on getting it to you as fast as we can!” Some are downright complimentary: “Wow, great purchase Jess.” Others, perhaps newer to the online game, are more reserved: “Thank you for your order. We aim to dispatch it to you within seven to ten days.”
As the delivery date comes closer, the messages shift from confirmation to action: “Your parcel has been packed and ready for pick-up” and “Good news! Your order is on its way!”. Then Auspost chimes in: “We’ve received your order and are working on it.”
One order generates at least four emails and two text messages. Or in the case of one purchase, no emails at all because it was a scam.
We return from our lunchtime walk. Back to homeschooling, working from home, and more online shopping. To my delight there are two parcels waiting for us on the doorstep. We tear open the wrapping like kids on Christmas morning and discover not one, but two NinjaLines. Turns out the first one wasn’t a scam after all.
considers original submissions for This Life of 450-500 words. Work may be edited for clarity. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org