English: “Royal Mail” sign, Belfast The Royal Mail sign on the top of Tomb Street sorting office 322800. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I work in a place opposite a Royal Mail sorting office where people who have been left the little “We tried to deliver an item to you but you were otherwise occupied…” or whatever it says card come to collect their boxes and envelopes. At break times you can see dozens of people wandering up the drive with their packages to their cars (often parked without permission on our car park, but that’s another story) while doing something curious.
Like kids on Christmas morning they’re tearing into the paper and cardboard, risking spilling the contents onto the road (and often doing so) just because they can’t wait until they get home to see what they’ve been sent.
More often than not it’s likely to be something they’ve ordered so it’s not as if they’re thinking “what on Earth can it possibly be, I’d better open it now in case it’s something I’d rather not take home.” If it is something they’d rather not take home I’d rather they didn’t open it outside my shop. They can’t be checking if it’s the right thing, after all it’s not like they can stride back to the sorting office and say “please send this back to Amazon for me, it’s not the right colour.”
The other day I even saw a man with a motorbike, clad in the full leather jacket and so on, unwrap a new soft-shell jacket and inspect it while standing next to his bike, risking oil and grime stains, before then stuffing it back in the envelope and lodging it in his jacket.
The best ones are the rare people who both park in our car park, without permission, collect a parcel and then sit in their car and inspect it for ten minutes before leaving. I’m thinking of offering to sell them a coffee and biscuits to complete the experience.
wireless router (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)
I’ve been having communication difficulties. As I connected and disconnected phone extensions I found an old cable-reel extension lead and remembered how, ten years ago, this was my connection to the internet.
Back then, as now, the computer was ten metres from the phone socket so in the dim, distant dial-up days
dis this was extended along the length of the apartment and plugged into my clear red plastic modem and the noisy connection process could begin. Once finished it would be wound up again and slotted back down the side of the sofa. In those days the dangers of the internet as espoused by the tabloids missed out my own addition – a trip hazard.
Now, of course we connect laptops, PCs, phones and tablets even speakers wirelessly and speedily, it’s wonderful to be able to play music from the tablet in my hand to the speaker in front of the TV, to control my car stereo from the touchscreen phone by the steering wheel, share pictures between cameras and phones with a touch and to be able to read books, articles and whole encyclopedia’s on a portable handheld slab of plastic and glass. We truly are at the beginning of a fantastic age, no matter what the naysayers, er say. Ok, the technology isn’t yet in the hands of everyone but it is becoming cheaper and easier to use so that more people can have the greatest collection of humankind’s knowledge literally at their fingertips, along with cat videos of course.
As Arthur C Clarke said “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” and although we don’t really think of our free and open mine of information as mystical it is a wonder, especially in the current climate of big media wanting us to subscribe to everything. Thirty years ago I watched The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and wondered whether we could have such an electronic book as that. Right now, we have so much more. So next time your wireless connection stutters be thankful that you don’t have to unravel that extension lead.