My new online life is not working out as I had hoped. I am no longer in control of what I stock in my cupboards or what I wear on my head. And my numerous online purchases have yet to become the central joy of my existence.
It all began when, for the first time ever, I took the advice of my accountant and bought several home office items before the stroke of midnight on the last day of the financial year. While highly strategic in nature, I found each online purchase sent a shudder of excitement through my body as I imagined myself sashaying past a, gleaming home-office recess, resplendent with the latest computer hardware and ergonomic furniture.
Instead, I find myself sitting in bed, bedraggled in a dressing gown, as Hamish from the Good Guys explains that the one month delay in the delivery of my goods has now become a three month delay and potentially promises to disappear into an apocalyptic, productless infinity the likes of which he and Shane in the orders department have never seen.
On the few occasions I venture beyond my domestic bubble, I note with growing annoyance, the range of fashionable face masks on the street. Fresh, black, cotton stretches across the brash faces of the young. Sometimes a diamonte or two glisten just beneath the mouth line. The occasional air filter protrudes from a tradie’s functional noggin, and the ladies in the IGA model cheerful plaid and polka dots much favoured by their generation.
I, on the other hand, creep about with a deep self-consciousness and shame. My papery blue surgical mask hangs wanely over my nose and mouth, moistly drawing in and out with each stale breath. The woefully inadequate head straps continually fall away from my ears.
So where are my highly fashionable masks, expertly stitched with cotton under and overlays into a slimming design? Where indeed. Apparently they are still in Alaska where they are manufactured – no, I didn’t see that bit in the conditions! There has been a delay, which is not unusual in Alaska and it could be months before they arrive.
Then there are the groceries. I don’t ask much. My needs are standard and my tastes pedestrian. There is no saffron or pork knuckle on my food list. I am neither vegan nor gluten intolerant. I’m not even from a food loving culture, so any old crap will do.
And yet, after hours negotiating the lurid red columns and checklists of my supermarket’s online shopping system, my final order comes through, depleted, barely recognisable, with everything but the extra-large garbage bags and a packet of frozen spinach unavailable for the foreseeable future.
George, who takes my call on the emergency enquiries line, tells me there has been an unexpected delay at the warehouse and it’s anyone’s guess when the community will next see a chicken thigh fillet.
But it’s all OK, I tell myself, because this is the price we pay for being part of history – at the epi-centre of a moment in time that will, one day, leap from the pages of the history books – because books are making a come back according to the click and collect section of the Dymocks website.
The startling tales of consumer survival will thrill and astound our grand-children and we will sit back smugly in our Ikea ergo-rockers (which we nearly didn’t receive due to the great online winter specials backlog of 2020) and say,
‘At one point there was an average six week wait for bog roll! But we didn’t complain, we just kept ordering. It was our nation’s finest moment. I still have the seventeen delay notices about my Alaskan face mask order. Dreadful disappointment they were. Not slimming at all.’