For reasons beyond my ability to comprehend (so not that far), a kind and generous reader of this blog, who is surely handsome, witty, intelligent, caring and woefully ignored by the scientific publishing world, decided to send me a Christmas present.
Of course, I protested vigorously that it was entirely unnecessary; “No, no you really mustn’t, this is my postal address, use priority mail to get it here for Christmas. No, really, I couldn’t possibly accept.”
Now, I know that he sent something because on Monday a piece of paper turned up in my mailbox – the “Sender’s Custom Declaration Form CN 22” (you know, that form one has to fill out when sending articles abroad), which clearly stated my name and address, that of the sender, that it was posted in the U.S. on Dec 2nd and “this copy will be retained at the post office for 30 days.” Hmmm.
I was overjoyed. I’d received a piece of an official United States Postal Service form. However, over time it dawned on me that there might be more to it; there was the distant possibility that this piece of paper might have been attached to some kind of package – that there was even more to come! I headed off to my local post office to see if they had a parcel for me.
I’m not going to detail all the conversations I had over the course of yesterday, but the post office “couldn’t possibly have it – it’s probably at customs in Böblingen. No we don’t have their contact details.” After calling the customs office in Böblingen and spending a quarter of an hour explaining and cajoling I found out that “this office isn’t responsible for your postal code, your customs office is at the Hafen.” Naturally I rang the office at the Hafen and after explaining the story again, was asked by the polite, friendly, service-oriented individual working there, “I’ve got over twenty parcels here, do you really want me to check them all?” before she hung up.
Now, although I’m not really happy here, this isn’t of itself reason to leave the country. No really, it isn’t. The fact that I’ll be on an 18:30 flight to England this evening is mere coincidence. And they’d better be friendly and cooperative when I get there.
Update: It came! When I explained the story to the guy from DHL, he just laughed and said “Typisch Deutsch!” As for where it is now, well, that’s for the next post.
Song playing as this was published: Wir Sind Helden – “Guten Tag (Reklamation)”