Friday, March 3, 2017

Hodgepodge 125/365 - Travel Plans

This evening I am supposed to be camping in the desert outside Barstow in southern California with my SAR teammates—my first activity with them in a while, outside trainings.

However, a package that was scheduled to arrive two days ago (guaranteed!) threw everything off. It did so by not arriving, and by not showing any signs of arriving—as in, the U.S. Postal Service has no evidence that it exists, even though the Amazon records show that it was accepted by "the carrier" (i.e., USPS) Wednesday morning at 6:49. Turns out, there's various kinds of scans in this business, and my package showed up, sort of, in a "manifest scan," but it has eluded the actual, physical, package scan. The significance of which has been variously interpreted for me, but the upshot of which is: there ain't no package.

To make a long story short, I've spent a lot of time yesterday and today on the phone, talking to many people in the post office and at Amazon. All very friendly, and helpful too, variously. Each one seemed to come at my problem from a different angle. The post office basically told me it wasn't their problem (but nicely). The Amazon folks provided several solutions, such that at present I have the phantom package somewhere out there, a newly ordered one on its way, and the possibility of an overnighted one on Monday if all else fails. (The last option arose when I called to complain that I hadn't gotten confirmation of the second option, which eventually surfaced in my email a couple of hours on.)

So. A package will arrive. I trust.

The contents? A new camera body, and lens. It's a 4/3 mirrorless system, lighter and more compact than my big Canon dSLR. I've already received two other new zoom lenses and a manual for the camera, but they don't do me much good without the body. And I want the body for my trip, coming up a week from tomorrow. (Have I not mentioned my trip? Israel and Italy. You'll be hearing all about it soon enough, so I'll leave it at that.)

So yeah: I needed to solve this issue, and I needed to do it today. And that meant skipping my SAR trip. Which I'm disappointed about. I was looking forward to spending time with my teammates, and doing the exercise, which is a certification for the Mountain Rescue Association in search management and man-tracking. I bet they're going to have a great time tomorrow. I bet they're having a great time right now, sitting under the stars, no doubt around a campfire, enjoying good food and a modest amount (I hope) of alcohol. But especially: good company.

And yet, I can use the weekend to continue fine-tuning my plans for my trip. This evening, for example, I booked bus tickets from Ben-Gurion airport to Tel Aviv and from Fiumicino airport to Rome. While I was waiting for the latter booking to complete, the screen served up this quote, from Terry Pratchett's A Hat Full of Sky:
Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.
Leaving is important. I'm glad I get to. Even if not this weekend.


  1. Ah, if I had read this earlier, I would have known the answers to all the questions I was asking!