I Know Where You Live

And I’m going to visit you. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

You’ll never see me coming…because I’ll never phone ahead. You’ll hear the doorbell and open it and there I’ll be. And I’ll force my way in and sit down on the sofa.

From then on it’ll be a nightmare of horror. I’ll demand a cup of coffee, and biscuits. Good biscuits. And more than one. And a second cup of coffee.

I’ll want to use the toilet pretty often. And the bathroom. I don’t use guest towels – I use your bath towel. And I’ll be looking in your medicine cabinet, you bet.

Is this a bad time to call? Who cares? I’m here and social mores demand that you cope with it and smile. I know that and will press the visit as long as I can to maximise your discomfort. If it overlaps your meal time you are either going to have to go hungry, invite me to eat ( And I will…) or commit the social blunder of leaving me in the lounge room while you bolt your food. Be sure that everyone in our mutual acquaintance will know of this within hours.

Do you have pets? Expect them to either detest me or love me more than they love you. Whichever it turns out to be, you’ll be sorry. I’ll feed them greasy treats and you’ll be scrubbing the carpet later.

It’s no good hiding behind the sofa. Your car’s out front. You stay crouched behind there long enough and I’m going to get bored and write you a note. ” I called but you were out. ” is particularly poignant when it’s keyed into the duco.

Note: I can always leave something on the mat. Particularly after that bad taco I had for lunch.

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I Want To Buy A Conspiracy Theory For Christmas

I mean, I’ve got a camera and an iPad and a whole cupboard full of new underwear and socks…so I’m running out of ideas for a Christmas gift. I met a conspiracy theorist a few days ago at a social club BBQ and he seemed to be having so much fun being suspicious of everyone, that I thought it would make a nifty present.

I’m not going to be ambitious – I don’t need world domination or global catastrophe or anything like that. I am prepared to start small – perhaps something that involves the reduction in the size of chocolate bars or toasters that secretly report your bread use back to General Electric via wi-fi. A conspiracy that involved a holiday in a nice resort would be good. I could sit there on a deck chair with a fruit cocktail and glower at people.

Hell, I glower at people at the mall – the tropical version would be a doddle.

The Price Of Crime

I take no interest in screen crime – and only marginally more in the detective novel stuff. There’s a warm spot in my heart for Kinky Friedman, Father Brown, and Hercule Poirot but that’s about it. However I have an intense interest in our local criminals who prey on shops.

I don’t work in a shop anymore – and we didn’t have much shop crime at any time – but I do visit our local hobby store. And their experience with criminals is affecting me.

They are in a nice new set of tilt-up premises along a major highway. They share the complex with a couple dozen good shops. But they seem to be the target for break and enter thieves. Ever since they opened – and that was just a little over a year ago – they have had 11 break-ins at the front of the premises. The thieves want the expensive radio control gear, drones, and other salable goods. Presumably there is a criminal trade in this for the holidays.

Now there is a new determination on the part of the management to resist this sort of thing. They’ve added steel mesh to the front glass window of the store and completely covered the inside with a wooden framework and panelling. It has unfortunately reduced the lighting to the in-store fixtures with no window light to supplement it.

And it has cost – I don’t know how much the previous breakings have netted the thieves or cost the owners – nor do I know the price of the alterations. But I know it all has to be paid for by someone – and that someone is the legitimate customer. We pay a premium price in the cost of goods because of others’ criminality.

Well, let us hope it stops and the economic pressure reduces. I support the shop and hope they will do so well now that the prices can be capped. It is too much to hope that the police will catch the would-be thieves, but perhaps the scum will target someone else now. Or finally achieve their fatal overdose.

Beat The Parcel Bandits This Year

The crime of theft from the front doorsteps of Australia is on the rise – the holiday month plus the increase in on-line shopping means than more and more deliveries are being made…and more and more delivery personnel are discovering that no-one is home.

Some of them make this judgement after ringing the doorbell and knocking for 5 minutes. Some make it from the street as they drive by at 50 kph. The second types are generally Australia Post contractors who just take the parcel back to the local depot and leave it for you to seek. The ones who invest a bit of time at the front mat may to leave the goods under it or behind the potted palm and then buzz off.

Here is where the parcel thieves succeed. They trail delivery trucks until they get one of these unattended drops and then swoop on it after the courier has driven out of the street. The goods are gone and the intended recipient may have a miserable trial trying to get anyone who handled them to admit to it.

The Guild Solution to this is BGA Couriers. In our distinctive cars and vans – we have a magnetic sign that can be whacked onto the doors of any car…and as easily removed again – we drive through the suburbs until we pick up a ” trailer “. There is a list of likely suspects circulated daily and any old Commodores or Hyundai sedans with oxidized paint panels are instantly recognised.

A house is selected – preferably with an open driveway, closed garage doors, and a porch easily seen from the street.. The BGA Courier goes to the door with a temptingly large parcel. The courier seems to ring the bell, but no-one answers…so they prop the parcel in full view of the street and drive away. With a bit of luck the thief swoops, collects the bait, and is off and away.

What’s in the box? Anything we fancy. Old laundry, used, and well past saving. Commercial leaflets that have been accumulating for the last three months. Pistachio shells and glitter in an unsealed bag. Dust from the Hoover. Just anything…

After all, it is the holiday season and in this case we are far better giving than receiving.

 

Bumtree

I have made use of the free selling site and app called Gumtree on several occasions in the past and have been delighted with the results.

While not everything has sold quickly, in most cases something has gone within a three week period, and if I have priced things fairly, it has all been good. But I am wondering about the thing lately.

I accept that there are some items that cannot be sold over this medium. I do not seek to sell them. Yet, when the rulemakers start to be arbitrary about the things – accepting one item and rejecting its brother – you wonder whether they are really smart enough to understand the difference between legal and illegal.

Further, while the listings are easy enough to put up, the first response to many of the careful prices is a flat 30% offer. That’s desultory and predatory at the same time, though not illegal in itself. I always thank the responder for the offer and if I can make any accommodation, I will do so…but the accommodation is a final thing.

Then it starts to get interesting. As soon as the accommodation is suggested, a series of barriers or extra demands are raised. Can the item be sent to the other side of the country at the accommodation price ( ignoring shipping costs ) and is there a vast range of accessories included free with it? Can a friend pick it up and pay by cheque? The odour of fish grows stronger with each text message.

The only saving grace with this is the fact that the advertisement is free in the first place and no goods ever have to be handed over without cash being exchanged on the spot. On all occasions when this has been the case, the deal has been good.

Well caveat emptor et vendor. It is the sort of activity that can be carried out while other things are going on, and no-one can force a sale either way. But if the buyers really do want to do business, they’ll have to do it with dignity. It ain’t a verge collection.

Making The Most Of Hangar Time

The week in the armchair has been productive. The leg heals, the mobility increases slightly, and there is no lowering horizon – save a growing list of things that I want to get done once I can stand. I think there is going to have to be some prioritization in the jobs list for a while.

If this sounds a little Pollyanna-ish you must forgive me. I won’t make myself better by worrying about what I might have troubles with – I’ll do far better to do what can be done and be pleased with that. To this end I watched pointedly useful YouTube shows all the week.

I also reorganised on paper what the rest of the year might look like. Sitzenzeit is good for that…if you can be honest with your plans and get a balance between wanna-do and canna-do. I suspect that there are a lot of times in the past when a week spent in the hangar would have led to some better flights of fancy afterwards.

One thing that hangar time forces you to do is to ask what it is you actually want to do in the future. If there are activities and ambitions that have been rather marginal in the past…but you’ve stuck to them from a sense of inertia…you have an opportunity to decently step away from them. You can streamline the wing load by unhooking the unwanted ordnance – without the necessity to drop it dramatically on someone.

The other thing that happens is you find out how many times that you go out on the road to the shops to spend money or some reason. When you can’t walk , you can’t drive, and you can’t go out and spend money. It is a bit of a shock to realise that this has not lowered your standard of living for the week. Or perhaps you are brought to the realisation that the book, bed, armchair, and convenient toilet are as high a standard as you really need – and the designer platinum-coated egg whisker that is being offered for a fabulous discount may not be for you.

I have not yet given in to the temptation of on-line shopping. I may advocate it or others, but I realise the danger of it for the bored or unfulfilled. I can wait.

Open The Window Curtains

Starting on a second week of home confinement under sentence from the doctor and chemist…I have been inspired to a brilliant idea.

Up until now I have been cooped in a chair that has an electric light behind it for reading. This is fine with a paper book and a cup of cocoa on a winter’s night but makes a sad yellow mess of trying to see a reflective iPad screen in the daylight.

Then I looked at the location more closely – right beside a main picture window. A simple tug of the blinds swivels them around and in comes filtered daylight. The screen is not yellowed nor overborne. And there will be a definite demarkation throughout the day…not just one dim twilight.

As well, I can now sticky beak the neighbours, though I am sorry to say that they are all respectable. None of them sunbake nude on the verge and most keep the bathroom curtains drawn.

On a different level, is this not a metaphor for life? Open the curtains to the sunlight and use natural light to satisfy your curiosity. Then make notes for later blackmail. Alfred Hitchcock had something going for him…