Les trois boîtes d’Autriche

The boxes I left behind in Austria arrived in France this week. Just like in Austria, the delivery person didn’t ring the bell but left a slip of paper instead, so I had to pick them up myself at the main post office.

I left the house with my newly acquired French sim card in the phone. I was hoping the post office would call me a cab. Despite my new French number, I consider talking on the phone at least 2 steps up difficulty-wise from talking person to person and that only works half the time.

Well, they didn’t call a cab for me at the post office and also didn’t know a number I could call. The lady at the counter did let me use the trolley, though for taking the boxes away from her counter. I wheeled the boxes outside, where it promptly began to rain. With my cardboard boxes too big to fit entirely under the awning, I tried to look up a taxi number on the internet.

The connection didn’t work, though and is worth its own blog entry (which will end up on techniktagebuch, probably). I asked another customer who was leaving, instead. She didn’t have a cab number handy either, though. I cursed my lack of foresight and texted Gergö for help. I figured he’s never further than 2 feet from a connection. As I was waiting for the reply the rain got heavier. People darted in and out of the post office carrying letters and eyeing my large boxes, some inflating the cheeks and tilting their head in the fashion that universally suggests “She has got her work cut out for herself.”

I was standing opposite phone boxes with various small ads on their doors. I checked to see if there were any cab companies advertising but no dice. Only then I noticed the yellow pages inside the phone booth. I haven’t seen a phone book in a long time, much less one in a public space. I found the cab listings for Palaiseau at the same moment my phone beeped with the message from Gergö.

I don’t know how long it’s been since I last used a phone booth. Even today, I only used it as protection from the rain as I called the cab company from my mobile: “I need a taxi at the post office of Palaiseau”. The cab driver had a question for me, I didn’t understand. So obviously I repeated myself. Unfortunately that was also his strategy. After some back and forth it turned out he wasn’t sure if I was at the post office or needed to get there. With that cleared, he told me he’d be there in 15 minutes.

I hung up the phone, the rain slowed to a drizzle and a rainbow appeared.

Double rainbow

Double rainbow

rainbow en français: arc en ciel

rainbow en français: arc en ciel







Clearly a double rainbow wasn’t kitschy enough, so a grey heron also flew by. As waited for a robin to land on my outstretched hand or a group of passers-by to spontaneously break into song and dance, the rain got heavier again.

The cab arrived after 20 minutes, took me home in 5 minutes and charged 15 €. As the driver helped me unload, the biggest box started to come undone at the handle. Obviously. Since it was also the lightest of the three boxes, I still managed to wrestle it inside the apartment building and to the elevator.

Our elevator is weirdly oblong – wider than it’s deep and the door is to one side. I put the largest box in, piled the other two on top and only then realised that the box is too long to fit in lengthwise. I’d have to move it sideways. I couldn’t do that with the two heavier but smaller boxes on top. They were all a bit soggy from the rain and not very stable anymore and wouldn’t budge as I pushed and pulled. I was standing there, sweating, hoping the ancient neighbour with her tiny dog wouldn’t return at this exact moment. The angle to lift the heaviest box was awkward, so I tilted it instead. That got it stuck next to the other boxes and besides didn’t make enough room to move the long box sideways. As I pushed and shoved and felt quite ridiculous I was reminded of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams and the inexplicably stuck sofa.

Unlike for the sofa, in the end there was a way to get the boxes inside and out of the elevator. I have my Waldviertler shoes back, my pacman bag, my other hoodies, my other skirts, and all the dirty laundry we stuffed inside at the last minute before we left Austria. Well matured smelly socks from the hottest August since recordings began!

As I got home, my phone connected to our Wifi and I saw Gergö’s message: “Did it work?”, I just answered “Let’s never do that again, ok?”. God I hate moving.

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