My watch broke a few weeks ago. Yes, I’m one of those old-fashioned souls who still likes wearing a watch. For me, it’s massively inconvenient to scrabble around in my cavernous bag for my phone every time I need to check the time. A quick look around a few watch shops in Riga revealed that until I reached millionaire status, I would be looking elsewhere. And seriously, would you give your money to these people?
Now if I were a Latvian woman, I could probably melt down an old door knob, forage around for a couple of twigs and have a fully-functioning watch in minutes. As I’m not, I went to Amazon. Figuring I’d kill two birds with one delivery charge, I also ordered “Teach Yourself Complete German” – Auf Wiedersehen Putin, Hallo Merkel.
And then I waited. Finally, last Wednesday, a slip informing me that my package had gone to the post office appeared in my mailbox. I’d already had an email from Amazon informing me that they’d split my delivery in two so I was only expecting to pick up the watch. Usually post offices in Riga have those ticketing systems so everything is nice and orderly – provided you can understand the service you’re looking for. This, it seemed, was not your usual post office.
As I stood there helplessly looking around for the machine, everyone who came in shouted “Kurš ir pēdējais?” (Who’s last?) and proceeded to stand around looking grumpy. Suddenly, there was a dash for the lady at the end counter. It seemed that everyone there had a similar slip to mine, so I shoved it into the throng. She disappeared into a secret room at the back with our delivery slips.
Around ten minutes later, she reappeared. “Ginta, Gunta, Gundega, Aija, Aiga, Aiva, Ieva…” – the Latvian hands snatched their parcels and departed. “Grandy Linda!” Assuming that was me, I stepped forward – only to be told that my parcel didn’t exist. She had me write my phone number on the slip in case it showed up, and I was dismissed. It was only after I’d walked out the door that I realised I’d just handed over my only proof that the damn thing had ever been delivered in the first place.
Needless to say, my phone didn’t ring. Then today, I discovered two delivery slips in my mail box. Not wanting to get my hopes up too much, and already formulating my email to Amazon in my head, I set off for the post office – again. (This time I’d scanned the slips beforehand – aren’t I clever?) Upon realising that I’d been looking at the man in front of me scratch his arse for several minutes, I decided to take in the sights of my local area in springtime instead.
In my experience, there are few places that looking at a man with hungry bum beats the surrounding area. It turns out Valmieras Iela is one of them.
I made it to the post office and was relieved to see that there were only two other people there. I walked over to a lady in a rather ‘fetching’ white satin jacket, half-expecting her to be wearing my watch and to start speaking pidgin German. After eyeing her wrist carefully, I handed over my slip. Again, she disappeared into the back room.
This time, she emerged with one package – the German starter kit. The other package still didn’t exist. After some tutting, sighing and scanning of the bar code, she toddled off to the back room again. I got the impression that if the package was one inch to the right or the left of where she happened to be looking, it would never be found. But, to my utter amazement, she emerged a few minutes later holding it. I immediately opened both packages and yes, everything was there.
And so ends my post about post. Linda: 2 – Latvijas Pasts: 0.