L i m b o



In the days before Christmas my website was attacked by Chinese hackers. Due to the time spent blocking access and repairing the damage, on top of all the Christmas shit, I didn’t have time, or even spare USB sockets, to backup my external drive.

After Christmas I order a new LP and some damping fluid for my tonearm. Unfortunately, the seller decides he can’t use my address as given because it isn’t listed that way in the Post Office database. He also doesn’t dispatch the items until the Monday of the week after New Year, by which time I’m no longer on holiday.

The seller then decides, for reasons best known to themselves, to not use the Royal Mail or a recognisable courier, I neveer learn who they might be. The courier is therefore unable to utilise a pickup location.

When I go back to work, I’m bounced around multiple locations – which doesn’t facilitate having it delivered to my workplace, but I give the seller the address where I’m most likely to be working for the next two weeks.

The seller then ignores my email for the next two weeks.

Subsequent to that, I win a couple of 78s on eBay. Having had the last dozen or so Shellac disc purchases arrive safely, I don’t bother adding instructions on how to suitably package brittle and fragile Shellac discs for the mail.

The first disc, Elvis’ Hound Dog/Don’t Be Cruel, is dispatched almost immediately to the work address used previously. Inevitably, it arrives when I’m not there. Equally inevitably, it arrives in packaging barely suitable for vinyl let alone shellac, in two pieces. I report the damage to eBay and request a refund.

Four days later, the seller contacts me asking me to notify him when the record arrives??? Another week later, and the seller decides to be a funny bastard and asks for the broken record to be returned – at my expense – before a refund will be considered. I was still of a mind to return it, but given that it was already broken I wasn’t looking after it and it had snapped into a third shard in the interim, so the funny guy would no doubt have used that as an excuse to play more of his funny games…

The second disc, a Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters number, is also to be dispatched to my work address – where you’ll remember I’m most likely to be located over the next two weeks – but not until a fortnight later.

In the meantime, my exercise bike breaks down. It’s not a problem, I can just order a new one. I use Amazon Prime for immediate delivery.

Unfortunately, Amazon dispatch it from the South of France, and it won’t arrive for at least a week. But at least they used UPS, as they have an access point from where I can collect the package at my leisure, just around the corner. Unfortunately, they immediately inform me that because the item requires a signature, they can’t use the access point.

I contact the seller and ask them to forego the signature. Unfortunately, they only contact UPS after two failed deliveries. Even more unfortunately, UPS decline to inform the seller that the parcel also exceeds the weight limit and can’t utilise the access point for that reason either. And yet more unfortunately, UPS no longer seem to operate a depot in Edinburgh from which I might collect the parcel and also won’t attempt another delivery…

Following that, I’m asked to apply for a job: I apply, and they offer me an interview. I attend an interview, and the following day they offer me the position (subject to references).

I’ve never heard from them since…

In the quiet week that came after, my external drive on which I keep my music library got a lot quieter and died. After a day and a half scanning it with Windows’ CHKDSK utility, it was somewhat repaired, but those repairs then required a further whole day of defragging. And that’s before I can work through the logs to see which tracks I can replace from my most recent backup.

So, I’m still waiting for the LP and accompanying materials;
I’m still waiting for one 78 and a refund on the other;
I’ve never had a refund for the exercise bike;
I’ve never heard anything about the job;
And I’m still waiting for the drive to finish defragging…

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