Blue delivery

Manjula Padmanabhan | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on June 02, 2017

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“Good news!” says the message in my inbox. “Your next Blue Apron delivery is on its way!” This is the home delivery service which I subscribed to last year. Every week, unless I choose to cancel the consignment, I am scheduled to receive a carton of raw ingredients from which to make three different meals of two servings each.

Usually, I look forward to the deliveries. I continue to be an inept and talentless chef. But by following the directions I get to enjoy some interesting and tasty meals that I would normally never dream of making from the comfort of my own kitchen. This time, however I groan aloud when I see the message. Why? Because I am still in my sister’s home in Hartford, many miles away from Elsewhere!

It’s Thursday morning when I get the email. The delivery will be made on Friday, most likely between 11 am and 2 pm. Even though it’s too late to cancel, I call the company to ask if they can deliver to a friend’s address? Uh-uh, no: the friendly person at the other end of the line is sympathetic but gently explains what I already know: that orders must be cancelled one week in advance, by Saturday evening at the latest.

So! I consider my options: both my immediate neighbours, Jiggs on the left and DingDong on the right, will be away at work all day. Ditto the upstairs neighbours. My next options are Muriel and Margaux, who both live five minutes away by car. Muriel, I know, is busy with her grandson this weekend. That leaves Margaux. She works in New York four days a week, returning to Elsewhere on Thursday night.

I send her a panicked text message. “Food consignment including frozen meats arriving on my doorstep Friday afternoon! Is there any chance you can pick it up, take it home and use it?” She texts back right away. “Of course! Just tell me when it’ll be there!” Oh wonderful. I am radiant with relief. The next day everything goes as planned and that evening Margaux sends me a photograph of the meal she and Michael made and ate.

In my relief, I forget that Saturday follows Friday and that the time to cancel the NEXT delivery is NOW. When I finally recognise my error, it is of course too late once more. Aaaaaargh! This week, Margaux is away in Chicago. But Muriel is home. I send my panic message to her. “No problemo!” she radioes back. On Friday, I wait to hear from FedEx to say they’ve made the delivery, then send Muriel a message. Fifteen minutes later, she messages back: “Mission accomplished! Items safe in freezer.”

I relax once more. The next day is Saturday. This time, I DO remember to cancel the order but I keep delaying until it’s too late once more! Then I remember: I’ll be in Elsewhere next Friday. Yaaay. Panic over, all good.

Manjula Padmanabhan , author and artist, writes of her life in the fictional town of Elsewhere, US, in this weekly column

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Next episode: The black dot

Published on June 02, 2017
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