Circumnavigating Part 5: Separation Anxiety

Penguin in London (less useful than in Hawaii).

I’m video chatting with Jackie and she says, “Wouldn’t it be funny if you took your board all over Europe and you didn’t have it in Hawaii?”

Yes, Jac, that would be hilarious. And I would cry. And it is a real possibility.

I arrange for a courier to retrieve my board in Pottsville and deliver it to Jon’s house in Coogee. Supposedly, it will take two days. Supposedly they will pick it up tomorrow. At the end of tomorrow, Rita texts to inform me that nobody came for the board. I call the company from Canberra and they say, “Well, let me just call the driver and get back to you in a few minutes.”

An hour later, as their office is about to close, I still haven’t heard back. When I call, I ask for Mike (the guy I talked to before) and the woman says, “Ah yes, I think he mentioned you.”


“Let me check if it was picked up,” says entirely unhelpful Mike.

“I can tell you that it wasn’t.”

“Yes, the driver said he didn’t have time and it will definitely be picked up tomorrow.”

“Okay, great thank you.”

The following day, I have a very similar conversation.

Like four days later, I’m in Sydney and leaving the country very, very soon. I have talked to the shipping company countless times in the last week and a half. I’m finallllyyy notified that the board will be in Coogee on April 5th. My flight to Kauai is on the 6th; if I fuck this up, I really won’t have a board in Hawaii.

As it’s a weekday, both Jon and Danny are working. I no longer have keys to the apartment. Furthermore, I have no idea what time to expect this delivery, and I definitely have to sign for it. How could I possibly botch this?

I show up pre-noon and set up camp in front of the building with a book, trying not to think about what might happen if I need to use the bathroom and undoubtedly looking suspect.

When I start to feel a little too shady (like, after a couple of moms walk by with their children and avoid eye contact) and my back begins to hurt from reading while perched on a brick wall, I relocate to the garage/entryway area. Aside from the obvious UV protection and walls for me to lean against, the entry has the added bonus of being invisible from the street. On the down side, I’m now lurking immediately outside of the door, which may or may not be even dodgier. I dread the moment when a resident catches me and I have to explain myself (hopefully they abstain from calling the authorities). Thankfully, an hour passes without any such incidents.

Then, I hear someone walking up the driveway. I try to appear innocent. She approaches the door, hovers for a minute, and then walks back out to the driveway, kind of ignoring me. Major relief. Then she’s back. She asks if I live in the building. Oh, merde. I relay the situation through a fog of anxiety. She takes it in and says, “Oh, well, my roommate’s locked me out and I am wondering if I can break in through that window.”

“Just there,” she points. “It’s the kitchen.”

My tension immediately dissipates. Here I am, feeling like a criminal just for using this edifice to reclaim my favorite possession, and this girl is actually breaking and entering.

She drags an enormous rubbish bin out from the garage, appraises its sturdiness, and asks if I’d mind holding it steady.

“Not at all,” I offer, probably too eagerly.

Everyone I mention this to later says, “Uhh, you may have just helped her in a legitimate crime. How do you know she actually lives there?”

Well, I don’t. But she seems nice enough. I figure at the very worst, she’s going to smash up her ex’s flat screen or something.

Shortly after she wriggles in through the narrow window, the delivery guy shows up with el pinguino. I wish the could-be-burglar well, ecstatically sign for it and lug it back to The Rocks.

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One thought on “Circumnavigating Part 5: Separation Anxiety

  1. […] Back in Melbourne, I finally arrange to have my board shipped from Pottsville to Coogee. This will prove to be much more difficult than I thought. […]


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