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Remember when, for two weeks in December, the truck pulled up in front of the house to deliver that package from the grandparents?  That was such a special moment where the plain box with strange writing in your name on the outside. What was inside? If it was Christmas, inside only delivered more mystery in the form of a gaily wrapped package. There might have been other deliveries through the year, some mail order, but maybe only one. Fast forward to the 21st Century.

With online shopping the next book, tool, appliance, or piece of furniture is a few clicks away from a new and complex series of actions that results in the truck, the uniform, the doorbell, and the plain but exotic box. Usually I buy something online and then forget it until the package arrives. “What’s this?” is the usual comment. “Oh yeah.” Still it’s a pleasant surprise to find the package on the doorstep.

If I am home the ritual is preceded by the roar of the truck being shifted into reverse and engaging a backup bell. The drivers cannot turn around in our driveway and they back in so they can leave easily and quickly. Back up bell, brakes, door slides shut, doorbell, then “plop” as the box is deposited on the ground. If I am lucky I can get to the door and say “thank you” to the brown-uniformed driver jogging away. She is usually the same driver and I’ve only seen her back. On her route we are at the end, after 6 p.m. Sometimes there is a signature – electronic and illegible – but most of the time it’s just “plop.”

But in this century the boxes tend to be of standard size with computerized writing that is almost too small to read. The boxes are disappointingly light with an abundance of styrofoam or inflated padding. A book in an envelope is kind of a hefty treat.

This week there will be two deliveries, the new Roku box and a stand-up accessory for a computer desk. It’s not the same as Christmas ca. 1959, but it’s still fun. Maybe there will be deliveries I have forgotten about. Oh boy!

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