A month or so ago, realizing that the baking hot Tucson summer was around the corner, I conceived of the idea to purchase a garment or two that might be suitable for months during which the temperature reliably hits 110.

Though this will be my fourth summer here, I hadn’t quite gotten around to acquiring a suitable May-October wardrobe. I make do, to be sure. But my taste runs to monochrome–green-gray, smoke gray, ash gray, lichen, algae, black. I tend “always to be cold” and though, at my age diaphonous is hardly the look to strive for, even I could see I needed to lighten up somehow.

And so, momentarily buoyed by caffeine, I thought to buy a sort of dressing gown, something bright and gay, in which I pictured myself swanning about enjoying the morning sun, answering emails, and researching yet another artist who lived “outside the grid.”

The upshot was that I ordered I guess you’d call it a robe off Etsy from some guy in India. Purcahsed April 18, due to arrive between April 25 and 29. Great! No problem.

I ordered so many books in the meantime that I almost forgot about my exciting sartorial purchase. Suddenly, the other day, I thought, Hey where’s my DRESSING GOWN?? So I went online, tracked the package, and found it had been mailed but had also apparently been stuck somewhere above an ocean for three weeks.

So I messaged the guy, Zahir I’ll call him. “My item was supposed to be delivered by April 29: it’s now May 11 and it’s showing still in transit…somewhere. Is there a problem with the shipping?”

Zahir messaged back several hours later: “I’ll check.” “Thank you!” I messaged back (might as well stay on his good side). “Welcome,” wrote Zahir.

Then I didn’t hear anything for 48 hours. So I wrote back, “Hey there, asking for the second time, where is my item?”

Another day passed. No response.

Unh-oh, I thought, and requested a refund.

This morning two messages arrived. The first read, “Your Parcel Is On The Way Please Wait.” The second said, “Please Be Patience Your Parcel Is On The Way.”

Underneath was one of those little tracking timelines showing “Item shipped May 14!” followed by “Estimated Delivery April 25 to April 29” (i.e. the original estimated delivery dates)–which, if it comes to pass, will be a very interesting time-space inversion…

Be patience. I liked Zahir’s style! Keep your shirt on, girlfriend, I imagined him thinking, the thing’s coming, sooner or later.

Had he been lying on his hammock under his own broiling sun taking a nap all this time and finally realized it was time to shuffle over to his ancient sewing machine and get cracking? Was he taking the robe off his dead granny at that very moment and (I hope) giving it a bit of a wash? Was the poor man so inundated with orders he had difficulty keeping them straight? Did he run a sweatshop staffed by the underpaid and the overworked? (As you can see, I have read far too many subcontinent-based novels).

Was he just moving to a different time-table than me/the generally accepted mores of international commerce/the West?

Whatever the case, I love the idea of my colorful little robe coming all the way, God only knows how, from India to Tucson. I love imagining the life of the guy who’s sending (if not making) it.

Be patience. Your parcel has shipped. The Paraclete is on its way. Wait.

9 Replies to “BE PATIENCE”

  1. Anonymous says: Reply

    I wondered about the obvious typo, Heather — be patience instead of be patient. Good lesson here. Also, relatable.

  2. Anne Mallampalli says: Reply

    Sparkling! Love it.

  3. Anonymous says: Reply

    Heather, I have been reading your books and articles for quite a while, but haven’t yet emailed you or commented. I just want to say that this brought me joy and laughter and I love the lightness of it. I hope your robe arrives soon and that it keeps you cool. God bless you and keep you. You have a beautiful gift of writing.

    1. MaryAnn Rousseau says: Reply

      Hi Heather What a wonderful story! Just what I needed to help me relax and smile. You are a gifted writer, found your essays in the Magnificat and subscribed to your website. Looking forward to you receiving your colorful robe. God bless. MaryAnn

  4. Ingrid Christensen says: Reply

    Oh my goodness, you can make a delayed shipping story entertaining! Thank you!

  5. Anonymous says: Reply

    All of the above are probably true. Such a chuckle- I can see the hammock swinging…I, too, need to “be patience”. Thank you always.

  6. I must see this non-diaphanous gown!

  7. I had been saving: “What happened when I sought first the kingdom”, article to savor it at a later time. I’m glad I didn’t wait because in it was: “BE PATIENCE”, (I hate waiting for delivery!!!) which I found on point about our new shopping mall, the ‘World Wide Web’!!! I’m sure the gown will look marvelous, thank you Heather for my entertainment.

  8. HEATHER KING says: Reply

    Ha ha, so glad you all got a kick out of this–I spend so much time on my weekly column, travel planning, admin etc that it’s a treat just to sit down and write a slice-of-life piece like this. I will keep you all posted and let you know when and if my garment arrives! Thanks for the good wishes and support…


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