This afternoon, the dogs and I were in the driveway circling around the biggest box that has arrived at our house in a decade.
It is one of those packages that, even if light, you couldn’t possibly pick up because no one has that kind of arm span. It is almost perfectly square and the white pallet straps have bitten into the cardboard in a few areas. When one of the sweet neighbor boys rode past on his bike, he couldn’t help but ask, “What’s inside that thing anyways?”
The UPS man had delivered it rather stealthily and, frankly, I didn’t blame him. I can imagine with deliveries of this sort, there are plenty of requests from recipients for help, requests that start with “Do you think you could just …” and include the words “dolly” and “stairs.”
So, Tilly, Fitz and I were on our own circling this behemoth and Fitz, at least, was doubtful we were ever getting it inside.
The box contained the Camp Chef Woodwind WIFI 24 Pellet Grill and SmokePro BBQ Sear Box. Looking at it kind of made me want to Neanderthal-grunt in that jokey way Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor did in that show “Home Improvement,” a show that I am absolutely positive hasn’t aged well.
Either way, this box felt like it had nothing to do with me. Except it did. Because I was the one who had pushed for this purchase.
It happened one warm night out on the screened-in porch. It had been an especially long pandemic day. I had become so boring that my idea of conversation was telling my brother Matthew that I had no idea what I was going to do with the pork belly we have in the freezer.
Matthew, yawning, told me flatly to make bacon. Then he told me he needed to go.
So, when I should have been writing, I started researching smokers to do just that. And by the time my husband William got home from slaving away at work, I was practically bouncing off the walls, positive that this purchase was going to save our pandemic lives.
I’m not sure if William ended up getting bitten by the smoker bug too or if he just realized that telling me no would unleash a despondent, defeated me, but within an hour, we were sharing our credit card information on the Camp Chef website.
If any of you have also made rather large, on-the-spot pandemic purchases, you’ll also have been educated on where supply and demand stand in summer 2020.
While companies appear to be selling items, and they’re happy to take your money, they don’t actually have anything in stock right now. Six days later, when I had started checking the front door every hour for smoker delivery, I received an email instead informing me that our order was on backorder. And they couldn’t, at this time, tell me how long it was going to be before our smoker would materialize.
Three thoughts came of this:
- I was clearly not the only one in America who thought buying a smoker right now was a good idea, so points for me on my good idea.
- Did we really need a smoker after all? Or did we maybe need to buy kayaks instead?
- Amazon and others had completely obliterated any threshold I have for waiting for things.
It was the third thought that stuck with me the most. Because I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been told that I couldn’t have something right away — or at least be told it would be on its way soon.
And didn’t that make me an incredibly hungry, hungry consumer hippo.
I decided to get Zen about my Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor smoker and remind myself that waiting has its virtues. It would remind me that the market is not, actually, just sitting there waiting to cater to me. It would give me a chance to actually learn about the age-old art of smoking meat. It would make me extra excited when I took receipt of our purchase.
The delay would spawn gratitude, perspective, education.
And I have to say, all of those things actually did happen.
But when The Box arrived, dear readers, I was ready to Neanderthal-grunt while tearing that thing open to see what was what. Tilly was practically spinning like a top at the prospect.
Except it was too big for any of us to move.
And so, I wait again. I wait still.
And I learn another pandemic lesson.