There’s something cozy about tracking a package and knowing it left St. Clairsville, Ohio, eleven minutes ago.
Where is this St. Clairsville and does it have a comfortable coffee shop or diner? (I could google this but why spoil the wondering?) Do the package handlers working the overnight shift — the ones who helped my package depart the facility just 35 minutes after it arrived from Sharonville, Ohio — stop at a 7-Eleven or Sheetz for coffee on their way to or from the warehouse?
In the split second that they’re handling that package, do they judge me harshly for having ordered an item from Hammacher Schlemmer, even though it’s a down-to-Earth white-noise machine that received 4.5 out of a possible five stars and one of the reviewers said his has done a great job ever since he received it from his grandma 30 years ago?
St. Clairsville isn’t the only place name that conjures romantic images of a package being trucked, scanned, sorted and trucked again over the highways in the wee hours. There’s Sharonville and Maumee, Ohio, and, in Nevada, there’s Reno and Fernley and Sparks. From Compton, Calif., to Elkridge, Md., they’re shipping and scanning.
Perhaps they always were shipping and handling in those places. Now, though, we can follow that pair of sandals or white-noise machine on its journey and know almost exactly when to stand at the door, welcoming its arrival. Perhaps it’s not as wondrous as the old Pony Express, or hearing a train conductor call out “Schenectady!” — but it’s something. Just two more days, little white-noise machine.