It’s twelve o’clock in the arvo, and I’m sauntering along a path next to a busy road, trying to look as though I belong here.
I finally spot my prize, number 128. A rather plain looking building, I shrug and trot up the stairs to the sliding door, still trying to look as though I’m in control of the situation, something I’m very quickly about to lose.
The glass sliding doors block my way, and though the sensor above the door clicks in recognition, it doesn’t open to admit me.
Am I too short? This has happened before.
Just as I’m about to try an alternative route of entry, the box next to the door (which I thought was a letter box) speaks to me.
“How can I help?”
I approach the little white box nervously; I’ve never ever used an intercom before. Dubiously, I press the only button present on the box and speak.
“Um… I’m here to pick up a parcel.”
I release the button and wait. The reply comes back less than impressed.
“Can you say that again without holding the buzzer down this time?”
I yank my finger away from the button as though I’m burned. Glaring at it, I speak into just the speaker this time.
“I’m here to pick up something.”
“Who told you it was here?”
I struggle to remember the name from the message.
The box goes silent and I’m sure I’ve answered incorrectly. But then…
“Who left the parcel?”
Geez, what is this? Fort Knox?
“Uh… Fru Chocs?” I feel like a moron.
“Come on in, Renee.” They knew who I was the whole time! Bastards!
The bugger of a door clicks again, but this time slides open smoothly to admit me. I step into the foyer, having a squizz about to see where I’m supposed to go next.
I spy the reception, which is through another pair of doors. I stride over to them (getting my control back) and try to push them open, as the little sticker tells me to.
Another box berates me.
“Wait for the beep please.”
I immediately stop trying to shove the doors open. The door beeps obediently and I’m able to open it.
“Have you got ID on you?” The lady behind the desk asks, and I realise she is the voice of the box.
I dig my student card from my wallet. All this for a box of Fru Chocs (it’s totally worth it).
She scrutinizes the card, eventually deciding to accept it.
“Here you are.” She dumps the small white box into my arms.
I leave the room after waiting for the beep. Turns out this place is as hard to get out of as it is to get in.
But I now have a box of Fru Chocs, so it was all worth it.