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Tuesday 8th July 2003

My box ordeal is over.
Or so it seems.

Ironically on a day when I had even more boxes than usual in my house as my first consignment of new furniture had been delivered.

Bernard the removal man rang me this evening to say the box lady had finally been in touch with him. The penny had dropped. She realised what she had to do to get the boxes. It was so simple.

Bernard said "She's been giving you some problems then" and I wondered if he'd been reading this diary and had seen my (mainly false and certainly slight) accusations against him. I am paranoid enough already without having this stupid blog-like-thing adding to my fears that I am in the midst of some Truman Show like experiment.

You should see the stuff that I think and don't write on here.

And the things that happen that I never tell you.

Of course, if I'm in the Truman show, then you already do.

The scales of sanity are finely balanced at the moment, it won't take much to tip them. One more box should do it

Anyway, back to my box-based life.

Bernard and the box woman had come to an understanding (in fact he's going to do her move for her as well, the cunning fox) and he asked when she could come round to get the boxes.
"Any time she wants" I cried, "I just want the boxes and the box woman and any other person with an interest in boxes which exceeds normal box interest (ie any one who is interested in boxes at all) out of my life forever!"
That's right. That's exactly what I said. Especially the bit in brackets. I said that even more than the other bits.
"How many boxes are there?" asked Bernard, thinking of the tens of pounds he was about to make.
"Fifty," I said, "Fifty boxes."
I could hear him mentally make the calculation. "That's fifty pounds," he thought, "I am rich beyond my wildest dreams."
But outwardly he remained cool, "Fifty boxes. In good condition?"
"I have never seen fifty better boxes," I lied, "At least not all in one room."

I hoped that she'd wait til tomorrow. I had lots to write about for today and I didn't want to have to bin that great stuff in order to complete this box odyssey, which certainly needed closure.
I knew she wouldn't wait.
I knew how hard it had been to wait so long.
I was surprised that my doorbell didn't ring the minute I put the phone down after talking to Bernard, like it would in some shitty sit-com.

In fact the doorbell wouldn't ring for almost sixty minutes.

When it did ring, I was on the toilet. I was in the middle of things and I wasn't going to leave something unfinished just so this box-vampire (not a vampire that lives in a box, that's all of them. No, a vampire that eats boxes instead of blood. Who rips the boxes and ingests the box dust that comes out of the box and hangs in the air, so that when you breath in you can taste box on your tongue).

NB At no point am I using box as a rude Shakesperian pun in this entry. It is important that you understand that.

The bell rang again. "Give me the boxes that are rightfully mine, give me the precious boxes, oh how I desire my union with them," the box lady didn't cry.
Let's face it, it might not have been the box lady at the door. I didn't go to look.

Let's face it, it was though.

In the time that my defecation had bought me, I boxed up all the boxes (which had been flattened) into three big boxes that my dining room chairs had come in. If this woman wanted boxes, she was going to get them. Also I was going to get rid of three extra unwieldy boxes and there was nothing she would be able to do. I was going to give her boxes til they were coming out of her ears. I was going to make her as sick of boxes as I was.

She managed to wait another hour or so before returning. This time I was not in the toilet, so I answered the door. "You've come for the boxes?" I asked, "I've got them all boxed up for you. How do you like that? Boxes in boxes."
Even she, with her great box expectations, couldn't quite believe her eyes. All those boxes.
"I've also got some other boxes that my garden furniture came in. You can have those boxes too if you want."
"These are extra to the fifty pounds for the fifty boxes?" she asked nervously.
"No," I responded gleefully, hoping I might finally make her understand, "The extra boxes are all free. They are my own boxes. These boxes inside the boxes don't belong to me.They belong to Bernard. That's why I couldn't give them to you. But the new boxes are mine and you can have them. If all the boxes were mine I would have given them to you straight away. Do you understand now?"
She wasn't listening. Or maybe I didn't say it out loud. It's hard to tell with the box madness that has descended upon me. She looked at the boxes from the garden furniture uneasily. She wasn't sure she wanted them. There were just so many boxes.
All these weeks her box greed had fuelled her very existence. She couldn't imagine a scenario where she could have too many boxes. She wanted all the boxes in the world. But faced with boxes in boxes and then some other boxes that wouldn't even fit in the boxes or indeed fit in the boxes in the boxes (obviously if they wouldn't fit in the boxes the boxes were in) she saw too late that it was possible to have too many boxes.That loads and loads of boxes wouldn't make you happy (like you'd think) and that in a way a man with only one box, (or indeed with no boxes, no interest in boxes and some friends) would be happier than the man whose house was piled from floor to ceiling with boxes.
"I'll get my husband to get the boxes," she said. But not before telling me all about the people who lived in the house before me, in a lot of detail and prying into my life. I don't think she even wanted the boxes at all. She just wanted someone to talk to.

Her husband was soon over. I looked in his eyes. He was as sick of the boxes as me. He'd had to live with it 24 hours a day for over a month. And I had felt sorry for myself. There are none so blind as those who have so many boxes that they get in the way so it is difficult to see things.
Apart from blind people. Who are possibly the most blind of all.

We took the boxes down the road. They were gone.
"Do you want the extra boxes?" I asked.
"I don't think we'll need them," he replied.
Was he being tentative? Did he think his box obsessed wife would scould him for his remark?
He looked at her. She clearly agreed. She realised she had too many boxes already.
They left.
The box madness was over.

I ripped the extra boxes to pieces and put them in bags for recycling. The box dust went into my nose and I could taste it on the back of my tongue.

For one second I missed my boxes and thought of what might have been.

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