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July 17, 2002
The worldwide conspiracy of postcards
Q. Why is it that you can only buy postcards from where you are right now?
A. It's a conspiracy.
And I'm not talking about a loose, badly organised collective, with strangely worded objectives involving miscellaneous wrongdoing. No, this is a highly orchestrated, worldwide conspiracy. You know: That Kind of Conspiracy.
Postcards are a problem for the indecisive traveller. If you take too long to decide which postcard to buy, the one you want may be unavailable. By the time you've decided, you can be hundreds of miles away from the only place in the world that sells them.
I was in Esfahan, in Iran, and seriously considering buying some postcards. There were a couple of nice ones available, but nothing that really grabbed me. After several minutes of indecision I decided to come back when I'd thought about it some more.
The next day I took a bus to Shiraz. It was a long bus ride, but that was fine. It gave me plenty of time to think about which postcard I liked.
When I got to Shiraz I was tired. It was a fifteen-hour bus ride, and it lacked somewhat for comfort. But I shrugged that off and went shopping. I'd decided which postcard of Esfahan I wanted, and went off to buy a few copies.
All my endeavours were met with crushing, humiliating failure. The Worldwide Conspiracy of Postcards saw to that.
"No Esfahan postcards here," I was told. "Only Shiraz postcards. Nice Shiraz postcards. Very, very nice postcards. You like?"
No, I did not like. To get the postcard I wanted I would have to travel hundreds of miles back to Esfahan. All of a sudden I realised the awful, sickening truth: you can only buy postcards from wherever you happen to be. If you want a postcard from somewhere else, you have to physically go there. Even if it takes a fifteen-hour bus ride, or a transcontinental train journey, or a hot air balloon trip halfway round the world.
But this kind of inconvenience is exactly what the Worldwide Conspiracy of Postcards would like to put you through. It hampers you. It restricts your options. It's evil. It's demonic. It's just plain wrong.
Anyway, so I told my engineering friend about this ...
... and he went away and invented the internet.
The site's not live yet, but we've formed ourselves a little company. Look for us at www.postcards-from-all-over-the-world-including-several-nice-ones-from-esfahan.comPosted by Sean Hegarty at 05:14 PM in the Wandering category | Comments (0)
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