2011, The Year of the Weird. Part 1: The Misplaced Package. or, How I came to start checking every box before opening it and met a neighbor.

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Summary: After the snow-storm turned everything to pause, it was good to get some semblance of play back in our lives. Like packages that had been held up in Nashville for four extra days. Except when I got the packages, there was one extra. And that's why you always check the box...

BLOT: (18 Jan 2011 - 02:42:26 PM)

2011, The Year of the Weird. Part 1: The Misplaced Package. or, How I came to start checking every box before opening it and met a neighbor.

Since 2011 has had one of the weirdest and, some might might say, most-stressful opening fortnights of any year I can recall, I thought I would start early and chronicle all the weird crap that is going down. I'm about to fire up Electric Wizard's new CD—Black Masses—and start you off with the one involving the least physical or property damage.

The snow-storm that caused me to get a bonus, and believe it or not unwelcome, additional week off work and school also held up some packages I had ordered. They were stuck in Nashville for a couple of days and then, when they got to Huntsville, they never got delivered because the trucks would get recalled before they got out this far. Finally, something like four days late, they showed up. A stack of them (Amazon sometimes sends a ton of little packages rather than one big one). I tore into them. Gleefully. Got this or that weird fiction anthology. A book for school. A couple of Roger Corman DVDs. Not lots, but ample joyous loot. Even a kooky old British thing involving bad special effects and a time traveling hobo. And a huge box of razors. Textbooks. Weird fiction. Doctor Who DVDs. Schlock movies. And razors. I'll give you one guess which of those things was not like the other.

Turns out that one, and only one, of the small packages in the middle of the stack was not addressed to me. Since another package had had a single DVD in a box three times too big for it, I assumed this small and mostly empty box was another of the same. It wasn't. It was someone else's altogether. Suck. Now I have someone's package. I don't know them. I had opened it (and thank God it wasn't A Necrophile's Guide to Pleasure* or The Notebook). It was about 11pm at night, so too late to immediately correct it. We had gotten the packages about 8:30pm, but then had left without opening them so that we could run an errand or two (partially to get out of the apartment before we went crazy). I was heading to campus the next day about 7:30am. Too early to correct it, then. Damnation.

Do I leave it with a note? "Sorry for opening your razors, aren't you glad it wasn't The Da Vinci Code and really embarrassing?" Restuffed boxes? Isn't that something bombs can come in? Do I sign the note, or leave it anonymous and make it reeeeeallly creepy? Do I leave the note out all together and try to make it look like a UPS whoopsie, just another mistake by a big company at trying times to put into your pocket and forget about?**

In the end, I decided to hold on to it until the next day and then take it back about 6:30pm, after work. Except of course she checked her status online and found it had been "signed for" and wondered who in the hell had her package. She called UPS, and apparently dude was all "Oh, yeah, William Bolden signed for it" or something to that effect. She goes "And?" and that was that. Calls the apartment office who calls me, and then we have a weird phone exchange where I relay messages to her through them, and vice versa. Finally, we work it out: she'll come by about 6:30 or 7:00pm and pick it up. And, despite being late, that's what happened. I apologized a half-dozen times (made even weirder because she is a student at UAH, and I had spent all day at the library getting things done...some sort of patron-librarian violation).

The final weird of the whole thing is while I had little reason to be embarrassed in the "consciously did wrong" sense of the word, I was probably more mortified than her. The package was thankfully innocuous. She was friendly rather than filled with rage. There was a good reason why I didn't realize it wasn't for me. Still, I felt like crap for it. Maybe I'm just picturing my lovely, lovely Deathrace 2000 ending up in someone else's hands?

* For those who find themselves Twi-curious.

** Which, to ape Anton Chigurh, it was.

LABEL(s): Me in 2011


Written by Doug Bolden

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