Monday, February 14, 2005

you've got mail (not necessarily your own)

about a month and a half ago, my dad started receiving junk mail at my address. this was strange enough, because my father has never lived in south carolina, and, to the best of my knowledge, has not even set foot in the state for about 3 1/2 years. first, the mail started as a trickle of credit cards offers. then random catalogs started filling up my mailbox. the final insult was when he started getting address labels with my address on them. I DONT EVEN GET ADDRESS LABELS WITH MY ADDRESS ON THEM! so, i did the rational thing and gave him a website to go to (, i believe it was), to fill out an online "change of address" form. i figured once that was taken care of, all would be right with the world. sometimes, i'm really naive.

one of those official confirmation cards from the postal service arrived in my mailbox a couple of weeks later (along with dad's "midwest living" subscription offer). i glanced at it, saw that it was marked "individual only", checked to make sure the mail would be forwarded to the proper place (his address for the last 12 1/2 years), and tossed it into the recycling pile. next time, i'll hang on to such a vital piece of paperwork. about two weeks after that, dad's mail stopped showing up in my mailbox. unfortunately, all of my mail went with it. my roommate's mail disappeared, too- though we still haven't worked out where it wound up. (that's okay- his last name isn't even remotely resembling either mine or my dad's, which are one and the same, so i have a hard time working out why his mail was redirected, too.)

after four days without mail, i got an email from my dad, thanking me for the subscriptions to vogue and spin, as my magazines were now showing up at his place. i called the local post office about five minutes after i opened that email. the lady on the line assured me that the change of address had indeed been marked "individual", and therefore my mailman must have taken it upon himself to right the perceived wrong and forward everything. i'm still not sure how to thank him. i called my dad that evening, told him i'd set things straight and that a note had been scribbled out to our mailman letting him know that only his (dad, not mailman) mail should be forwarded and everyone else should be left alone. dad's reply? "your credit card and electric bills showed up today." uh, can you send those back before both my electricity and line of credit are shut off, please? thanks.

when we went to the apartment office to renew our lease a couple of days later, i asked the assistant manager if she could have a talk with the guy, as we'd gotten our mail (including dad's) one day, fiollowed by nothing the next. as the ink on our lease dried, i scribbled out a note to put in the mailbox that plainly stated the roommate and i still inhabited the apartment, and dad did not. (i even named names, including all of my aliases, just to clarify for this bright spark.) when i showed up to pay the rent a few days after that, i was told the mailman claimed that "family" was checked on the forwarding order. (which, i suppose, is why our mail continued to be all or nothing for the rest of the week.)as i passed the mailman on my way home, i thought about pulling him aside and explaining the situation in words of one syllable, but didn't think i could be polite....and didn't want to ruin his "newspaper reading" time.

so, i suppose, a month and a half after all this started, we are getting back to normal. there's generally mail in the mailbox, though at least half is dad's....which he wants forwarded, by the way. in fact, i scribbled "not at this address! please forward to:...." on about twenty priceless pieces of mail that had built up and shoved them all in the "outgoing" mail slot this afternoon. i haven't checked my mailbox yet this evening, but i wouldn't be surprised to find the entire stack back in there. (actually, i almost look forward to it, because then i can call the post office again and rant and rave and tear somebody a new one and maybe even help this guy to the unemployment line.)

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