Last week UPS tried to deliver a package four days running to our house only they delivered it when no one was home. Well, actually that isn’t completely true. The first delivery attempt was late in the afternoon when three family members were around but none were willing to stop doing whatever they were doing to answer the door. Suspicion and paranoia run deeply around my house and any ring of the doorbell is automatically met with furtive, whispered questions about who might be out there, what they could possibly want and the dragging of one’s feet until the doorbell ringer has finally given up and gone away.
Nine times out of ten that isn’t really a bad plan of action since most of the people who darken our doorstep are selling something that no one in their right mind would ever want to buy, but as luck would have it, this time someone was actually ringing the doorbell with a package for one of us.
Since none of us could actually remember ordering anything, I offered to drive out to the local UPS center and pick the package up. This wasn’t completely altruistic on my part since I had a nagging feeling that I might have ordered something off eBay and forgotten about it and I wanted to pick it up before my husband saw it and had the opportunity to ask why in the hell I had ordered more old magazines when our shelves are currently overflowing.
After the clerk at the UPS office took my notice and disappeared to find the package, I allowed myself a few moments of daydreaming that maybe, just maybe, someone had sent one of us (hopefully me) a present. Perhaps deep dish pizza from Chicago or earrings or a juicy novel. I didn’t know who would send me a gift as our list of relatives is short and getting shorter and it isn’t even close to my birthday, but it was nice to think that whatever the clerk was searching for might be a lovely surprise with my name on it.
The clerk returned in a few minutes with a small box—too small to contain all 12 issues of 1965’s Ladies’ Home Journal or deep dish–but definitely large enough for a book or earrings or any other number of delectable delights. He asked to see my identification and while he was studying it, I was reading the label upside down (it amazes me how quickly the brain is able to process things when even the faintest possibility of material gain is present). The return label was a local winery and my hopes shot up about a thousand percent. Someone had sent us, well, obviously ME, a bottle—possibly TWO—of wine! Someone did love me!
The clerk studied my identification for such a long amount of time that I was beginning to think that he was going to challenge me on the weight I had put down when he looked up and said, “Something isn’t right. The name on the box isn’t the same as your name.”
I looked too. Lo and behold, he was right. The address was correct but the name belonged to someone else. Someone else who was going to get one or two bottles of expensive wine instead of me. Feeling like I had just had a Christmas present snatched out of my hands, I looked beseechingly at the clerk.
“Maybe the people at the winery got the name wrong,” I tried. “After all, that is my address.”
He shook his head. “I can’t give it to you. Sorry.”
He was sorry? I’d just wasted my lunch break driving to get a present that wasn’t for me. It wouldn’t have been so bad if said present was a box from a military surplus store or had a return address from a tool factory but a winery? That was plain cruel.
Driving away I realized that even though no one had sent me a present, somebody did love me: me. With that thought I pulled into the first liquor store I saw and bought my own damn wine.