Return to Sender

Not really sure when it started, because it didn’t really bother me at first, but here we are. I guess if you’re already deleting seventy spam messages a day, and if you can’t identify the origin of a couple of them, who’s to say you didn’t sign up for those as well? I think I noticed that someone was using my email the first time I got a receipt for something I didn’t buy. I think it was nutritional supplements or some other snake oil that I would never in a million years buy, and the email chirpily told me that I’d earned MegaSuperZoom Points toward my next bucket of whey protein or whatever. Who buys that shit? I shrugged it off, but then the next day the email was back, suggesting that I might want some fish oil to go with my glucosamine and chondroitin and ginko biloba. I searched for the unsubscribe button, but it was missing. My palms went slick thinking that I couldn’t escape the barrage of emails, but then I noticed the link to log into “my” account. Log In. Forgot Password? A link has been sent. There it is. Click. New Password? Preferences. Email. None. And done. The muscles in my jaw relaxed and I moved on with my life.

Then I got the schedule for my non-existent kids’ Vacation Bible School, and on behalf of my dead Bubbe, I kvetched. I called the church tout-de–suite and told some office shiksa that she’s got the wrong person and that someone else should be getting those emails. She had the gall to ask me if I wanted to bring my own children in to Vacation Bible School and I said that unless they were willing to find me a nice Jewish boy to settle down with who was willing to go out on more than a couple dates – oh, and skip the entirety of the New Testament – that just wouldn’t be possible. She said she’d pray for me and I stabbed the little red button on my cell to end the call.  The nerve.

I guess my teeth were already set on edge when I got the receipt for the shoes I didn’t order. And by then I was just looking for some way to get back at this person who kept giving out my email every time someone asked for theirs, so I dialed customer service, gave them the order confirmation number, and told them that I’d entered my address incorrectly and hadn’t caught it before submitting the order. The call center drone didn’t seem to care that I got the city, state and street incorrect, and the shoes arrived a couple days later. I regifted them to a coworker, suddenly fearful that they might be cursed.

Later, Crystal Lake Orthodontics sent me an appointment reminder, and I cancelled it, the schadenfreude warming my chest as I imagined the moment when my unknown nemesis arrived at the office only to be told that the appointment had been filled and little Sidney wouldn’t be able to have her braces tightened until sometime the following week. I have no regrets.

The hotel reservation almost got cancelled too, but I suddenly thought better of that. I hadn’t ever been to Colorado and although staying in an alpine lodge seemed a bit like something out of The Shining, I decided I could make it work. A prepaid voucher would have been nice because I could have just changed the dates and had a nice vacation on my own, but it was just a confirmation with dates and the name the reservation was under. So I booked my own reservation, asking for a room adjacent to the ones that had already been booked. I banged on the walls all night the first night. The second night, I fought with myself in voices. There’s really not a lot hotel managers can do about that sort of thing. They show up, they ask you to shut up; you explain that you’ve been hearing the same things and haven’t been able to sleep either and thought it was coming from the room nextdoor, ask if you can fill out a satisfaction survey, threaten to put it in your Instagram story, and they have to leave you alone. The third night, just as the temperature dipped into the teens in the wee hours of the morning, I loaded up my car, put on a parka, and – on my way to the airport – pulled the fire alarm. I won’t say it was my proudest moment. But it was damn near close.

And of course what brought me here was when the title company emailed you, well me, to confirm the closing on your new house here in Haddonfield. Maybe we could have avoided all of this if I had just written to you years ago when I had your old address after that shoe delivery, or if I had asked the orthodontist to make you learn your own email address so that you’d stop giving mine out. But I didn’t, and I guess I’ve had fun in the meantime, so I should thank you for that. And I think I’m going to enjoy this too. Now hold still.






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