December 21, 2004

I returned home from Beverly Hills late last Monday to find that the Kitchen-Aid stand mixer I’d ordered had arrived. I’ve managed somehow to survive all these with my mother’s old Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, which may very well have been manufactured before I was, but it has finally begun to die. It is not going gently into that good night; in fact, its raging against the dying of the light has assumed far noisier a tone than one suspects Dylan Thomas’s father ever did. So I was delighted, though not surprised, to see that its replacement had arrived on schedule.

What surprised me was another box, addressed to me by hand with a postmark from Florence, Kentucky. I have never been to Florence, Kentucky–in fact, I have never been to Kentucky–nor am I aware of knowing anybody who lives there. Further investigation turned up evidence even more mystifying: the return address was that of an apartment I lived in three years ago. “What is this about?” I thought. “Could I possibly have invented a way to send packages forward in time and then forgotten all about it? Am I a character in a Philip K. Dick story? Am I about to turn into a paranoid schizophrenic? What on earth is happening? What could this possibly be?”

What it was, in the event, was a beautiful plastic pie protector.

This is what I surmise happened.

Someone who reads my blog and lives in or near Florence, Kentucky

1. was touched by the incompetence I displayed by stepping on the pie I’d made for Thanksgiving dinner and decided to send me a gift that would prevent such a disaster from recurring;

2. looked through the archives to find identifying information and, through judicious googling, figured out my name;

3. used dogpile or some such white pages web site to find my address, but was initially stymied to see two addresses listed under my name;

4. assumed, correctly, that since there were probably not two people with my (rather distinctive) name in New York City, these were my current address and my former address, and hit upon the brilliant plan of sending to one address and using the other address as the return; and

5. sent me an incredibly kind and thoughtful gift–one that I intend to use on Christmas Day to transport the peach pie I’m planning to make for E.S.’s father.

If this is indeed what happened, I would very much appreciate the culprit’s e-mailing me so that I can send him or her a proper thank you.

And if this isn’t what happened, can anybody come up with an alternative explanation?

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22 Responses to I returned home from Beverly

  1. syd says:

    I like the sending-packages-to-oneself-forward-in-time explanation better.

  2. Sparky says:

    I bet it’s someone from Exodus, making the first attempt to win you over.

  3. Jeffrey says:

    I wonder if he/she knows my anonymous correspondent from the Sunshine State.

  4. Manogirl says:

    Is this person a librarian? Because these powers of knowing where to look seem suspiciously librarian-like.

  5. hot toddy says:

    I am impressed. Not just by the amazing intellectual prowess of the gift-giver. The fact that you came up with such a flawless theory amazes me. You are like Angela Lansbury in that one show. What was it? Mannix or Charlie’s Angels or something.

  6. David says:

    Maybe you weren’t really in California at all. Maybe you were in Florence, KY, and you saw a lovely pie protector on sale, and you bought it, and you mailed it to yourself. And maybe when you were on your way back to New York, you were intercepted by UFOs. And maybe when the aliens were done with you, they let you go with altered memories of being in Beverly Hills. But maybe they chose not to interfere with the United States Postal Service (since it’s illegal) and allowed the pie protector to arrive with its mysterioius postmark.

    Just maybe.

  7. sdf says:

    now that everyone knows your addresses….

    is the “…street” one or the “…avenue” the current address? other people want to sent thoughtful gifts too, you know!

  8. sdf says:

    i meant “to send” of course

  9. sdf says:

    sorry to have bothered you, i figured it out. the chances of the “avenue” being the current address is very high… (or am i wrong?).
    no worries, airfare is too hight to stalk you (unless the dollar loses even more against the euro 😉

  10. syd: Me, too.

    Sparky: You actually made the first attempt yourself–and quite successfully, I might add–until you blew it by not letting me arrange the bulbs properly.

    Jeffrey: I suspect s/he actually is your correspondent from the Sunshine State, either cleverly covering his/her tracks or fleeing a murder rap.

    Manogirl: It’s quite possible. I myself used to be a librarian, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Perhaps that’s why I feel a strange kinship with my anonymous benefactor.

    hot toddy: Oh, my God, I was such a huge fan of Murder, She Wrote. Except I found it strange that nobody noticed that wherever Jessica Fletcher went, people died. Did you know that that part was originally written for Jean Stapleton?

    David: Your theory is brilliant and utterly convincing except for one thing: if it happened as you say it did, then where did Liza Minnelli’s autograph come from?

    sdf: The “. . . Street” address is the correct one. I know that “avenue” sounds more glamorous than “street” but in this particular case it’s a pretty low-rent avenue.

  11. hiram says:

    Maybe if you show a picture of a cigarette burn on the arm of a sofa,
    someone will send you a antimacassar.

  12. hiram says:

    An antimacassar! Ack!

  13. sdf says:

    thanks for the info, faustus.
    just hypothetically, would there be a problem if a certain fan from europe would use the strong euro to buy his favourite blogger a nice shiny dvd? and if said dvd would be shipped from canada? is there some kind of tax/customs issue (assuming the value to be below 20$)? you do own a dvd player, don’t you?

  14. sdf, I don’t imagine there’d be a tax/customs problem, and I do own a DVD player–or, more accurately, a computer that I use as a DVD player. My one concern (hypothetically speaking, of course) is that I don’t know whether Canadian DVDs are made to work with American systems or European ones. Though perhaps when one uses one’s computer all international boundaries are erased?

    As you can see, I am something of a dolt about this kind of thing, for which I hope you can forgive me.

  15. sdf says:

    canada and the us both have the same regional code (1) and system (ntsc). the real question is the compatibility of our tastes regarding movies.

    how would you feel about the criterion collection of “the royal tenenbaums”? if you haven’t heard of it, it’s a quirky sad/funny wes anderson movie…

  16. Brian says:

    I think next year you should organize a gay blogger gift exchange in which everyone is randomly assigned another blog, then has to sift through months of material to determine the appropriate gift, full name, and address of the recipient.

    Aren’t you the least bit concerned about this present? First, it’s a pie protector. Then roses. Then photos of you as you travel around Manhattan. Then a pig’s heart with a spike through it.

    And then no one ever hears from you again. I think this is a far more likely scenario than the time travel/self gifting theory.

  17. rob says:

    I think you’re overlooking the obvious explanation.

    The “KitchenAid Mixer” you’ve just received is actually a dimensional warp generator. Tomorrow, when you try to make a nice batch of chocolate chip cookies, inserting the dough hook attachment will activate the warp field (“what’s that switch?”), and send you back to the vicinity of the late 90s. There, struck by the bargains to be had, you will pick up a nice pie protector on Orchard Street, and hurriedly mail it to yourself, knowing full well that the sluggishness of the mails on the Lower East Side give you six to eight years’ leeway before the package actually arrives. You then take time to pen this e-mail:
    … which is how we first meet, when I lend you my old dimensional warp generator in the guise of a Korg tone generator.
    You won’t know this, of course, until you start to make that batch of cookies.

    I need a KitchenAid stand mixer.

  18. David says:

    Ah, but you see, Liza Minnelli is an extraterrestrial! So it all makes sense. As much as any story featuring Liza Minnelli and pie protectors can.

  19. Patrick says:

    My stalker found my link to you from my site and wanted to impress me by having you write about him. (in my fantasy…my stalker is always a him)

  20. Alex says:

    The power of the internet, before long Googlebots will take over the world.

  21. Cara says:

    Pies need protecting: even potential stalkers know what’s up.

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