Tag Archives: scofflaw

Lame Adventure 293: Missing Magazine Crusader

Most days at work I collect the mail in the first floor in-basket.  Most of the mail is addressed to my boss, Elsbeth.  A week or two ago I noticed the April issue of Harper’s magazine in our in-basket.

April issue of Harper's magazine.

It was not addressed to Elsbeth but I figured that Stu, her husband and the company founder, put it there intentionally.  It’s not my style to question what motivates him to do what he does as I am sure he welcomes my indifference.  Yet, had he left a live hand grenade in our in-basket I still might not have questioned Stu himself, but I would have been compelled to ask one of his Yes Men about that along with enforcing a dictate of my own:

Me:  One of you guys bring that up to her.

When I would reach my office wearing my Minister of Watch Dogging chapeau, I would go straight to my Lord and Master yapping:

Me:  Hey Elsbeth, one of Stu’s Yes Men is coming up here with a live hand grenade for us.  Do we really want that on our floor?

Questions like that to my superior either emit a twenty second long sigh of extreme annoyance or a short, sharp outburst:

Elsbeth:  No!

Apparently, the April issue of Harper’s that was passed onto her was not intended for us. Almost two weeks after I retrieve it Elsbeth asks me:

Elsbeth:  Would you like this issue of Harper’s?

I avert my gaze from the pigeon on the sill that appears to be mocking me and turn my attention to my chief.

Ha, ha, ha, I'm outside in the sun and you're behind bars!

Elsbeth:  The letter carrier delivered it to us by mistake.

The alarm bells ring in my head.

Me:  Sure.

Elsbeth hands me the magazine and returns to her office, satisfied that I accept her offering but I have a hidden agenda.  I look at the address label.  It was meant for a guy named David who resides two doors down from my company.  Every so often, the magazines I subscribe to, all with New York in the title – The New Yorker, New York Magazine and Time Out New York, go missing.  I have called my post office about this and complained.  As they insist that I did receive my issue of New York, I have to remind them that I want to know what happened to my missing copy of The New Yorker.  I have also directly confronted my letter carrier, a very nice woman when encountered face to face, but a side of me wonders if she would love to posit this question to my kisser:

My Very Nice Letter Carrier:  You crazy bitch, why the hell do you have to subscribe to every fuckin’ magazine in the world with New York in the title?

Yet, my letter carrier has made a better effort to deliver my magazines in recent months, but when an issue does go missing, if she happens to stick it in the wrong mailbox, does the neighbor that gets it keep it?  If so, I think that exploiting her mistake for personal gain is theft.  Therefore, I cannot in good conscience keep David’s issue of Harper’s.  If I can return his magazine to him, maybe someone that gets one of my misdelivered magazines will finally do a first in my building, in the almost 30 years I’ve resided there, grow a solitary brain cell of consideration and return it to me, the rightful owner.  The cynic in me, that coincidentally happens to be about 98% of my person, thinks I will sooner be the lynchpin that brokers peace in the Middle East on my lunch hour before that ever happens.

Back to David, I don my Detective Cap, type his name and address in Google, hit the enter key, and voila, I discover his email address.

I share the situation with my Special Someone.

SS: Give it back to your mail carrier.  Let them deal with it.

Me: Trust the incompetent mail carrier that caused this crisis?  I’d sooner give it to the Taliban.  Of course, those Neanderthals would probably use it as kindling.

I send David an email:

Hi David,

It appears that your April edition of Harper’s was misdelivered to [my company] a few doors away from you at [censored] Street.  Please let me know if you would like me to leave it with our front counter so you can pick it up?  I’ll put a post-it on it so people know that you’re coming to get it.

Eleven minutes later David emails me from his iPhone:

That’s very kind of you. Yes. Please leave it at the counter.

That evening, as I depart for the day, I notice that David’s issue of Harper’s is gone.  Hopefully, he had picked it up and I will not find it has boomeranged back into Elsbeth’s in-basket come Monday.  Hey, I want to accrue a few magazine subscription good karma points.

Portrait of a good week in Lame Adventures-land -- every magazine delivered!

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Lame Adventure 247: Sleeping or Dying?

I have not been having a banner week.  I’ve overslept every day. I keep missing my regular train coming into the office. I’ve been arriving later than usual.  Once at the grind I’ve been fact checking and proofreading a 365 page tome about tile that I fully expect I will encounter again should Hell exist and I become a resident.  Completely exhausted half a page into my punishing assignment, I remove my glasses, rub my eyes, and when I put my glasses back on, what do I see but this puffy pigeon perched on the ledge outside my window.

Not looking good.

I ask my colleague, Ling:

Me:  Do you think this pigeon’s sick or sleeping?

Ling gets up and looks at the bird.

Ling:  It’s not asleep.  Its eyes are open.

She returns to her desk and the pigeon closes its eyes.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz or death rattle?

Me:  Hey, I think it’s asleep now.

Ling gets up to look at it again.  The pigeon opens its eyes.

Me:  Wait, forget it.  Its eyes aren’t closed.

Ling sits back down.

Ling:  You should quit looking at it.

Me:  You’re right.

I take out my camera and start photographing it.  Ling flashes the I-cannot-believe-this-stupidity-of-yours look but holds her tongue, her way of ignoring the situation and probably hoping the culprit will go away — the pigeon or me.

I hear Elsbeth, our boss, stirring.  She has just printed something and is approaching the copier directly across from my desk.  I resume proofreading.  Elsbeth returns to her office.  I resume my pigeon-watching and ask Ling:

Me:  What if it dies?  What do I do then?  This pigeon is directly in my sightline.  Am I going to be stuck staring at a pigeon corpse rotting on my sill for weeks?  I dread that!

Ling:  Call Jose and he’ll deal with it.

Jose is our go-to building services guy.  He’s always been someone I can count on.  I take a closer look at the Urban Wildlife on the Sill.

Me:  First, the economy tanks, and now this.  Does the suffering ever end?

Ling:  It’s a pigeon.

Me:  I know that, but I hate to see a creature* suffer.

*If it was a rat scurrying on my windowsill, I am certain that my compassion would shoot straight out that window.

Ling:  Seriously, quit looking at it.

I take Ling’s advice and resume proofreading for a ten count.  Then, I sneak another peek at the feral avian.  All that I can see is a tail feather.  It’s now moved to the corner where it’s nestled against the brick wall.  Since I have transformed myself into an Animal Planet reporter I provide Ling with an unsolicited update about the pigeon’s progress.  She distinctly looks like someone that would prefer to change the channel possibly to the Shut the Hell Up Network.  I return to my desk and proofread another half-sentence but since I can only glimpse that tail feather, I’m quickly back on my feet.  Ling looks at me.  She screams inside her head:

Ling:  SIT DOWN AND QUIT THE BIRD WATCHING!!!!!!!!!!

Then, a miracle happens.

Resurrected and refreshed!

It flies away.  I am elated.  I focus on proofreading for the remainder of the day but craving squab.  I suffer fresh guilt.