Monday, November 2, 2009

The Curious Case of Alison ____

Over the past few years, I've been receiving mail for someone named Alison ____ -- my address, but her name.  Always seemed strange to me, because she cannot be a prior resident of my apartment.  My building was constructed in 2001, and I've been the first and only (well, basically) tenant.  So we're not dealing with senders who didn't receive and process a Change of Address form from a prior occupant.

The bulk of the mis-directed mail came from the Culinary Institute of America, so I gathered that Alison is a CIA alum.  That got me even more intrigued, given my affinity for good eats.  I tried, without success, a number of times to get in touch with her and fill her in on this postal caper.  But the mystery may finally be on its way to a resolution.

Hello, Alison.

I hope you find this message more whimsical than intrusive. I live at __ River Terrace in New York. I think we may have been neighbors at some point, because I regularly receive some of your mail -- mostly in the form of CIA alumni materials, but, more recently, in the form of US Weekly. (I'm quite certain that you're not a former tenant of my apartment, because I've been a resident since it was constructed.)

I've tried to track you down on a number occasions, starting perhaps five years ago, to let you know that you may want to update the CIA with your correct address. But I never had any luck in that pursuit. Last week, during an amusing lunchtime conversation with friends, I was inspired to give it another shot. And here we are.

During that lunch, I mentioned that I have a subscription to US Weekly. But I quickly qualified that disclosure by explaining that the subscription isn't actually mine. (I'm a self-respecting guy, after all. Can't be known as an actual US Weekly subscriber!) At that point, I had to explain further. So I gave them the backstory.

About five years ago, I started to get some of your CIA mail. It had my address but your name. Strange, I thought, especially since your last name is quite close to mine. (The person I was living with at the time was intrigued in a different way. "Who's Alison ____? You never told me about an Alison," she interrogated.) After a while, the quantity of mis-delivered mail subsided. But it seemed to pick back up this summer.

My lunch companions encouraged me to try again to locate you, as if this had the workings of a Craigslist "Missed Connections" exercise. So I did, and I'm a bit tickled to contact you finally to let you know that I've been freeloading off your US Weekly subscription for a few months now.


Alison, thankfully, wasn't spooked.  She responded today and confirmed that she did, indeed, live in the same building for a year back in 2001.  But since then, she has changed addresses five times.  She also confirmed that she's a CIA grad, but she denied being an US Weekly subscriber.

Something seems amiss.  Either admitting that you're a subscriber is as much of an indignity to dignified women as it is to dignified men, or there's a piece to the puzzle that we're still missing.  Let's see how this shakes out.

I guess one upside is that I get to keep my free subscription to US Weekly.  Wonder what's going on with Jon and Kate this week?  And is Kourtney Kardashian experiencing any complications with her pregnancy?  I'll fill you in after an extended visit to the bathroom.  (Where else would you "read" such a thing?)