The key looked old and weathered. It looked similar, in fact, to some other keys I had seen by the mailboxes. The bottom row of boxes are very large and all seem unused; they all have keys dangling in the locks.
I figured it was a mistake, perhaps someone thought this was our extra key? I then forgot about it.
My friend in Germany alerted me a while back that I should be expecting a package from her from Amazon.com. I waited. She e-mailed me and asked why I hadn't said anything yet; I wrote her back that it hadn't arrived.
This morning she sent me an e-mail with the tracking number. The U.S. Post Office site clearly showed the package had already been delivered. In fact, it was delivered last Tuesday at 11:36 a.m.
I flipped through my calendar... Tuesday? What did I do Tuesday? Oh, yeah. Albie and I were both at home - sleeping. If someone had delivered a package to our door, they would clearly have alerted us by ringing the doorbell. We would have woken up. Nobody had woken us up that day.
"It must have been delivered to the wrong house," I wrote my friend. "I will investigate."
I called the USPS helpline and got an automated female voice on the line. "What would you like to do?" she asked. "Help!" I said. "OK," she replied softly. "Here is some help for you. If you want to find a zip code, please press 3. If you want to..."
I tried pressing 0, then said "customer service." "I'm sorry," the voice replied. "Was that a yes or a no?"
I gave up and called the local post office. A woman told me that "if it says the package has been delivered, our hands are tied."
"Well, what can I do?" I said in a resigned voice. "I know it wasn't delivered. At least not to my house."
She paused for a second, then she asked what my address was. "You're mail carrier is Tom Vincent," she said. "He is out on delivery. You can call back tomorrow at 8 a.m. and ask for him. Maybe he remembers the package."
Hm... out on delivery? I threw my clothes on and ran outside. No mail truck. I figured I'd check the mail to see if he had been to our street yet - he had. And there was another key in our mailbox.
I looked at the key tag - it said 1P. I looked at the big boxes at the bottom - two of them said 1P, two of them said 2P. The 1Ps both had a key in them already. I opened them - they were empty. One of the 2P boxes was locked. What if...?
I ran back home to find the key we got in the mail last week. It said 2P on it in faded writing. When I got back to the mailboxes, I quickly opened the only locked box. Inside was my package from Amazon.com.
This is taken a few steps off my driveway. See the bushes really far away? Our mailboxes are behind those bushes.