Everyone loves a travel story. Here’s one.
Late last year, a friend living in southern California bought on my behalf a pair of ballet flats in the most enviable forest green there ever was. Over an excited chat on Facebook, I gave her my address. She sent the shoes off by air to Singapore a few days later. A week went by, then two. She queried politely about the arrival of the parcel.
Did you give the right address? She asked. I checked the Facebook message string. I had typed too quickly and left out my apartment’s unit number. I called the post office and asked what happens to parcels labelled with incomplete addresses. They get sent back to the sender. In this case, the shoes were headed back to southern California. By sea.
It must have taken at least eight weeks. My friend then airmailed it to a relative living on the eastern seaboard of the United States. He was slated to be in Asia in 2012. The parcel arrived in New England in the midst of blizzards and power outages which had the shoes biding time in the post office at least a week before being slotted into a mailbox on a quiet suburban street in the middle of winter 2011.
Today, I held the parcel in both hands, and opened it reverently: The most well-travelled pair of shoes this side of Paradise. And they haven’t even walked yet.