My neighborhood’s reputation is not good. In the few months that I’ve lived here, I can really see why. Aside from having vice cops hunkered down in my backyard, there is an abandoned car parked in the yard that is not my yard, but that looks like it should be, people walk by all hours of the night and day swearing at each other on those goddamn Nextel walkie-talkie phones, I witnessed a drug deal go bad on my way home from work but it barely registered with me, and there’s a bullet hole in one of my front windows. That said: I have a really nice apartment, which is even nicer now that I’ve painted it. It’s huge and airy, cheap for the city, and I really, really like it. I have on-site laundry for the first time in 7 years, off-street parking, and my landlady is pretty cool.

One thing that I’m really fed up with, despite the positives of my place, is the mail theft. Before I moved out here, the power cord for my laptop was fried to the point of sparking and being a general safety hazard. I decided to not take it with me, and instead, order a new one to arrive in Providence about the same time I did. Genius? Yes. Unfortunately, it did not arrive. I had a laptop with wireless but the battery was dead so I had no internet. The only place in the entire city of Providence where you can go and use a computer with internet is the public library. Since I moved over labor day weekend, I had to wait until Tuesday to check on the status of my order. Apparently, the item in question had been delivered 2 days before I arrived, but my landlady (who I asked to look out for it), had not seen it anywhere. I tried to give my neighborhood the benefit of the doubt, told Dell that it never arrived, and got a replacement 5-8 days later.

Now USPS.com is telling me that the two items I ordered from Amazon.com were delivered Wednesday, December 19. I do not have these items. I ambushed my friendly mailman today and asked if he remembered dropping anything off for me on Wednesday. He remembered a package that arrived the previous week (I swear I don’t do that much internet shopping, it’s just been a run of things), but didn’t recall anything from Wednesday. Then in true Providence fashion he proceeded to tell me stuff that was none of my business and most likely, classified: the lady two doors down had received a number of smaller boxes (he held one up as an example), and that the gentleman next door had gotten something on Thursday, but he just didn’t recall anything for me.

“I usually leave your packages by the back door, you know. You didn’t see anything there?”

I told him no, and thanked him for being so thoughtful as to do that (I really do love my mailman), then I said that USPS.com had the package status as delivered 12:13pm on Wednesday the 19th. His face just fell, “It said delivered, huh? That’s not good. That’s the time I usually end up at your place too.”

I concurred that he was very punctual, and that was also the reason for my concern in this matter (he’s kind of amazing in the punctuality department, even the day after the “blizzard” he was dropping off my Netflix at 12:05).

“I’ll call Amazon,” I assured him, “and have them re-send it. I just wanted to check with you first.”

“Man, I feel terrible.” He deflated, right in front of me. “I hate this street. I just really hate this street. It’s even worse than (here he named some street that I’ve never been on, but hope I can avoid).

So fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. People in my neighborhood steal mail. I always thought the whole “it’s a felony” thing was so scary that no one would ever actually do it, but I guess when you’re already a drug dealer, you might as well rack up the charges. So I hope some young (or old) felon is out there smoking crack and enjoying the amazing performance of Bette Davis in “All About Eve”, while I wait for my replacement shipment.

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