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I’m one of those people who live in a neighborhood where anytime I get an “out for delivery” email/text/raven for any package that won’t fit into my mailbox, I know it means it’s time for me to head home. I will either receive the package personally or be present to witness it NOT being delivered even though the particular carrier says it has been. And this isn’t just because packages in my neighborhood grow legs—they have—but, as noted, I’ve been on the receiving end (this is a pun) of a “delivert” notice for a package that absolutely was not delivered. I could be sitting on the front steps and get a notice saying that a package was left at the front door literally while I was sitting there.

But also, packages in my neighborhood can get held for ransom, in a sort of “your package was safely delivered” extortion plot. Allow me to tell you a ridiculous story. Wrote a song about it. Like to hear it? Here it go.

I bought the house that I currently live in back in 2012. Like most people who buy homes, especially in expensive areas like Washington, D.C., I was a little house poor at first and it took a little while to fully outfit my house. Because I already lived in a two-bedroom apartment before buying my three-bedroom, three-floor home, I had most of what I needed, but at some point, I determined that I needed a much bigger desk in order to build out the space that housed all of my music production equipment, i.e., keyboards, MIDI controllers, interfaces, etc.

One of the homies had a similar setup in his home with a very nice and spacious L-shaped desk, so I took to Al Gore’s internets to try to find me something reasonable after scouring furniture stores and realizing I wasn’t finna pay $1,000 for a sturdy, high-quality desk. Nope. I needed a functional, mid-to- “won’t fall apart in the next 5 to 7 years” quality desk. That brought my price range to under $2o0. I didn’t see anything at IKEA and I checked out every manner of Nötah;dlfj;o777gn. I hit up Target because, let’s be real; even God probably shops at Target and I know if I can’t find it there, it doesn’t exist.

Well praise Jehoshaphat because sure as shootin’, I was able to find a reasonably priced, L-shaped desk, online, for $149. I ordered it, paid the cost to be the boss and received my delivery date. I was told it would come in two parts. This is very important.

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Day of delivery, I went to work because I had a job that required me to do so. I got an email that told me my package was delivered. It didn’t say that package one of two had been delivered, just that my package was delivered. I assumed that the whole thing was dropped off as one. I got off work and moseyed on home only to find no package at the front door. Or the back door. Or inside my house (granted, I lived alone so that one was a stretch but I was looking for it like that was a possibility).

I waited. I called Target and they basically said, “You got got, huh?” I love Target so instead of being mad I just told them, “I hope not. I’ll never leave you, btw.” The next day, my doorbell rang early in the morning and I got what amounted to package two of two, and another notification saying my package was delivered. So I had one of two boxes, half a desk and no idea what happened to my other box.

That was until a few days later when I saw a note on my door that said, “I picked up your box for you, give me a call!”

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Le whaaaaaaaaaaaaa?

I called the number and it was a neighbor who didn’t live on my street who I’d met twice. What he told me over the phone is that because packages have a tendency to grow legs in our neighborhood that he drives around and picks up packages for folks he knows (even loosely) and then drops them back off when he can tell folks are home. But I never seemed to be home, which was odd for me because I had been home every day that week. Then he hit me with the point of it all.

“You know, most folks appreciate that I pick up their packages for them. It’s a service that I think makes us feel like more of a community. Since I helped you out, if it wouldn’t be too much, I sure could use a six-pack of something ... Beck’s.” Yes, my package was held hostage over a German lager. And because I wanted my package and wasn’t sure how a person who did something I didn’t ask for asking me to pay for a service I never ordered would respond, I took my happy ass on over to the grocery store and copped me some Beck’s, took it to him, got my package and my desk is still standing to this day.

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What’s the lesson to learn from all of this? I’m glad you asked. I’m not sure there is one. Sometimes packages grow legs, other times the delivery service just doesn’t. I’m not sure you can game-plan for extortion. I did let him know that I wouldn’t need him to get my packages moving forward.

Mostly I just wanted to share. I got a “your package has been delivered” notice today and was upset I missed the “out for delivery” and sped home praying it would be there. It reminded me of the time it wasn’t and how that turned into friendly neighborhood nonsense. Sharing is caring.

Always keep a six-pack of Beck’s.