first, a few pieces of background.
1. almost as far back as i can remember, but certainly since my sophomore year in high school in olathe, i have been a fairly religious reader of a daily paper. it has almost always been a morning paper. there have been some times over the years when financial circumstances did not allow for a daily paper. but most of my adult life i have read a paper every day. the daily paper, and the bill for the subscription, were delivered to the same address that the usps had on file for me.
2. that changed in late 2011 when i moved into the abbey apartments in southeast springfield missouri. i was no longer paying for delivery of the daily paper, and it was no longer being delivered to my door. every morning a paper gets delivered to the apartment building. for some idiotic reason, they won’t deliver it to the building’s office since it doesn’t have an apartment number. instead they place it in front of A111, which is just around the corner and no more than 25 feet from the office. it is supposed to be a communal paper, available on one of the tables in the lobby. monday thru saturday, when the office is open, there is also free coffee in the lobby. not great coffee. not a “manly” cup like i prefer. but it is hot and almost black.
3. there have been issues with the paper at the abbey. i’m not talking about the quality of the paper. the paper itself is not the issue, at least not the issue at hand. admittedly, the news-leader is a pretty puny rag and doesn’t compare to the last daily that I paid for: it was called the “st. petersburg times” then….now it’s the “tampa times.” before that i subscribed to the oregonian. both papers are head and shoulders better than the gannet paper that is supposed to be on the table in the lobby of the abbey each day.
the operative word in this case is “supposed.”
during the four years that i’ve lived at the abbey (has it really been that long??), there have been newspaper thieves. sometimes they only take a single section. often, it’s the section that includes the tv listings. sometimes they take just the sports. other times, often on sunday when nobody is in the office, the entire paper gets swiped. on good days, not a page is missing.
in all cases, when a single section or the entire paper is not there: It Pisses Me Off!!
twice i have written anonymous notes to newspaper nappers. the first time was in jan of 2014, and is a story for another day. it was the much longer of the 2 notes.
this particular story is about a christmas eve, 2015 note. it was only 13 words and was written after 2 days when not a single section of the paper made it to a table in the lobby. i wasn’t the only one who was cranky about the daily paper being swiped….there are a number of other residents who are regular readers.
The 12/24/15 Note
after Shelly had gone to bed on Christmas Eve, i composed a short, nasty note…written LARGE. the first line using 66 point type, followed by 3 lines at 54 point, and the last line at 80 point…for emphasis. all lines BOLD, with selective underlining.
after i printed out the single page, i went on the quest to find the scotch tape. several expletives and several minutes later i finally located it. if i had found the tape quicker, what follows would have had a very different ending.
it was just after 11 pm and i had just taped down the 4th corner of my direct and accusatory note when i heard footsteps. i had been caught in the act! if i had found the tape quicker, the 20-something fellow wouldn’t have looked down at the piece of paper in front of apartment A111 and read:
The Daily Paper
It’s for ALL Residents
You Thieving, Inconsiderate
Him: “a paper gets delivered here every morning.”
Me: “i know. that’s why i’m leaving this note.”
Him: “Ok…but a paper gets delivered here every morning.”
Me: “exactly. for the last 2 or 3 days it hasn’t been making into the lobby for residents to read. i’ve lived here awhile and i’ve had it up to here with people stealing the paper.”
Him: “stealing? i’ve just been putting it in my recycling.”
Then it hit me!!
Me (sorta sheepishly): “you live in this apartment?”
Me: “did you just move in? and do you leave the apartment early in the morning?”
Him: “yes, this week. i do head out before 7… when i pick it up and toss it.”
Me: “Oh…wow. they never told you that it is the lobby paper?”
Him: “nobody said anything to me about the paper.”
Me: “let me throw this note away…you don’t seem like an asshole!”
the above dialog is not the exact words that we exchanged…but the last 6 are!! it is a conversation that i wish i had on tape. (lately i find myself thinking that fairly often, especially during some of my walk-and-talks.)
so after i rambled for a few minutes, introducing myself to Saeed and shaking his hand, i wished him Merry Christmas. but before i walked away i told him about the news leader’s crazy delivery rules. i told him that i like the people in the office, but that they should have told him that the lobby paper would be delivered in front of his door. i told him that he could just leave it lying there in front of A111 or put it on a table in the lobby. i told him about the paper pilferers. i told him…again…that he didn’t seem like an asshole, and that I felt like one. we both laughed.
as i walked through the lobby and up the stairs, shaking my head and laughing, i might have been thinking: “things happen, that’s all they ever do.” But I’m pretty sure it was this: