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John Mahoney's Free-fire Zone
John Mahoney
John Mahoney
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is editor of the Log Cabin Chronicles.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 02.21.05
Fool's Hollow, Quebec

JOHN MAHONEY

Still longing for my stuff, UPS

To recap: Last Thursday I ordered some stuff from Small Dog Electronics in Waitsfield, Vermont, to jazz up my old G3 laptop.

It wasn't much: 512 megs of Ram and a USB-powered doo-dad so I can try my hand at Mac-generated streaming MP3 audiocasting.

Delivery would be via UPS Select Service, and promised by the following Tuesday - five days later.

Waitsfield is only 72.7 miles south of Bobbin Mill Road in Newport, Vermont, where my stuff would be delivered to my friend Charlie's place.

Okay, here's what happened next.

My stuff was promptly picked up by UPS Thursday afternoon and taken to their Barre, Vermont, facility some 26.5 miles northeast of Small Dog.

It still had 64.1 miles to go north to reach Newport. Should be doable by the next day, right?

But, from Barre, Vermont it was sent west to Latham, New York - near Troy -- a journey of 163.2 miles.

Then, it was immediately shipped back across New York and Vermont to St. Johnsbury on the Connecticut River, a trip of some 200.5 miles.

St. Johnsbury is 36.4 miles north of Barre and 44 miles south of Newport, so my one pound package had actually gained some 17 miles in its meandering journey north.

Let's see: to go the 64 miles from Barre north to Newport, it had already traveled 363.7 miles, and still had 44 miles left.

My goodies left Johnsbury for Bobbin Mill Road in Newport by 9 a.m. Friday. Way ahead of schedule, which was very good, eh? And much appreciated.

Bobbin Mill Road is a short, dead-end street. There are just seven houses on the right hand side of the street. My friend Charlie lives in the last house on the right.

The UPS truck, and others, drop off packages regularly at Chez Charlie. He's well known on that short street, having lived there for years, as did his father.

I, alas, did not give Small Dog the house number, which I have since learned is number 298.

UPS arrived in Newport but could not find Charlie's house in the row of seven houses on the right hand side of Bobbin Mill road, so they took my package back south 44 miles to St. Johnsbury.

You would have thought the UPS driver could have knocked on a neighbor's door and asked: "Where does Charlie live?"

Chances were one in seven Charlie would have answered the door and said: "Don't you move a God-damned inch!"

But no, and my package has been hauled 451 miles plus the original 26.5 miles from Waitsfield to Barre.

Now, UPS informs me, they have the 'correct' address, have rescheduled delivery for Tuesday, February 22, and sorry for the inconvenience. Another 44 mile journey.

That will be some 522 miles, or more than five times the necessary distance.

One thing puzzles me, however.

Charlie does not have a number affixed to his house. Yet, UPS has delivered packages to Chez Charlie many, many times in the past months and years.

But without a house number, how, in that short row of seven houses, will UPS locate Chez Charlie on Tuesday and deliver my stuff if they couldn't find it last Friday afternoon?

Is a puzzlement, eh?

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