269 whatever

How things work — or not

I just don't get it.

Ever since moving to Palm Springs, I have observed a strange phenomenon, never seen anywhere else that I have lived. I'd like to say I've been victimized by this phenomenon, but claiming victimhood is altogether too commonplace in our society, and I've never been one to go along with the crowd.

Here's what happens: With alarming frequency, the US Postal Service delivers to my mailbox any letter addressed to number 269 on any street. It doesn't seem to matter what street is named on the envelope. If the address begins 269 it ends up in my mailbox. Never for any other numbers, just 269.

It's as if the postal workers read no further than 269 and just toss it in my mailbox.

Here's the latest example:

269 envelope
If the address begins 269, chances are very good it will end up in my mailbox Sherlock Holmes

Since this was a new one — E Chukawalla — it calls for an expert investigation.

"It's elementary, my dear Watson," concluded Holmes, having glanced at the envelope. "The sender is a poorly educated male prisoner."

"What the deuce, Holmes," gesticulated Watson, "how do you know?"

"The handwriting is laborious, and many of the letters and numerals are oddly formed — hence 'poorly educated'." A serial number immediately follows the name, and the city is Chino, home of the California Institution for Men — hence a male prisoner."

"Now, Watson, as for the addressee, she has a continuing relationship of some sort with the sender."

"Well, I'll be dashed," sputtered Watson. "You can tell that just from the address?"

"Ho, Watson, I must confess to have cheated just a bit. On the back of the envelope is a P.S. asking for paper, pencils, envelopes, and stamps — hardly a request made of a casual acquaintence."

"But is there an E Chukawalla?" asked Watson, consulting his gazetteer. "I don't see it listed."

"Don't be too literal, Watson," chided Holmes. "Consider that the address may be misspelled, coming from a poorly educated prisoner."

Chuckawalla Road

"By Jove, Holmes, I should have thought of that!" exclaimed Watson. "Here it is, Chuckwalla Road, and there is indeed a number 269, an apartment building."

"Elementary, my dear Watson, for our addressee's apartment number is there, plain as the nose on your face," riposted Holmes a bit smugly.

"Point well taken, Holmes, but how do you explain the letter addressed to Chukawalla being delivered to Canyon Vista?" queried Watson. "The two street names are not at all alike, even given the misspelling, and the streets are miles apart."

"Once again elementary, Watson," replied Holmes. "Shit happens."

Case closed.