I frequently get mail for people who do not live in my apartment. At least, I've never seen them. If they are there, they owe me a great deal of rent. My assumption is that they used to live there and their correspondents are very slow to get the news of their relocation.

Yesterday, however, I had a new postal experience. Among my many catalogues was one piece of real mail. I was briefly excited thinking that someone had written me a letter (you know how I enjoy that), but when I looked closer, it proved to be a letter that had been mailed to New Orleans two weeks ago and returned as undeliverable. The sticker says: Return to sender. No such street. (Deeply disappointing, incidentally, because it was addressed to a bookstore on Pirates Alley, a street I very much wish did exist.)

Here's the thing though. This note to this possibly fictional bookstore on this imaginary New Orleans street was not sent by me. And yet, it has been returned to me--understandably, since the return address in the corner is definitely mine.

We must conclude that somewhere in the metropolis is a person who not only does not know the addresses of his would-be correspondent, but is equally misinformed about his own address. A sad state of affairs. Perhaps this person should restrict himself to phone calls.