Right. So there were a number of things I could have conceivably been doing the afternoon before flying to Germany for two months.

Like, packing maybe. Or leaving my brother instructions about weird Hoppy House-related things. Or freaking out and falling apart, as per tradition. Tradition!

Instead, I spent it looking for a new address. For me.

Here’s what happened.

My gentleman friend went out to pick up my mail.

At the mailbox.

The one I rented in October (in the spooky edition — spooky!) so people would have a place to send fan-socks and scarves for my duck without me having to reveal to anyone the actual location of Hoppy House.

Because hello, my duck is famous. And I am not crazy about stalkers a loner.

The place was shut. And dark. No sign on the door.

He did a little iPhone reconnaissance and found their number.

Out of business.

Forget the apologies. Where’s my mail?

Oh, I’m sorry. My mistake. There aren’t any apologies.

This is what the website says:

After seven years in business, we have closed our doors. We wish our customers a fond farewell, we will truly miss you.

Excuse me? You will miss me?


You have my mail.

Oh, and in addition to that, you also have four more months of paid rent on that mailbox, plus the key deposit.

But you know what? The thing that bothers me way more than that is the mail. I’d really like my mail.

I get a lot of it.

And — aside from extremely important things like fan-socks and love letters to Selma — there are things like checks. And stuff I’ve ordered. That I need.

Where is the part that goes, “And this is when/where you can pick up your mail that we still have”?

Let’s talk about the mensch points.

Because as lost mensch points* go, this is pretty much a worst-case-scenario.

*I took this idea from Steve Krug, genius mouse extraordinaire!

  1. I don’t have my mail.
  2. Nor do I have a mailing address anymore, apparently.
  3. And then I had to spend the day before leaving the country frantically searching for a new mailbox.
  4. Had to dig up two forms of ID and fill out a bunch of paperwork when I could have been doing any of my urgent last-minute errands.
  5. Had to pay extra because no one had any small mailboxes available so now I have a large one that I don’t need.
  6. Had to change the address on nearly ten websites and several contact pages.
  7. I also have a rubber address stamp for stamping envelopes. That was a waste.
  8. I had my assistant stamp at least eighty of those kraft shipping envelopes that we use to mail dvds … with the address. The one that no longer exists.
  9. Now I need a new rubber stamp.
  10. And stickers for all those envelopes.
  11. And to pay someone to sticker envelopes and write my address on them until the new stamp arrives.
  12. I may also have to notify various companies that the stuff they’ve sent me has to be re-sent? Awkward. And maybe not even possible.
  13. In terms of the money, I’m out four months mailbox rent and key deposit. Not the end of the world. But still annoying.
  14. That address was also tied to my credit cards. Which means, because my bank is astonishingly incompetent when it comes to address changes (that’s another ranty post), I’ll be spending several hours on the phone and also going to visit them in person.

There are so many ways to earn back mensch points.

I should know, because oh boy, I lose them all the time too.

It happens. Because you’re a human being, running an itty biz of a business.

Stuff goes wrong. For all of us. Hey, I screw up pretty much all the time.

And we lose mensch points like crazy. Sometimes without even knowing it.

But the thing that really, really helps with mensch points?


Acknowledging the existence of Sucky Situations.** Making suggestions.

** I take all my cues on this from my friend Mark “mensch points” Silver, who writes apologies like nobody’s business.

So if my business had just gone through hell … and I happened to have your mail, the sign (and there would be one) might say something like this:

“Ohmygosh! Your mail! Here’s what’s going on:

We’ve had some crazy stuff happening and we’re panicking a little because this wasn’t our plan. We started this business out of love and things are hard right now.

So here’s the thing. We feel awful, because you don’t have your mail and you’re probably feeling frustrated and upset.

And because things are crazy, we don’t know when exactly we’ll be able to get you your mail. Which sucks. Sorry! Horrible!

So what we’re going to do is this: we will get someone to forward you your mail. It may take a week or two but you will get your mail.

That’s not even a very good … anything. But it’s way better than nothing. And better than nothing — especially an acknowledgment — counts.

Even when you’re bankrupt. Even when you’re in catastrophe mode.

It counts.

So I guess you’re wondering where to send the fan-socks.

Right. And no hobo fingers, please. That’s a request worth repeating, I think.

Anyway, here’s the new new address:

The Fluent Self
1526 NE Alberta Street #218
Portland, OR 97211
United States


Comment zen for today.

What I’d rather not have: shoulds, guilt, a lecture on how I should be more patient or less patient or more like this person or less like that person. Thank you!

What I would love: sympathy, hysterical laughter, tears, hugs, general supportive symbolic fist-shaking.