The Flower Fiasco
I call my mom to thank her for the book she bought for a birthday present. She is surprised it got there on time (shipped from an online vendor via Amazon). She then asks me, “Did you get the flowers?”
Uh-oh. After the inital shock wears off, (“I wasn’t worried about the book, I was worried about the flowers, but the book showed up and the flowers didn’t”) her problem-solving mode kicks in. She shakes off the worry and pulls up the delivery confirmation the flower company had sent her.
“It says that the flowers were signed for by “Staffer”. Who’s that?”
I wonder the same thing. I particularly wonder what happened because Just’In had the day off and was home for most of the day. I tell her I’m going to go talk to my apartment managers and ask them if they know anything.
Staffer could be a pseudonym for the flower delivery staff because he couldn’t do his job right.
My apartment managers don’t answer their door when I’d rather talk to them face-to-face, but I remember they told me that they’d always be available by phone. Their business card is hanging on my refrigerator, so I call them.
Martha picks up right away. I explain briefly what’s going on.
“Oh, honey. Someone stole your flowers? Who would steal someone’s birthday flowers?”
I ask her who Staffer is. She tells me promptly that he’s my neighbor. I ask her which side of my apartment he lives on. She goes out to look and I feel foolish; now that she’s this close to my apartment, I could just hang up and go talk to her in person. But I stay on the line. Maybe she doesn’t want anyone to see her in her bathrobe.
She responds that he’s the neighbor on the left. She tells me that, now that she thinks about it, she remembers walking by my apartment at about one o’clock and seeing a red box sitting on my doormat.
I thank her. Just’In’s sitting on the couch as I walk out the door to go question my neighbor. He asks if I’ve got progress, so I tell him what’s transpired. He tells me he saw a red box, but it was sitting on the doormat of our neighbor to the right.
Neither of them are home when I go to investigate.
Mom’s on hold with the flower company and she has to go to work soon. I tell all I’ve found out, and she says she thinks she’ll get another bouquet to me the next day. Free as apologies from the local flower company for delivering the box from the online flower company incorrectly.
This is a huge mess, but I shrug. The flowers don’t mean that much to me, but they’re important to Mom; she and my little brother Curtis even wrote a poem to go with the flowers. I thank her and let her go to work.
We leave the apartment to go to a church activity that involves free food and talking with friends. It’s dark when we get back, and I see that the windows to the right and left of us are lit. Just’In lets himself in to our place and I strike up the hunt.
I knock on Staffer’s door. A youngish but responsible-looking guy stands there. His living room is clean and there’s a toddler standing behind him, staring up with mouth open. Staffer says the delivery guy made him sign for the flowers and then put them on my doormat.
“Forced at gunpoint, I’m sure,” I think. He pleads innocence as I question him, further but lightly, so we chat for awhile about his kid and I talk to the kid for a little bit.
I don’t think he stole my flowers. I picture a single dad who works all day and keeps the house warm while his kid plays at night. I knock on suspect number two’s door.
I’m a little more suspicious of this guy. I’ve asked him to turn down his bass once (and it was sufficiently quiet afterwards) and he had two other guys over, all who seemed to have lost their shirts.
There are no other guys in the doorway this time, and he looks like a deer in headlights. It smells like cigarette smoke. I tell him I had flowers delivered for my birthday and ask the guy if he’s seen them.
“Oh,” he says. He bends down and picks up a tall, red box that was sitting on the floor right inside the door. I’m flabbergasted as he closes the door quickly.
I wish I had questioned him: “Were you going to give them to your girlfriend later? Were you trying to be a good neighbor and you were just holding them for me?”
It’s flowers, all right. Red daisies, yellow roses, in a red jar/vase. The box is sealed shut, so he didn’t try to open it. Its interior is wrapped in tissue paper, there’s tissue paper protecting the vase, and the flowers are wrapped in one of those cellophane tube things that flowers are usually wrapped in. They’re also strapped to the box at the stems, and the individual daisies even have a plastic tube around each stem. The poem is included, in all its cheesiness, and there are detailed instructions on how to care for them, which I follow. They’re lovely.
Sure enough, another bouquet arrives the next morning while I’m in the shower. I’d just soaped my armpits, and Just’In wonders if I’ll make it. But there’s a tall, bewildered-looking, high-school-aged guy standing there. He’s holding the vase like it smells funny.
I tell him that next time, he should deliver to the apartment manager instead of my neighbor. He just kind of walks away, dazed and glazed.
These flowers are in a tall, blue vase. There’s delphiniums (hooray!) and lots of lilies and sunflowers. It’s a lot more complicated than its red-and-yellow neighbor. The poem is included here as well, but the end is missing. I plop them down on another table in my kitchen and sigh, glad the ordeal is over; then I go back to my shower.