I’m sure FedEx is a perfectly dependable company in the 48 contiguous states. And for all I know, the residents of Alaska and Hawaii swear allegiance to it on a daily basis.
But in Vieques, not so much.
Somehow I had to convey this melancholy fact to my South Carolina rug vendor.
I had just told him our house didn’t have a street address, but he seemed totally unimpressed by this piece of information.
“That’s nothin’,” he drawled. “I grew up on a fahm that wasn’t even on a road—just plopped down in the middle of a big old cotton field.”
“But,” I continued, a hint of desperation in my voice, “FedEx will NOT deliver without a street address.”
I could almost hear him sipping his mint julep. “You all have a sayul phone, dontcha?” he responded smoothly. “They’ll just call you once they get theyah and you can tell them how to get to yo place.”
“But there won’t be anyone at the house to sign for the rugs,” I tossed out wearily, making one last attempt to inject a note of reality into our dialogue.
“Not a problem, my yoong friend, I’ll just check the bawks that puhmits delivery without signature.”
By this point I was completely worn down. He could have told me FedEx delivers to Jupiter and I would have happily concurred.
Frankly, I can’t wait to tell you the next part.
FedEx never called me.
And two weeks later I got a sheepish call from Foghorn. “I’m afraid I have a big ole dollop a’ aig on my face.”
“Excuse me?” I said, thinking I was the victim of a prank call.
“You wuh entilely right about those Federal Express people in Viakus. They tried to delivah yo roogs and eventually shipped them back to me. I have them right heyah as I speak.”
I couldn’t help feeling a tiny thrill of satisfaction. Still, he sounded so dejected I decided to throw him a bone.
“Well, at least you tried.”
“Thank you for that kind remahk, sonny, but you were right and I was wrahng. Now what can we do to fix this mayess?”
“I have no idea. Let me do some research and I’ll call you back.”
I called Jane and explained the situation. “Silly twit,” she said of the rug man. “People never listen to the voice of experience.”
“Do you?” I couldn’t help asking.
“Not very often,” she answered honestly.
“So what do we do?”
“That’s easy. Give them my name and cell number. The local FedEx man works for me part-time.”
“I should have known.”
“And by the way, I warned you about rugs.”
“Yes, Jane, but as you’re well aware, people never listen to the voice of experience.”