Friday, August 13, 2010

I Owe You One, Carolyn

Potpourri—that’s what Jeopardy calls it when they just throw together some miscellaneous and random stuff they didn’t use elsewhere. And it’s the overly perfumed mix of this and that you sometimes find in a dish in the bathroom, where it’s meant to mask other (noxious) odors.

Let’s hope this particular batch of potpourri is more the former than the latter…

First, a tip of the hat to a lovely lady named Carolyn P. (I won’t reveal her last name, but it’s really not ‘Potpourri’.) Here’s why:

I dragged my weary body out to the mail box a week or so ago in the 100+ degree heat (combined with our famously high humidity, we had a heat index in the 114- 115 degree range. That’s hot enough to cook burgers on the grill without turning on the gas. Okay, almost.) Why I bother with the mail any more is beyond me, since 87% of the mail on 93% of the days is pure junk. Especially in the weeks leading up to an election, which this was.

So I did the army crawl back into the house, pulling my sorry self over the threshold, and my husband, the Center of the Universe (CoTU) steps right over me and asks, “Anything interesting?”

“Yes,” I gasped. “An ad from a contract hit man, offering to nail clueless and self-absorbed husbands.” With that, I believe I passed out from dehydration. Or not.

Anyway, the mail was the usual assortment of ‘right into the recycling bin’, ‘pay this bill’, and ‘magazines I will not live long enough to read’, except for one thing.

There it was, a legal-size envelope addressed to me in the actual handwriting of a live human being. Okay, I didn’t have actual proof of that, but it sure seemed so. The envelope had a pre-printed return address of a business in a nearby community, but I had never heard of them, and had no idea why they were sending me an actual piece of mail. I swear, if the thing hadn’t had a first-class stamp on it, I might have tossed it, assuming it was some sort of ad.

Inside I found a slim piece of lined paper, with Carolyn P.’s name imprinted at the top. She wrote, “I received this by mistake along with my info. Thought you would like to have it.” Hmmm. Behind it was the form letter from the famed and exalted facility where I had had my mammogram, telling me that my results were normal.

WHAT THE WHAT??? How many variations of the HIPAA privacy laws did THAT violate? Plenty. But all that aside, how nice was it of Carolyn to take the time and effort to mail me my particular letter? Very. I wrote her a thank-you note, and asked CoTU about maybe getting her a gift card to Borders, or something. I just really wanted to let her know how much I appreciated her kindness. He thought that was a little much, so I mailed the note alone.

So I wanted to post about this, to thank Carolyn P. publicly. Now here’s the funny post script… Friday I attended a meeting of the quilt guild I joined a few months ago. Since it’s summer, I haven’t met all the members yet, as various people have been away on meeting days. One of my friends asked another member if Carolyn P. was coming… I said, “Carolyn P.? As in the Blankety-Blank Company in County Center?” Yes, they assured me that was her… Wow. I told them the story of how she had received, then sent me my medical info. We were all taken aback by the incompetence of the facility’s mailing, and by the coincidence that Carolyn and I were members of the same group.

So here’s my shout-out of thanks to Carolyn, and you didn’t even know I was a member of Piece Mill Quilters! Hope to see you at the next meeting!

Oh—and as for the potpourri, I went on too long to include the other stuff, so as Emily Litella would say: Nevermind.


  1. Random acts of kindness like that just warm the strings of the heart, don't they? And I'm with you...a Borders gift card would've been nice. I mean, most people nowadays - or so it seems, tho I still believe the majority of humanity is like Carolyn - would've just tossed it in the 'deep six' of the recycling bin. A year or so ago I was walking down our street and noticed an envelope lying on the sidewalk. Return address was the Department of the Treasury. Fully intact, thank goodness, because inside was the monthly disability check for a disabled man around the corner and his family. No one was home, but I put it in their mail slot. A day or two later I spotted the wife outside. I asked if she'd gotten the check and she looked at me rather quizzically as she said, "Yes." I told her the story behind it and she almost fainted. She said that had been their rent money, basically. Gave me a HUGE hug and thanked me over and over again. That little act of kindness on my part stayed with me for a long, long time.

  2. "clueless and self-absorbed husbands."

    I am rather partial to those guys. I hear that they make the best partners.

  3. That is such a coincidence! I love when things like that happen. Well...not the part about your medical records being mailed to someone else but you know what I mean.