I was walking toward my front door when I saw my neighbor, Ellie, on her driveway and said "hello." She was checking out her lawn sprinkler, since we haven't had much water this summer and the last few weeks have been especially dry.
"Oh, by the way," she said, "If you see me going through your mailbox, don't worry about it."
Apparently she got her neighbor Pam's mail misdelivered to her house the other day. When she returned the mail to Pam, Ellie wondered where her own mail might be.
At that point Pam told her to go through the mail in Mrs. Linklater's mailbox. Who put her in charge?
I stopped Ellie and told her that it was not okay for Pam to make that suggestion.
I also told her that -- in the past -- when I have found her mail mixed in with mine, I always returned it to her house. She didn't know about that. Mainly because I never told her what I did.
To make sure I had the law on my side before I got really pissed off that someone rifled through my stuff, I checked with one of my crack lawyer bros.
It turns out that one of them used to work for a US Attorney. Cool. Apparently entering someone else's mailbox is, in fact, considered a crime.
I was thrilled. Unfortunately, none of the crimes is punishable by death.
Regardless, some of the crimes that may have been committed by my stupid neighbor going through my mail include tampering, criminal and civil trespass, breaking and entering, burglary [depending on the time of day] and even assault, if I happened to be at home at the time.
So I drafted a letter with my phone number so my neighbor could call me when she thinks I may be in possession of her mail. But I made sure she would never think about opening my mailbox and reviewing what's inside -- ever again. Or I'd kill her.
Actually I was very polite and used lots of pleases and thank yous. My letter was filled with a bunch of the usual pretend polite stuff you like to include in the first letter you write to a neighbor, when they pull a bonehead move like she did.
I did point out however, as nicely as I could, that she had committed a crime and ticked off the list of misdemeanors and felonies she could be charged with.
I also made sure she knew that this information had come from a lawyer. I finished with a reminder that misdelivered mail is no excuse for anyone to go through my Chico's catalogs.
But in a nice way.
The letter to my busybody neighbor, Pam, started out, "Unfortunately, it is not okay that you told Ellie she could go through the mail in my mailbox." You ugly old bat. [Did I type that outloud?]
I listed all the crimes that were possibly committed and pointed out that she was also guilty of aiding and abetting. Laid it on with a trowel.
This is a woman who once came racing over to my house when she saw a contractor walking around giving me an estimate. I surprised her when I drove into the driveway and caught her in the midst of asking him what he was going to be doing for me.
Busybody. Nosy. Her husband also came to a meeting I called at the Village to get them to fix our backyard flooding, which we argued was caused by allowing two contractors to raise the grade on the houses they built.
He stood up and said he was there to make sure that the village knew that not everyone agreed with what I was doing, He proceeded to try to undermine my credibility, but he was just confusing people and annoying me. After he blathered on for awhile, I finally interrupted him and said, "Just sit down and be quiet, Don."
Anywho, I'm still stunned that anyone would think it was okay to go through my mailbox for any reason. But I've got the law on my side and I'm looking for a hanging judge.