The mailman rang the doorbell yesterday holding an air mail package that he said needed a signature, so he handed it and a pen to me through the screen door and since I hadn’t been expecting anything I looked it over unsure what it was and where it had come from. For Susan, perhaps? No.

All I could immediately tell was that it originated in Shanghai, and it was indeed addressed to me. For some odd reason the address on the label also included my Google Phone number.

I hesitated for a split second since I was certain I hadn’t ordered anything from the People’s Republic of China, but with a curiosity-stoked what-the-hell I signed it anyway, returning the package and pen to the postman so that he could tear off the form and be on his way.

I closed the door and looked again at the package for clues. The return address was simply “DX Shanghai Postbox 443-068.” No company name. Nothing beyond a registered mail barcode label, and a postage meter stamp indicating it began its journey to me on November 28. Later on I’d run that barcode number through usps.com, but come up with nothing but the following chronology:

  • Delivered, December 17, 2010, 12:39 pm, LOS ANGELES, CA 90026
  • Arrival at Unit, December 17, 2010, 8:05 am, LOS ANGELES, CA 90026
  • Processed through Sort Facility, December 15, 2010, 9:47 am, JAMAICA, NY 11405
  • Origin Post is Preparing Shipment
  • Foreign International Dispatch, December 08, 2010, 11:20 am, SHANGHAI, CHINA PEOPLES REP
  • Foreign Acceptance, November 28, 2010, 1:16 am, PORTEE

On the back was the customs declaration indicating the category of the item as “gift” valued at $4.10. The description: “Festival Gadgets.”

Inside? Nothing in the way of additional documentation, just…

… five, individually bagged battery-powered strands of 30 LED lights (as seen above in that hard-to-tell-what-the-hell-that-is photo of the bunch of ‘em with one powered up). These are MUCH nicer then the strings of 10 LEDs from Ikea that I adorned my santa suit with for last week’s All-City Toy Ride.

Which makes their unannounced and unintentioned arrival from halfway around the world all that much more of a mystery.