Wherever you go, there they are


Over the past thirty years, I’ve moved a handful of times.

Not more than a handful. I’ve had several friends that have moved many times well beyond the limits of a handful. A few double-digit times. Not me. I’ve only moved a handful of times.

And while the moves haven’t been numerous, nor did they cover massive shifts of thousands of miles, I do find myself a bit surprised that there are a decent number of businesses and interests that have managed to follow me.

I’ve never told them I was moving. Never personally reached out with my new address. Because, honestly, I’ve never cared if they knew where I was or how to reach me.

But they have managed to find me more than once.

There was a charity we donated to more than two decades ago. Gave to them when friends got married, wanted no gifts, and expressed that they would appreciate folks considering this as an option. We were so moved, donated, and have never sent anything else. Nice enough group. No issues with their admirable work. We simply have other groups placed higher on our personal lists of charitable importance when it comes to our donations. Still, they have continued to send us “supporter since…” materials, and have directed those materials by our names to multiple mailboxes.

There’s another group that has been sending me things for more than thirty years. They’ve continued reaching out using, I believe, virtually every address of mine that I’ve ever known. (Slightly more perplexing to me is that they seem to be phenomenal when it comes to hide and seek, yet always get my name slightly wrong.)

These (and others) always manage to get a chuckle from me as I fetch the mail, walk back to the house and find the latest and greatest from them. Consider a bit of the humorous thought to be this: The group has been determined to maintaining the accuracy of a mailing list, and yet can’t seem to figure out we haven’t sent them any money. (Adjust said thought slightly based on what I may be retrieving on any given day.)

Heck, if they can figure out my mailing address, and follow me through twists and turns and journeys over state borders… well… you have to wonder how they can’t connect-the-dots and figure out how to send me text messages or e-mails. I mean, you could argue that’s because they’ve never had my cell number or e-mail address, which is a valid point. But they never got an update from me when I moved, and some of them I never contacted at all to get this one-way, long-running, mildly amusing and consistently baffling started.

At times I wonder about the loopholes created by honest intentions and emerging technology. For instance, my guess would be that some facet of setting up mail forwarding and available information requests provide some solutions to questions about the how and when and why and more of decades of being found by folks I wasn’t really hiding from (but never intended to learn were seeking me). I’m more certain that since those relationships were initiated in some way long before I had a cell phone (let alone used it for texts), which again supports that part of the story where they never had a starting point for other methods of contact. And yet, it does create funny possibilities.

Expand the idea as needed to methods of reaching out to us for whatever purpose. We, likely as you do, get solicited by extremely random sources, finding our phone numbers and inboxes because of some process and often even though they never were looking for us specifically.

At some point, someone coming to visit you needed directions to your house. And yet, for the vast majority of us, every day multiple people pass outside… they technically found us, since realistically they did see our home… and they have no clue of the names that reside behind the front door. I find it weirdly comforting that some folks know where I am and yet equally disturbing that other folks have found me.

I like my privacy. I like the doorbell not ringing. Over the years I’ve found that when I answer a knock on the door that I wasn’t expecting, the vast majority of the time I’m not that thrilled by the introduction that results.

A few days ago, someone arrived at our house. They claimed were headed out, door-to-door, to introduce their new home delivery food service group. I wasn’t interested, but I was polite as I declined.

Intentional or accidental, they find me. They always seem to find me, even when I have no clue why they’re looking.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com