Dear Newspaper Delivery

My hand darts out to stop the door just before it slams shut. 

Was that a note?

Is it for me?

Pulling open the door to the stairwell, I see two light-turquoise Post-it notes, scrawled over in black ink.

Dear Newspaper Delivery,

Could you please close the door quietly? It echoes down the hall.

Thank you so much.

Not for me. But then again, I do use this door to go down to the gym in the mornings. Not always as early as the newspaper guy, but I have run into him on several occasions…

Wait, maybe the note is directed at me?

How exciting!

When my husband comes to the gym with me, he insists on quietly closing the stairwell door. I don’t usually take this precaution for two reasons. Two reasons that could be written in black ink upon two light-turquoise Post-it notes:

1.     It’s not efficient to stand there while the door slo-o-o-o-o-owly shuts. It’s like they installed a special pulley system so that it would take its sweet time closing, right up until that last fatal moment, when you hear its loud, echoing click.

2.     The stairwell door is right across the hall from our door. If it’s going to bother anyone, wouldn’t we be the most likely candidates? Of course, I’m usually up with the newspaper guy, so I guess I’m not a good judge of how loud and/or annoying it is.

Needless to say, on this note-filled morning, I quietly re-entered the stairwell, taking the extra time to manually assist the door in its closing. I counted the time this took in my mind so that I would later be able to readjust my workout, subtracting the lost seconds.

Twelve. Give or take. Twelve seconds of missed-cardio never hurt anyone, right?

On the way back up from the gym — 12 seconds less than 20 minutes later — I stopped on the floor below mine to take a peek at their stairwell door. No note. So this was NOT a building-wide initiative. The problem was closer to home. Having gathered this information, I forewent the extra step of going to every single floor to check for notes. In retrospect, perhaps this was careless of me.

Exiting the stairs on my floor, I sighed in exasperation as I waited for the door to close and realized my mathematical error: I should have cut my workout short by 24 seconds. Luckily, those unaccounted-for twelve seconds did afford me a second chance at investigation.

Whose handwriting was that?

Actually, whose man writing was that? Now I had narrowed down the pool of residents on my floor by about half.

I wanted to take a photo of the note, but I didn’t have my phone or my 2007 Cannon PowerShot with me. It was about 7:00. I’ll just go shower and eat breakfast, I thought, and then get a picture when I leave in 54 minutes.

I should have known better. It’s like seeing a great deal on a plane ticket and saying you’ll buy it when you get home from work. Of course the price won’t go up, right?

A little later, as I was standing in the front hall zipping my boots up and double-checking that I had my phone, I heard the slam of the stairwell door.

Wow, that is kind of loud, I thought.

It didn’t even sound like the person had heeded the note! It was like they were in a rush, like they wanted to bury the evidence.

Quicker than a hand can unstick 3M’s master technology from a wooden surface, I realized what was happening. If only I had been looking out my peephole while I got my jacket on, I would have caught a glimpse of the note-writer himself.

Grabbing my keys, I dashed out into the hall.

It was just as I feared.

The note was gone.

Carissa Jean Tobin is a Minneapolis-based teacher, writer, and coach. Her hobbies include creating humorous surveys for friends, lounging at the Wilde Roast Café, and scanning old papers in an effort to minimize. Visit her website for tips on great living.