Sunday, June 21, 2009

Flowers can backfire

In yesterday's post I was talking about how I sent flowers to my new lady friend after finding her address on my own (through some online research) since I knew she didn't give out her address to strangers -- particularly ones she meets online -- and anyway, I didn't want to spoil the surprise by alerting her to the fact that I might be sending her something.

Well, it kinda backfired on me. And it became a bit of a learning experience. No major harm done, but I learned a couple of things nonetheless.

If you'll recall, my girl has a vanity domain name, and all I had to do to get her physical address was do a "whois" style lookup. Her registrar had the complete physical address including the apartment number.

I happened to know (from a comment she made in a long-ago chat) that my lady friend likes sunflowers. So I decided to send her sunflowers as a surprise. Except, it wouldn't really be a surprise.

Allow me to explain.

The week prior to this, my lady friend and I met in person for the first time (after weeks of GTalk conversation) at a professional show (convention, conference) in California, and as luck would have it, that F2F meeting went unexpectedly well. One night, during the week-long convention, I left a sunflower in a water-filled ice bucket outside her hotel-room door while she was out to dinner with some friends. She was thrilled to find it when she came back from dinner. The rest, I'll tell some other time.

So. Given the prior week's events, I decided it was not necessary to include a note with the sunflowers that I was having delivered to her physical home address. I knew that she would know immediately who the flowers were from.

As it turns out, she did figure it out pretty quickly. She got in touch by IM and scolded me about the flowers.

"What, you don't like them?" I asked, innocently.

"First of all," she said, "don't ever send flowers without a note. That's just a bad idea all the way around. Plus, you should know that I've had boyfriends in the recent past. They all know that I like sunflowers. If it hadn't been for our week in California, I would've been left guessing who the real sunflower-sender was."

I could see her point. Yes, that's true. A girl might very well be left wondering which ex-boyfriend is suddenly sending flowers, and why.

But there was more.

"For what it's worth," she said, continuing to scold me, "you should know that the address you sent the flowers to is my ex-husband's address. I lived there when I registered my domain name, but I've since moved. When the flowers came, my ex- was not home but his girlfriend was, and she thought they were for her."

Ouch. I hurt some strange woman's feelings by not including a note. How thoughtless. And I was too stupid even to consider that it might not only be an out-of-date address -- but her ex-husband's address! Double ouch.

So I learned a few things. Mostly I learned not to be cocky and trigger-happy when it comes to sending love-offerings. Things can backfire in funny ways, even when you're sure you've done something good.

Let my ouch be your gain, my friend.

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