Eric Cheng

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Seacam housing, M.I.A. for 45 days

Yap stamp detail
I have been stressed out for the past few weeks because I shipped my Seacam underwater housing (with ports, arms, strobes, chargers, and more) back from Yap, Micronesia rather than haul it home via Dave and Kim's wedding in New York . After a month and a half, it had still not arrived. I insured the package, but my receipt from the Yap post office simply said, "Stamps: $140," and this did not inspire confidence in the package's traceability.

Yap tried to help. I was in touch with someone at the dive resort who kept going to the Yap post office to check in on my package status. The package was to be routed from Yap to Pohnpei to Guam before going to Honolulu, and finally, San Francisco. However, I wasn't allowed to even make an inquiry into package whereabouts until at least a month had passed. Once a month passed, I tried making an inquiry. I was told that the person who had email at the Pohnpei post office was out for a week, so it would have to wait. (I am chuckling because I'm currently reading The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific, and it all makes sense now).

I switched my tactics, and tried to contact Oakland. I know Oakland's Civic Center post office isn't a shining beacon of exemplary service, but I expected them to at least *attempt* to deliver the package. I also expected them to pick up the phone. I am out of town a lot, but I did call in every few days. Not a single call was ever answered.

After more than a month, I finally received a voicemail from someone at the Oakland post office saying that a package for me had been sitting there for a couple of weeks. I was excited because he left a callback number, but I realized that the number went to a residence after I thoroughly confused the man who answered. And so, I kept calling the public number (at the time, I was in Las Vegas for DEMA).

Out of desperation, I called a fellow underwater photographer who used to work for my post office in Oakland. She agreed to go look for the bag. A few hours later, she called me back.

"Hi, Eric. I have your bag in my garage."

Relief!! Replacing the housing would have cost a fortune in both money and aggravation / stress. About 30 seconds later, I thought about what had just happened: a retired USPS employee had wandered into her old branch and grabbed a package worth thousands of dollars. That's pretty fucked up, but it was the best outcome I could have hoped for.

**UPDATE:** After reading this entry, one of my friends wrote me: "this is why we don't want the government owning banks and shit." I concur.

My Seacam housing, shipped back from Yap

My Seacam housing, shipped back from Yap

It says attempted delivery, but we never got a slip