Dear “Mom” – Why are you in Havana and who is Terry?

I have had the same email address since just after Google introduced gmail. It’s my first initial and last name @ gmail.com. Pretty simple.  Other people evidently employ the same simplistic strategy, but fail miserably somewhere in the execution.

I get lots of email intended for other people.  Brianna, Bernice, Brian, Brittany, Blake and Barath receive a lot of mail in my inbox. Those emails, I suppose, make sense if they really do share my last name.  I also receive email for Sherkeydra, though.  She’s applying for student loans, and my email address makes no sense at all for her name.

Brittany orders a lot of stuff from Alibaba.com.   Bernice is having problems paying her phone bill. Brian gets a payment from Wells Fargo every Thursday night, and Blake is looking for a roommate.

Brianna’s family is a real hoot.  They travel a lot and seem to have a sense of humor.  Her mom and dad (Terry) are in Cuba right now.

When I began receiving all of these emails for strangers, at first I responded to let the sender know that they had sent the email to the wrong address.  I received a very nice email from one of Brittany’s high school teachers a year or two ago.  I also had a heartwarming exchange with a woman who was trying to reach one of these strangers to participate with a group who was taking food to a family whose loved one was in her final days.  She reached the wrong person, but I surely would have taken a casserole if we lived in the same state.

Another time I began receiving a lot of email from someone’s dad.  I responded to let him know that his messages were reaching the wrong person.  He didn’t believe me.  He asked what I was doing.  I answered honestly – I was looking for a nursing home who could take my father.  Since he believed I was his daughter, he didn’t take kindly to that one.  I replied with a photo of my tear-stained face next to the headline of that day’s newspaper. I never heard from him again.  Most often my replies are usually ignored.

I tried to get AT&T to stop sending me Bernice’s messages, but after 20 minutes on hold, I gave up on that cause.  Now, when I receive messages for the other “Bs,” I just hit delete.

I receive vacation pictures, invitations to Thanksgiving dinner, and emails showing me the newest listings in Bel Air, MD.

The weirdest misdirected email that I received advised me that the “subject” had left the “perimeter.”  When I clicked on the link provided, I got the feeling that I was venturing into super-spy territory, and I wondered whose car was being tracked.

Terry and his wife have, previously, been advised that I am not Brianna, but they don’t believe me.  Brianna’s sister has already replied. Her brother was copied, too.  Mom and dad must wonder why Brianna never replies.

I talked to my own dear mother a few minutes ago. I know she’s not really in Cuba.  Brianna’s mom enjoyed seeing Hemingway’s apartment and like Mojitos.  She had a scary experience in a decrepit building where she followed a shady guy to the 3rd floor because he had a “good deal” to show her.  I’m happy Brianna’s parents lived to tell THAT tale.  I’ll pray for their safety.

I’m assuming that the other people who use my email address primarily give it out as a “spam” address.  If only I had their true email addresses, I could forward their emails from Mom, Dad and the crazy stalker person who has set a perimeter.  I don’t, though, so I’m torn about whether or not to wish “Mom” and Terry a safe voyage from the daughter they never knew they had.

Life is strange sometimes.

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