I was so proud of myself when I filled out the customs form. “Total value of imported goods: $120.” It’s true that I’d bought a cashmere sweater in Paris ($100 value), and a book ($20 value).
But—thanks to a customs loophole—there was no need to declare the tuna ($30 value), the Ariel detergent ($30 value), the chocolates ($60 value), or the salad dressing ($10 value) I’d mailed home.
Alas, my genius plan had one small flaw: The cap on the salad dressing was apparently not designed to actually contain the product. So when I went to pick up my package at the post office last night, the clerk said “I’m so sorry” as he handed me a moist, moldy box.
It’s never good to see your contraband wrapped in haz-mat plastic.
I felt like I was doing an alien autopsy as I gingerly removed the contents one by one.
I was relieved that my wide-angle converter lens had been spared a creamy, garlic-and-chives demise.
And I was amused to see that some of the unneeded tampons I’d tossed in the box had done their super-absorbent best to sop up the spill.
In the end, I was able to salvage the tuna, the bath gel, and much of the detergent I’d bought for my friend Laurice. The three boxes of mini-chocolates from Maxim’s, however, were a loss. Sigh.
I’m disappointed, but I’ve learned an important lesson: Next time, I’ll seal the salad dressing lid with tape. And then I’ll send it home in Esteban’s luggage.
Just kidding, honey …