This Side of the Pond

Notes from an Uprooted Englishwoman


May 26, 2022

I come to you this week with either a request or a confession, but I’m not really sure which it is. A mystery has confounded the Sundance Times office for the last week and I’m hoping somebody out there can help us solve it.

First, the potential confession: there is a possibility I may have eaten somebody else’s pizza. I don’t think I did, but I also can’t prove I did not.

Our confusion began last week when a familiar scent wafted through our front door, followed by a lady bearing a delivery bag from everyone’s favorite local pizzeria.

Inside was a personal-sized circle of barbecue-chicken-and-cheese delicious that she announced was for “Sarah at the Times”.

So far, so good: I’m the only one of those, as far as I’m aware. However, unless I’ve taken to fulfilling my secret desires while asleep, I hadn’t actually ordered myself a pizza.

This concern, too, was addressed by the helpful delivery lady, who said it came with a message that simply said “thank you” followed by a name.

Now, it just so happened that I’d arranged to meet up with a person by the same name that very morning for an interview, but she hadn’t yet turned up. This was the second time she’d been unable to make it, which wasn’t a problem because I completely understand she has the kind of job where things come up last minute and need to be dealt with right away.

I assumed the message was from her and sent a quick message to say thank you and let her know I was more than happy to rearrange. I then set about eating my pizza, which was just as good on the tastebuds as the scent had suggested it would be.

But just as I polished off the last bite, my absent interviewee appeared in the doorway. She was available for our chat after all, and the pizza wasn’t from her.

Which left me with a problem: I now had no idea who to thank.

I called the folks at the pizza place to ask if they might have any more information about my mysterious benefactor. Unfortunately, it turned out that this person didn’t go into the store in person and had called in their order via phone, which meant nobody had actually seen them.

Nevertheless, I was able to get a little more to work with: the person had given their first name and then further identified themselves as “from” one of our prominent local establishments. I was also able to confirm that the order really was for “Sarah at the Times”, which, as you might imagine, I was growing increasingly concerned about considering there wasn’t a single crumb of that pizza left.

But now I had a new problem: unless there’d been some changeover up at said local establishment while I was off galivanting in the UK, I didn’t know of anyone working there by the name I was given.

Now, it’s perfectly possible that the line hadn’t been too good when my pizza donator had called to make their order, or there may have been noise in the store. I wondered if perhaps the name I had was a couple of letters out and the location would be a more fruitful lead, so I contacted the manager to beseech his help.

He replied with the bad news that, while his name does sound sort of similar, it wasn’t him. It also didn’t come from the only person he could think of up there with a similar-sounding name and he’d run out of ideas on who else it could be.

At this point, I was pretty much out of options – and I still am.

I was hoping that I might find out naturally next time I ran into the person who ordered it, but nobody has mentioned pizza to me in the days since. Except, of course, my colleagues, who think it’s pretty funny that I may be an accidental thief.

This is a horrifying prospect, but it’s only part of what’s worrying me. While it’s true that I don’t like the idea of unwittingly eating somebody else’s treat, especially when I can’t see a way to let them know I did it, I’m also left with no choice but to be rude to my benefactor.

So if you’re the kind soul who decided to buy someone a pizza (whether it was me or not), I’d be endlessly grateful if you could give me a shout. I need to either apologize for eating a gift you didn’t mean for me, or say thank you very much for the best lunch I’ve had in a good while.


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