Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Letters and Loathing

Why is it that just declaring that you are going to the post office brings up a collective groan? People immediately sympathize with you and describe a nightmare post office visit of their own. Sometimes they ask you what your game plan is or if you could maybe be so kind as to drop something off for them too. Anything to deter from going themselves.

I needed to mail out a package to a friend for weeks. It sat in my car in various locations. It sat in a closet and then moved to the front door. Finally, it was beyond late and it had produced offspring in the form of two smaller packages that actually had mail by dates. Fine, I grimaced, set my jaw, and decided Saturday was the day. EARLY Saturday I would hit the post office. Just get it over with already. As I drove into the parking lot I noticed the jam. People swarmed like ants in the parking lot zig-zagging every which way. Cars lurched forward and stopped unexpectedly. It was a maze of obstacles. I sighed letting my shoulders slump. I was not going to deal with this today.

My plan, because then I did create one, was to go during the week. A sneak attack in the early morning. While everyone else was commuting to work, I would be mailing my cumbersome packages. Heh. My plan was foiled by a tiny dictator in pink pants. While the packages were all neatly stacked back into the car, correct addresses and labels applied, she slept. Slept and slept and slept. A marathon of a freakin' nap. Finally, we made our way out, late in the day. I silently cursed the postal gods though I should have been appeasing them with tasty treats or something. As I drove up I noticed, "WTF! It's worse than Saturday! How could..., but..., WHY?! I joined the lurching cars and parked.

The winds were high and whipping around the parking lot so strongly my purse, which weighs quite a lot these days, blew away from my body alarmingly. Whatever, I'm stronger than wind and post office. I pressed onward. The car doors flew open almost knocking me over. T.D. got scared. The stroller almost blew away before I could put her in it. The stroller that was not big enough to hold all the packages or even one. The wrong stroller was in the car. Damn! I juggled the packages, fought the wind, and with one-hand steered the stroller through the lot. One older man asked if he could help. Nice. Except he was in his car, going reverse, and almost hitting two pedestrians and a giant Suburban. "No thanks kind Sir!" I really wanted to yell inexplicably, "Can't you see the mess you are creating?! GET OUT OF THE WAY!" The impatient Suburban lurched into my path. I yelled sweetly, "WTF Assface!", as the zig-zagging ant people stared. My hair blew into my eyes and around my face like Medusa's snakes. The transformation was happening faster than I thought.

Upon entering the post office, I know we are just getting through the doors, I saw the lines. The lines of slump shouldered people who moved as if off to a gulag. They looked like the tiny Mer people trapped in the Sea Witch, Ursula's, cave. I could feel myself caving and slumping as well as I joined their ranks. I stood in line, muttering like a crazy person, and a cheery postal worker asked if anyone had any packages to mail that were going outside the U.S. No one moved. OUTSIDE? I think a majority is inside the U.S. but what do I know? She got pissy right quick and barked at our collectively sad lot, "No one has a package going outside the U.S.?" Her piercing gaze eyed my packages. I looked quickly away, averting my eyes.

The man in line in front of me lurched forward. I'm next! I hear his grizzly voice ask for an envelope. "Oh for the love of...", I think. "You come unprepared?" Geez! I look at T.D. and say, "I know, I know, I feel the same way." She yells. Then I see him wander away from the counter without his stuff to the postal store side looking for an envelope. This ends up taking two postal workers plus the unprepared grizzled man about ten minutes to find an envelope that doesn't piss him off for some bizarre reason. I am almost bent at the waist at this point. Finally, it is my turn. It only takes a mere five minutes to get my packages into the mail system. That's it. Yet somehow we have been there for 45 minutes. I drag my tired ass out towards the door. Inexplicably I feel the urge to pull the fire alarm. I can't explain it. I feel it would almost be an act of mercy even if it's probably a federal offense. I would be setting these people free! I look away, head down, I steer us to the car becoming a zig-zagger myself.

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