Saturday, November 1, 2008

Going Postal

Meet our new Fiber Arts Community building:

It's a lovely three story building located near several restaurants, which, incidentally is going to bankrupt me. I will be tempted by the smells wafting into my studio to buy lunch every day. But that is not the point of this story.

If you were standing on the sidewalk in front of my studio building, then turned to your right, and walked one small city block, you'd find yourself in front of the post office. The same said post office that I stood in line for ten minutes waiting for my five minutes of frustration on Thursday.

"Can I help you?" asked the lady at the window.

"Yes. We had settlement on 526 Washington Street a couple of weeks ago. We're setting up the utilities, and were concerned that the utility companies would start sending the bills. We have no mailbox. We want you to hold our mail until we can get our box installed."

"Um, I don't know how to do that. Hold on. Let me get someone."

I worked for the post office. It isn't hard to hold someone's mail. And window clerks are supposed to know this kind of information. So Polly Postal-Clerk finds Debbie Doesn't-know-anything who attempted to appease me. But before that could happen, I had to say my spiel all over again.

"Well, let me take your name and number. I'll call you tomorrow and let you know what we can do."

Friday came and went with no word from Debbie. This morning I was woken up with a phone call from Debbie, who asked for Rebekah. Being half dragged out of slumber, I couldn't figure out why someone was asking for Rebekah when I knew deep in my knower that I was at my own home, the same home I've lived in for the last seven years. Then I realized I had also given my Rebekah's name to Debbie, since she and I are in this business together. Rebekah's the brains. I'm the artistic talent. At least, that's what she keeps telling me.

"Oh, no, I'm Melanie. I talked to you on Thursday."

"Oh, Ok, yes, now I remember, Melanie," said Debbie. "So I talked to your carrier. He said there's no way to deliver the mail. No way to even slip it under the door..."

I interrupted her, grumpily, "Yes I know." I emphasized the word know and drew it out long and annoyed. "That's why we wanted our mail held until we could get one installed. Floyd wants to order one..."

Debbie interrupted, "He doesn't have to order one. He can go to Lowes and get it up there. Especially since it's only one business in the building..."

"You mean, you can't hold our mail at all?" I asked, incredulous.

"Well, how long do you need us to hold your mail?"

"Maybe a week, maybe two. Maybe not at all. I don't know if anything will even come.."

The interruption game continued, "You haven't gotten any mail yet."

"Yes. I know. But we have had the utilities turned on, and we might start getting the bills."
"I don't think we can hold your mail for that long."

"If I went on vacation and filled out a hold mail slip, you could hold my mail for two weeks. How is this any different?" I asked, my annoyance giving way to frustration, and possibly anger.

"This is a new delivery set up..."

I didn't feel like hearing the lame excuse, so I mumbled my false comprehension and then hung up totally unsatisfied. I called Floyd, my father, who happened to be at the studio waiting for the heating people to come and look over the furnace and radiators. He was also cleaning toilets and shampooing carpets. I offered to come help, and he refused.

"So, Pop, here's the deal with the post office..." and I told him. "She said you could just go to Lowes and get a mailbox and just install it."

He snorted, "Does she want to come over here and install it for me?" He then went into lengthy discussion about locking mailboxes versus installing a mail slot in the door, including the ensuing argument between him and my mother over which would be the better options. Then I had to hear a summary about how much he had to do before he could even think about mailboxes versus mail slots.

I don't think I'll ever take my home mail slot for granted ever again.


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