Wednesday, May 27, 2009

But I LIKE going postal

I am going to tell you four stories regarding my warm and tender relationship with the U.S. Postal Service. One of them is false. You decide.

#1. When we were living in South Carolina, a package was supposed to be delivered to our home. I got a yellow slip, indicating they'd tried to deliver it but missed me -- twice. Both times -- I had been home. After the second time, I marched off to our postage-stamp sized branch office to sort things out. A woman I'd never met before was behind the counter, and we had a rather, uh, vigorous discussion during which she all but accused me of lying about being home during the attempted delivery. I left the P.O., fuming. Later, my husband got a call from the manager, one of the "regulars" who witnessed the event. "Your wife," he apologized to my husband -- and imagine if you will a very courtly Southern accent -- "is a verrry nice lady. We will figure this problem out right away." And they did.

#2. When it came time to leave our friendly hamlet of Simpsonville, SC, I made my way to the P.O. to mail some change-of-address cards. "You're leaving?" Dean, the counter clerk and father of a six-year-old girl named Caroline, asked incredulously, as if this were a personal affront that we chose to relocate our family to a different address. When I affirmed the bad news, he requested that we make sure to come back and visit. He didn't mean the town. The post office.

#3. When we lived in Arlington, MA, before my gallbladder was removed, I suddenly suffered one afternoon from a terrible stomach pain that necessitated my husband calling for an ambulance. As we left our apartment building with me on a stretcher, we passed our mail carrier, Carlotta, on her way in. She looked at me in shock, but all I could do as I wished for the relief of unconsciousness, was to offer a weak wave. Two days later, home from the hospital and scheduled for surgery, I shuffled down to the lobby to collect our mail, opened the box and found ... a get well card from Carlotta.

#4. Here in Austin, our weekday mail is customarily delivered by a delightful gentleman named "Mr. Tony," who happens to be African-American. He has often passed through our front yard as we sit on a blanket to read, and is ordered to stop and observe the latest tree-climbing trick, which he duly admires. Last night during dinner, there came a knock on our front door. It was Mr. Tony, in civilian clothing, just dropping by to let us know he was retiring at the end of the week and would no longer be delivering our mail. He got an intro to the chicks from the children, a handshake from Tim, and a hug from me.

OKAY! Cast your vote! Three of these stories are true. One is false. What'll it be?


Louisa said...

Ahhh.. all so heart-warming, and artfully told!

I pick #1.

Anne said...

#2. Because #1 sounds real. Just before one of our moves, we put in a change-of-address request. We had to use our new street address, but we were going to need a PO box at our new house. When we tried to get that PO box at our new post office, the change of address request hadn't yet gone through, and the manager (with whom we were never to be close friends) curtly informed us that before we could get one we needed some other kind of proof we were changing addresses FROM a real one as well as TO a real one. We couldn't get mail at our new house (we weren't on a mail route, which is why we needed the PO box) to prove we lived there at the present time, we at least had to prove that we had actually lived at the old address. We called our old post office to confirm that we had actually lived where we said we had (since our driver's licenses didn't count - we might have been terrorists with fake ones, you know). They asked our former mailperson, who said she couldn't confirm that, because the house was empty. BECAUSE WE HAD JUST MOVED. But we had just been there - didn't she remember delivering our mail? Apparently not. I can't remember all the details, or how we resolved it (probably by digging up some old bills eventually) but I remember it was ridiculous, and we were in limbo for a time with no deliverable address.

Amy said...

#4 - I don't think you hugged the postman. When we moved into our current house it had a hideous, rusty mail box on an ugly stem of bricks that leaned to one side with a mostly-dead bush around it. Zeke pulled all of that up and constructed a really nice post of 6x6" cedar and painted the rusty box black (with a red flag of course). We put some limestone rocks around the base and planted a fig ivy and mexican heather. The next day we got a note in our mail that said "Nice mail box! - Mailman Joe."

Eclectic Mama said...

#3. You're too skinny to ever have needed gall bladder surgery. :) And besides, a woman in Massachusetts named Carlotta? Puhleeeeeeze.

Stephanie said...

I vote #2. No real reason. Just wanted to play along.

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