Tuesday, December 20, 2011

......
AH, DEAR ME, I AM DRIVING myself crazy with this hobby of mine! This notion that I must put stamps on every outgoing package, can't let the United States Postal Service plaster my decorated parcels with their strictly utilitarian postal strips! I fear postage stamps will be raining down on me in my dreams tonight.

As many hobbies go, this one has its tricky little aspects, but I enjoy it (otherwise, why do it? [though I've got an answer for that, too*]). It's just that December twenty-five was providing me with a time crunch. I waited until Saturday to send out two packages which had to arrive before the big holiday. And Saturday, as you know, Reader Dear, gives us only half a day of postal service.






By eleven-nine I had finished affixing my adornments to the boxes. My next
steps: rush to the post office (a mile-and-a-half away) and have the packages weighed; come home and put on the stamps; then speedily retrace my route to the post office.

Glancing at the clock, I supposed I'd be able to beat it. But then--arghh--at the post office there stretched a line! But then--ahhh--it moved right along! By eleven-sixteen I was saying to the postmaster as he hoisted my second package onto the scales, "That one's going to Asheville, North Carolina. I was in such a rush, I forgot to put the label on it."
"What's the zip code?" he asked. "I need the zip code."
"Oh, the zip code?" I frowned and twisted up my mouth. "I don't know," I said. "Can't you tell me the zip code for Asheville?"
"Nope," he said, and he shifted my box off the scales, and looked expectantly toward the next person in line.
I beg your sympathy, Dear Reader, but I couldn't help myself; a note of irritation crept into my voice when I exclaimed, "You'd think of all places, I could get a zip code at the post office!" Then I added a bit hopefully. "I can look it up myself. Surely you have a zip code book?"
"Nope," he said. "We used to have one, but not anymore."
"Nothing?! You have NO way to find a zip code?" I looked around, just waiting for some guy to pipe up and tell me his ex-girlfriend used to live in Asheville and he well knew the zip. Or... ...geez, where is a smart phone when one needs one?!
"Nope," the postmaster said. It was his final answer.
.........
My phone is not so smart, but it does make phone calls to smart people. Alas, however, the calls to smart folks are not always to smart ones who answer each call. Six attempts I made, gritting my teeth each time I failed to hear "hello." Then I grabbed up my packages and marched out of that package-mailing place in a high dudgeon. It was eleven twenty-four.
........
The back of my car was loaded with paper and plastic and perfectly reusable stuff and the garbage disposal business that picks up our garbage accepts recycling on the first and third Saturdays of each month. They too close at noon. I knew if I missed that deadline, I'd have paper and plastic and perfectly reusable stuff to make me perfectly unhappy for three more weeks over the holidays. But...tick. tick. tick!
.....
It's eleven thirty-seven. I have unloaded my recycling, gotten my smart son on the not-so-smart phone, gotten the zip code, gotten back to the post office, gotten the postage due figure. Now if I can catch a reindeer...or maybe catch a break...
......
It's not nearly as much fun when I have to race the clock!
Back home, I pull out my chaotic pile of vintage stamps. Stamps are flying everywhere. It's eleven forty-two. I'm feverishly sorting and sticking for the next ten minutes. Tap-tap-tapping on the calculator. The old Christmas stocking? The drive-in movie? Otis Reading? How about the African violet? And the 37cent I Love You candy hearts? (good grief, all wrong for the season, but I've got so many, and something seems downright odd about mailing payments to the garbage disposal company with those heart stamps, even if the company is a dear when it comes to helping me unload my recycling with great dispatch!)
....
It's eleven fifty-four when I look at the clock. My first package is stamped and ready to go. I'm working on the second. But I know I've run out of time. I snatch up a handful of stamps, grab both boxes and go directly to the post office. I do not pass go. I do not put on a coat. I do not think to take my little calculator....
......
(back soon)

2 comments:

Shirley said...

These fantastical packages of yours, archived, would be the museum's most popular collection were you ever to achieve the deserved fame/notoriety.

KTdid said...

ha. just waiting for the notoriety!