By Mir
March 3, 2006

It became clear this morning that I needed to get up, get showered, and leave the house. My fragile shreds of sanity demanded that I peel myself away from the television and see about rejoining society. Of course, it would’ve been much more appealing if said society was not encased in 5 degree wind chills and whipping winds, but I do not make the rules. Or the weather. Alas.

No matter. I would grab the bull by the horns! I would seize the day! I would take some advil and scrub the YES off of my breast!

I am a woman of lofty plans. Do not hate me just because my life is fabulous.

My first clue that things might not go exactly as I envisioned came as I stood in the shower, trying to scrub away the vestigial swaths of Betadine across my chest. It wasn’t until I realized that the permanent marker was gone but these yellow splotches still remained that it occurred to me that… maybe… it wasn’t Betadine.

Hey, guess what! Bruises don’t wash off! Also, OW!


Anyway, I survived the shower. I dried my hair and put on clean clothes (woo!). Then I really wanted a nap.

But! I made a list of errands I needed to run. A visit to Target to pick up the kids’ prescriptions. Put gas in the car. Get some food I actually feel like eating. Take a few packages to the post office. Nothing too strenuous or difficult.

Now, because I am so very clever, I figured I would go ahead and use Click-N-Ship® online so that I wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time at the post office. I don’t like the post office. People are cranky there. Anything I can do to minimize the time I have to spend within that particular vortex of grumpiness is good by me.

I prepared my packages and headed out the door. First stop: gas station. I filled up the tank and returned to the driver’s seat a popsicle with wild wind-blown hair. And wanting a nap. I was mentally calculating how I could cut down my chore list. Well, food is overrated. I could probably skip that. Onward to the post office!

At the post office I grabbed my packages and ran inside as quickly as possible, smoothing down my hair. (I didn’t want a repeat of oblivious spaz hair while I was running my errands.) There was an elderly man up at the counter, speaking earnestly with both postal employees. A middle-aged woman stood back in the line area, and a guy in his twenties hovered near the counter with a stack of packages.

I faltered. Ordinarily, if your packages are ready to go, you can sort of sneak up to one of the windows and just drop your stuff off. But both clerks were deep in discussion with this man. (Apparently, he hadn’t been home to receive a signature-required delivery, and now was trying to figure out where his package had gone. Why this required two people to assist him, I’m not certain. Perhaps his package had been stolen by vicious postal gnomes. Maybe they were dusting the “missed delivery” slip for prints. It was unclear.) I opted to stand behind the woman in the line area.

After a prolonged confab, one of the clerks suggested that the other one go help the next person in line. The young man with the packages lunged for the counter and said he just needed to drop off. The clerk smiled and motioned for him to go ahead, and I took that as my cue and darted forward as well. I put my packages on the counter and said, “These are ready to go, too.” The clerk nodded and the man and I both turned to go.

“HELLO, AM I INVISIBLE?” boomed the woman waiting by the “Form a single line here” sign. “Why is everyone cutting in front of me in line? I AM WAITING HERE!” Babies within a 2 mile radius began to wail and the paint melted off the walls. Several display cases shattered. The man and I both froze and exchanged glances. He cleared his throat.

“Um, I was just dropping off. Those already had postage,” he offered to the outraged woman.

“There is a LINE–” she continued, undeterred.

“Yes, but, if you do the postage online, you can just drop off!” I chimed in. I smiled brightly, trying to communicate to this woman that we weren’t conspiring against her, or anything, but that sometimes you just need to drop things off, and the unwritten rules of Postal Etiquette say that’s okay. Postal Etiquette does not dictate that one must stand on line for an hour behind confused senior citizens and assorted patrons needing to buy stamps just to hand your packages to the clerk.

“I HAVE BEEN STANDING HERE–” she continued to sputter, and the man and I exchanged looks again and sprinted to the door. He held it open for me while chuckling.

“It’s called the joy of online postage, lady,” he cracked as I ducked under his arm.

“Yep,” I agreed. I wanted to say something witty, but we were back out in the biting wind and my only priority was getting back to my car before I froze or that woman came after us and beat us to death with her priority mailers. Luckily, I made it out intact. But from now on I plan to drop off all of my Click-N-Ship® packages under cover of darkness so as not to draw the ire of those who believe in the Sanctity Of The Line Above All Else.

I think it’s a myth about postal employees going nuts and shooting people. I think it’s the people who have to wait in line and don’t have computers that end up doing all the killing.


  1. Contrary

    You’re so brave! The post office is skeery, even here in our very small town.

    Did you get the rest of your stuff done? If so, color me impressed!

  2. buffi

    I’m not positive, but I could swear that my best friend has the mailman (pardon me, postal carrier) pick up her packages from her house. I haven’t attempted this yet, so I could be totally talking out of my ass.

    And, I would have milked the boob pain thing for a few more days. I am so impressed that you actually got dressed and left the house. I won’t do that much with a hangnail. I’m such a wuss.

  3. CharlestonGirl

    Glad you were feeling up to heading outside, in spite of the frigid weather! Hope you’re feeling much better soon. Have a great weekend sweetie!

  4. Marvo

    You TOTALLY cut in front of her, and that was a frickin’ sweeeet move. :-) I call that a “Classic Cut.” When you walked out of the door, you should’ve pointed at her and said, “BOOYAH!!!”

    You didn’t do it this time, but maybe the next time. :-)

  5. chris

    I don’t think my local post office has computers. They don’t even bring the mail to our house, we have to go there to pick it up.

    Hope you are feeling all better soon. And it warms up!

  6. Coleen

    At the post office near my last job, they had three counters and a separate stamp counter available – yet they sent half of their staff to lunch at the same time everyone else was coming in to make their post office deadlines. Is it me, or does that seem awfully strange? I know the Postal Service has to, break and all, but can’t they break at non-peak hours?

  7. Marti

    I feel for ya (but not on the bruised spot – owie!)

    I am blessed to be near a lovely small town PO. They know me (we have kids in the same class at the one high school that serves a vast rural area here) They have a big flat counter space that is lower than the regular counter, and if you’re pals, you can just walk in and dump your load (of pre-postaged packages LOL)wave and holler “Hi!” and they’ll smile and get your stuff put in the Big Bin of Outgoing Boxes.

    I too have heard of home pickup, but I think there may be a minimum package number (like 10 per day or such) I don’t usually have that many, so I never tried it.

    Best wishes to you for speedy recovery!

  8. ozma

    Postal employees really do shoot people sometimes and now you know why. (Of course, members of a variety of professions shoot people. And probably for good reason as well.)

  9. Mama Kelly

    I’ve had the experience of trying to scrub off bruises in my surgical past …. i feel your pain

    hope you feel better soon

  10. K

    Hope your recovery is swift(er) and complete. I tried online postage yesterday for the first time. Just stuck it in my mailbox with the outgoing mail and wished it luck. So brazen. I’m living on the edge, baby.

  11. Aj

    If I had just scrubbed a YES off of my boob and was trying to “re-enter” society, there are three places I would avoid at all costs – the public library, the pharmacy, and the post office. So many cranky people in line with so many crabby things to yowl about. You went to two of them: you are my hero.

  12. Bob

    I, however, aspire to be that old lady in line. I am looking forward to my curmudgeonly years with anticipation.

    I hope you are feeling better today, and much less like a recently incised popcicle.

  13. Cele

    I get the small town postal treatment. They are awesome. But we don’t get home service. If you are feeling adventuresome you can have a mailbox down the street where a subcontractor will pick up and deliver your mail. You know those rows of mailboxes you see in movies where a group of bored juiced up teens, or umemployed greasy juiced up twenty somethings drive over with their cars for fun on Friday nights. (you guessed it I live in somewhat rural Oregon.) Most people know avoid the post office from 8:30 to 10am and from noon until 1:30. (newly moved here to die retirees don’t know this rule) definately avoide the 3rd of any month – social security check day. And Holiday Ship UPS – Fed Ex- or DHS, anything but UPSP.

    I can’t (or shouldn’t complain) they will hold my mail for three weeks and not bitch me out about it. Our post office employees very lovely people.

  14. bad penguin

    I spend a lot of time standing in line at the post office. A lot of time. And I’m fine with people dropping off packages that are ready to go.

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