bunt sign

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

I love my little post office branch, I really do. It's by far the friendliest local office of the U.S. Postal Service that I've ever done business in. They're so friendly, in fact, that I try to avoid any situation that might force me to stand in line there. Sometimes the lines are long, and it's obviously not worth the wait. Even when the line is short, though, I can count on spending too much time waiting to get to the clerk's window.

Oh, do they love to talk at that branch. And they're all bilingual, which speaks well of them and stands them in good stead on this side of town. They're extremely patient in explaining every nuance of every available service, from certified to registered, including return receipt and insured value. Even when someone just wants to send a package on its way and get the heck out of there, they get a dizzying torrent of information.

That can make a trip to the post office entertaining, more entertaining in fact than productive. I'm usually trying to get out of there and get back to work, but I do believe these particular postal workers are indifferent to the passage of time. I'm not even sure they're actual paid civil servants. It's possible they just wander in from the neighborhood and do what they can to help out, as if this were a community service project.

None of this bothers me much, because I've managed to convince the Boss that it's not worth his time for me to go to the post office window. His time, of course, is more important than anyone's, and not to be trifled with. It would be scandalous for me to spend his time in the post office, when I could be helping him needle some state agency into paying us, or bully a supplier for a lower quote.

Whenever he suggests I send something by Express Mail, I whine a little and he decides first class is good enough. There's no standing in line to put an envelope in the first class slot.

What does bother me is that for two days in a row last week there was no mail in my box at this post office. No mail. For two days. That's so incredibly unheard of that I still wonder if I might have dreamt it. Even when I started getting mail again, it was just a trickle at first, then a flood.

Here's my theory. They don't really read the box numbers on the envelopes. They just move them around until someone claims them. Hopefully, if they get put in the wrong box, the person will brave the lines and take them back to the window, or drop them in the outgoing mail slot, to be run through the system a second or third or tenth time.

According to this system, the mail gets shuffled around, back and forth and up and down, until it eventually lands in the right box. I'm pretty sure that sooner or later I get all my mail. I don't want to complain or rock the boat because they're all so damnably nice in that place.

I have enough faults of my own that I'm content to live with others', right up to the point where I have to borrow money because a check I was expecting a week ago hasn't arrived yet. That's when it gets personal, even when it's business. There still isn't anything I can do about it, but it helps put some force behind my complaints to those people. They're very sympathetic to my problem, and totally incapable of doing anything about it. Very nice about it all, though.

looking west

Looking west toward the Sebastopol hills at midday.

This isn't a "very special episode" at all, obviously. (We like to think all our episodes are special.) It is a milestone of sorts. Unless I'm wrong (and, you know, I'm not) this is the one thousandth entry in bunt sign. It's the 999th day, but I once did two entries in one day. I'm pretty sure I'll be back tomorrow with number 1,001.

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One year ago: Cheer
"So we'll see how long this march into happyland bears up under the weight of my normally neurotic disposition."

Two years ago: Lighter
"Sometimes I don't know which pile something goes in, or maybe it belongs in two or three different piles. When that happens I usually just start another sub-pile."

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