a few words about miss chelsea elizabeth...

she likes: making kites, dancing in the rain, adventures, little-while friends, letters, whole-leaf tea, crayons, bare feet, jumping in rivers/streams/creeks/waterfalls, language, catching the clock as it changes numbers, sleepovers, trains (big or small), cuddling & waking up before the sun rises, among other random things.

oregon-born, seattle-raised, bellingham-bred and franco-refined, she had moved back to the states from her affairs across the atlantic & now resides in columbia city with french husband & love of her life rémy. they spend most of their time taming the garden, taking care of their three chickens & two cats, and preparing the urban homestead for a new little chick of their own.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

ah, yes, the post office.

Whoever says snailmail is dead has obviously not walked into any post office anywhere in the entire world very lately. What is it about those places? Seriously. I have been to post offices on four continents now, and never EVER have I walked into one where the overly ridiculously long line hasn't made me want to turn around and walk right out.

"Why is this?" you may ask yourself. "What is it about these places that just scream administrative hell?" Well, folks, there seem to be some underlying trends that apply to all mail facilities.

First of all, no matter how big the post office you are visiting may be, there are only ever two windows open, maximum. Even (and/or especially, depending on how you look at it) during the big holiday seasons. If you see a third employee approaching a closed window, do not get too excited, because either a) they have just forgotten something at their desk, or b) if they DO miraculously open, one of the first two windows will promptly close. This is not to say that post office workers do not deserve breaks or sometimes need to do other stuff that is not at a window, but rather brings up the question, "Why build so many windows in the first place?"

Secondly, the person in line in front of you will always, ALWAYS have some ridiculous business to take care of that is so complicated and takes so many forms and steps that you wonder if maybe stamps have become incredibly hard to come by these days. These transactions will take an eternity and will most likely require the post office worker to leave his/her desk for at least five minutes at a time, while either a) searching for a package somewhere, b) making photocopies of some obsolete form no one cares about, or c) going to ask another employee a question no one in the entire building knows the answer to.

When a window FINALLY opens up, and you approach it, you will most likely hesitate, because the employee behind the desk will be finishing up some paperwork, stamping said paperwork in five different colors and fonts and then filing said paperwork. You will do the "I'm still in line!" dance, rocking back and forth on your the balls of your feet, glancing obsessively between the person who has just moved up to take your place at the head of the line and the open-and-yet-oh-so-closed window you really want to walk up to.

Two possible choices follow:
1) You decide to go for it and walk right up to the counter, even if the post office worker glances up at you with a cryptic glare which means either "go ahead, but this is gonna take a while" or "go to hell", at which point the window next to you will promptly open and the new head of the line will scurry over and start their own transaction before you even have time to blink.
2) You turn around and flash an apologetic look at the new head of the line, then look directly at your feet as you shuffle awkwardly backwards trying to reclaim your lost spot (as the rest of the line grumbles and stumbles unwillingly giving you a little wiggle room), at which point the quasi-open window's staff member will promptly put up their "please see next window" sign and make themselves suddenly absent.

These are post office facts of life, ladies and gentlemen, as unfortunate as that may be. Country, culture, and language may change, but there will always and forever be a line at the post office.

And that, my friends, is why you probably haven't gotten a letter from me in quite some time.

1 comment:

Celioche said...

Haha! This is soo tue, Chelsea, I remember such situations here in Clermont, also in Galway.. well I guess we're always the unlucky ones when it comes to queuing.