The Post Office and Me
I like the rhythm of my weekly routines and errands. I know others would disagree, but I don’t see things like laundry and grocery shopping as chores. I choose to look at these activities as a comforting framework to my otherwise dynamic and slippery schedule. One errand I really enjoy is going to the post office. I go there at least once a week. I know it’s odd, but going to the post office has been part of my life since… well… since forever.
Growing up, my school weeks were mostly uneventful; wake up, go to school, come home, do homework, watch TV, eat dinner, try to come up with something to do besides watch more TV, go to bed, repeat. The weekends, however, were different; I didn’t have to wake up early, and I got to spend time alone with my Dad.
Besides a busy general practice, Dad was very involved in the politics of medicine. He frequently had Saturday morning breakfast meetings, and I learned quickly that if I woke up really early, he would take me with him. My favorite locale was a restaurant in Crystal named Tally Ho. We went there often enough on Saturdays that everyone knew us and would say hello when we walked in. Dad would find me a seat in the corner of the large meeting room, and being an only child, I was good at keeping myself quietly entertained. I especially liked playing with the placemats; they had scalloped borders, and I liked folding all the half circles over to make a straight edge. Sometimes I’d fold the little bumps back out in patterns, but usually I’d rip them off and rearrange the bits into animals or larger shapes. I never understood the content of the discussions, but I loved listening to my Daddy’s voice. I wish I could go back in time to actually speak to the people who attended those meetings… not all were politically famous, but some were.
After breakfast, Dad and I would review his errand list for the morning. He always wrote his lists on 3×5 notecards, and strapped them to his checkbook with no fewer than seven rubber bands stretched in a grid pattern. The errands varied from week to week, but always included a stop at the post office.
To this day, Dad still believes that if you want to mail something, it HAS to be placed in a post office box at an official post office. Leaving it in a home mailbox isn’t reliable enough, nor is a mail drop at Byerly’s. Nope. And, if the letter/item to be mailed is REALLY important, you have to walk in and hand it to the clerk personally. As an adult, I have learned that you can leave mail at your door and the carrier will pick it up, but I’m always a little hesitant to do so. What can I say? I’m well taught.
The post office by my parents’ home is unique because it has an automatic postal carrier (APC) machine. These are super fun and convenient when the line at the counter is long, and your time is short. The machine’s touchscreen walks you through choosing the right postage, and prints out the various labels required. Once the package is all stickered-up, you can put it in the mail drop (I call it the mail hopper). The mail hopper has a big rotating drum for a door. One day, when I opened the door, I looked inside and saw a sticker at the bottom that read “you are beautiful”. I stopped and stood there for a moment… and read it again, and again, and again… feeling a smile creep onto my face with each re-read. I looked up to see if anyone else shared my newly discovered secret, but didn’t catch anyone’s eye. I went ahead and mailed my package as planned, and left the post office with a spring in my step. Such a happy surprise! Because I‘m forever trying to ingrain a similar love of daily-life errands onto my child, I took The Girlie back to the post office shortly after that to discover the sticker for herself. She had the same reaction that I did … read… freeze… read again… look around and smile. Since then I preferentially choose to mail things from the APC, just so that I can see that sticker. It always delights me.
Message(s) of the Day:
- The post office is still a cool place to visit. Go to the post office every now and then – it might put a smile on your face.
- The Universe thinks we are beautiful.