Friday, October 29, 2010

Mail Disorder


Working in a doctor’s office, it is not unusual to encounter patients who have scheduled an appointment for what they delicately refer to as ‘female problems’. I assume they are not referring to the fact that laundry, left in a dark closet, can and will breed like mosquitoes, doubling its volume overnight. Or that pants sold in the women’s section of clothing stores do not seem to be designed for people who have thighs. Or butts.

Those are problems I’m sure any female can relate to. Me, I have mail problems. 

Yes, I do mean mail, as in the U.S. Postal service, although I am outnumbered by Y chromosomes in my household two to one, so I occasionally have problems of the male variety, too.

It’s not a complicated process, mailing a letter. People have been doing it successfully for centuries. You put something in an envelope, seal the flap, scribble an address on the front, apply postage, and deposit it into an approved mail receptacle. And yet…

First, there’s the stuff you put inside. Like the phone bill. Which requires that you not only write a check in the proper amount, but also put the check into the envelope before you seal the flap. And position the invoice so the address actually shows through the window. Or remember to copy the address from the invoice onto the envelope, again before sealing that pesky flap.

I use a lot of Scotch tape.

Next, there is the postage. You have to have some. Preferably in the current approved amount, and applied before you drop the envelope into the mail slot. Especially if you are six hundred miles from home when you mail your car payment, meaning the letter won’t bounce back to you the next day in the hand of a mail carrier with a pained expression.

I’m fairly sure my picture is on a dartboard somewhere down at the post office. You could probably go there tomorrow, drop a blank, sealed envelope into the slot, and they would bring it to my office on the assumption it must be mine. I am, after all, the person who managed to mail a letter that was not only not addressed or stamped—it wasn’t even in an envelope.

And that’s only run of mill stuff. Add the pressure of mailing something that’s time sensitive and I really fall apart. Don’t even talk to me about Next Day Air, or FedEx and UPS and their convoluted packing slips. I have to have a telephone number for the recipient? A physical address, instead of that handy P.O. Box number? Aiiggh!

And there are deadlines.

We sold our house in Oregon on a contract for deed. This required much faxing, reviewing and signing of documents, which the title company requested that we return to them ASAP, so they could close the deal before the end of the month. We dashed into town on Friday afternoon to have the paperwork notarized and copied. Carefully filled out the FedEx slip. Checked and double checked that all of the required documents were included before sealing the envelope.

“You’re sure we’ve got time?” my husband asked. “We could take it to UPS this afternoon.”

“Nah. We’ve got another ten minutes before they pick up packages from the Fed Ex box.”

I walked the block down to the box. Carefully slid the envelope into the hatch. And just as it slipped from my fingers and beyond retrieval, I saw the little sign.

Today’s pick up complete. Next scheduled pickup…Monday.

I stared at the box. Stared at the sign. May have muttered a few bad words. Then I walked back to the car.

“Good to go?” my husband asked.

“Yep,” I said.

Because it turns out those women’s magazines are right. Some secrets are good for a marriage. 



Anonymous said...

I so enjoy reading your posts.. Today's made my day !! Some things ARE better left unsaid... :)

Ron Scheer said...

I thought it was just me. Ha.

Kari Lynn Dell said...

Ron: Do as I did. Move to a town where your cousin is the postmaster and willing to retrieve the bank bag you accidentally dropped into the mail slot.

Bill Kirton said...

Loved it - especially posting a letter with no envelope. But the thing that amazes and impresses me is the fact that, in the USA, mail is left in those boxes outside your houses where it's accessible to any passer-by.

Kari Lynn Dell said...

Bill: More and more people are going to some sort of locked mailboxes,what with the increase in identity theft. But you probably would be amused to know that although the mailboxes at our rural drop site do lock, all packages are put in a big wood box where everyone can see who's getting stuff from where, and how often.

Ron Scheer said...

Something I never fail to notice when I'm in ranch country is the line-up of mail boxes along a main road. Could be 4-5 or a dozen or more. They're usually decorated in different ways, and I invariably stop and take a picture.

Crystal Posey said...