Neither Snow Nor Rain

Long ago, on a sweltering summer day in August, the regular US mail contained a small card from my little niece.  Quite surprisingly, it was a Valentine.  The envelope was postmarked a few days before Valentine’s Day, six months prior to arrival at my home.

We will never know what happened to the vanished Valentine during those one hundred eighty-three days, but problems with the mail delivery vex me still.

See, a few times a week, envelopes and packages intended for the neighbors on my left and my right show up in my mailbox.  At the same time, a number of envelopes and packages sent to my address never reach me.  Social invitations.  Birthday gifts.  Important stuff!

What happened to the sacred trust between postal carrier and civilian?  Maybe this was just some nonsense spewed by Cliff Clavin, the grandiose postman on Cheers, but still, this is serious.  What is the deal with my mail?

A bit of detective work has revealed three problems that amalgamate into the proverbial Catch-22.

First.  The postal carrier doesn’t see the mail.

While placing the envelopes into the boxes, he does that thing.  You know, the over 40 thing.  The thing where you keep moving the paper closer to and farther from your face, but it doesn’t help.  The text just will not focus.  On many occasions, I have watched our carrier place the neighbors’ mail into my box.

Now, you would think that having vision correctable to 20/40 or so would be a job requirement for a postal carrier, kind of like swimming really well is a job requirement for a lifeguard, but apparently this is not the case.

Second.  The neighbors don’t “forward” the mail.

When mail for my neighbors is dropped in my box, I deliver the items to the appropriate door.  Clearly, this small courtesy is not a common practice in my building.  Never, not even once, in all my days here, has a misplaced letter or parcel appeared at my door.

No, it appears the “neighborly” behavior in my building is to leave the items on the bench in the mail room.  Free stuff for any passerby.  Great.

Third.  The cleaning people don’t rescue the mail.

The cleaners do not like stray paper.  This would be a good thing except they do not discriminate between fast food wrappers and official government mail.  Every day, they throw out the items left on the bench.  So much zeal I wish they would show for deodorizing the garbage room (currently doubling as a urinal for the homeless people).  But no.

Summary.  Postal carrier puts my mail in neighbor’s box.  Neighbor puts my mail on bench in mail room.  Cleaner throws out my mail along with actual rubbish.  Verbal requests and written notices go unheeded.

So please, do not entrust the US Postal Service to deliver anything to my current residence.  If you have something for me, deposit it directly into my hands or into my bank account.  Guess you really can’t trust a person in uniform after all.

© 2013 Jaclyn Schrier. All rights reserved.

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