Monday, July 7, 2008

Going Postal

I've had the same p.o. box for 11.5 years. I got the box because my first ex-husband was stalking me, and I had to go into hiding, and this was one way to try to keep him off my trail. In general, I love having a p.o. box-- I had one way back in the '80's in Knoxville, and this was the source of many excellent letters, the majority of them from Big Red. I'd get up, hungover, stumble to the p.o., listening to Leonard Cohen on my walkman (remember those?) and perk right up whenever there was a little something waiting.

My Austin p.o. box is less thrilling, sullied as it is by the catalyst that prompted its rental. And, since I moved to another neighborhood, now I have to drive to get my mail. But I hang on to the box for all sorts of reasons. Spending as much time in the p.o. as I do-- I'd estimate I make at least 300 trips there per year-- I've gotten to know some of the counter workers, or at least their clerk personalities. Today I got to interact with this newish, granola-ey woman-- remember the show Hodge Podge Lodge? Does anyone remember that one? That's who this clerk reminds me of-- not some new, Whole Foods faux-hippie. I'm talking the real deal, old school, long graying braid, probably has been making whole grain bread with her bare hands and homemade wine with her bare feet for at least forty years. She's not the most chipper of the p.o. lot, but today we sort of had a conversation. It went like this.

Me: Do I need more postage on these? (handing her envelopes.)

She: 21c on this one.

Me: (rooting in my bag for stray dollars) Okay, and can I have a sheet of stamps?

At this point, I strain to see what choices I have for new 42c stamps. My eyes are crap now, even with the bifocals, and so I say

Me: I can't really see them. Oh, wait, you have the hearts. I'll take the hearts.

She: Which hearts? We have three? The wedding hearts, the purple hearts, and the Valentine hearts.

Me: Oh, let's skip wars and marriages! I'll take those red ones.

She: I'll bet some of those men who got purple hearts wish they could've skipped what they had to do.

Me: As a wedding officiant, I can tell you I'll bet some of those people who got wedding hearts wish they skipped what they did.

Random stranger in line: HAHAHAHAHAHA.

I'm glad someone thought it was funny. Clerk Granola didn't crack even a hint of a smile.


Julie Gomoll said...

HodgePodgeLodge (betting it wasn't a single word camel-humped back then). I can't for the life of me remember anything, but I sure as hell know that name. I'm sure I saw it. The IMDB listing was sadly lacking...

You have some of the most amusing random dialogs of anyone I know. *Despite* the fact that you're so popular.

Julie Gomoll said...

uh... the purple heart is easy to spot, but which one is the marriage heart? Am I missing something?

Calamity's Child said...

Bloody hell, of course, I remember Hodge Podge Lodge! I am also a product of PO Box by divorce and mine is in a quaint little town that I could never give up. It's a bright spot in my day. Luckily I have great postal workers...although, there was that one time when the clerk asked me at Christmas if I wanted the snowmen stamps or the "Lady with the baby."

Warren said...

granola clerk is probably stuck in a loveless marriage to Rainbow Frog, who hasn't had a godammed job in 15 years.

meghan: said...

this is funny.
I don't go to the p.o. nearly as much as you do, but there is one attendant there who cracks me up EVERY time...
I hope granola clerk has something to smile about someday. :(