Monday, July 7, 2008
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.
Posted by Spike Gillespie at 3:58 PM