Our complex is protected by a security fence with privacy hedges on all sides. This helps hide the sight of the busy highway and college campus on each end of the property. For the sound, not much help. No bother, though, right? We can get in and out and we know that not just any crazy off the street can access the parking lot of our complex. It takes the kind of crazy person who will wait by the gate and ask a resident to punch in the key or pull up in a car to activate the electronic gate to get in. Whatever.What could be wrong with this arrangement? Well, buckle up, soldiers, 'cuz this story goes all the way to the top.
Each morning, we get a visit paid by our friendly (I assume) letter carrier. He or she punches in our gate code and delivers all the bills, flyers, coupons, and credit card offers just like the friendly letter carriers in America. This week, we learned that something is rotten in the state of
Yada yada yada. Same old government hoops to jump through, and readers here will know we are no strangers to jumping government hoops. This week, with a large box coming with an expensive and fragile piece of equipment included, we decided to take no chances. Our anticipated delivery date was on a Monday, so the preceding Friday, I was to stay home, in the apartment, never out of earshot of the door buzzer, until the package arrived. If we were to miss this package, it would mean a four-mile round trip walk. Two to pick it up, and two carrying a cumbersome box home through the busy city streets.
Friday came. Friday went. No box. No slip. No word.
"Ok, so this time Monday means Monday." We said. "I'll just stay home on Monday to wait for it. Bit of a bummer, but as long as we get it, it'll be worth it."
Monday morning arrives. With the morning post, I noticed and envelope. On its face, Sara's name and our address, scrawled in pen. No stamp, no postmark, no return address. Inside the envelope, the dreaded green slip. "Sorry we missed you!" Dated on Friday, the day I chained myself to the house.
Faced with no choice, I alerted Sara to what was going to be an fun afternoon. We met for lunch and I thought sadly about what might have happened. "Do they have different people deliver packages than the regular letter carriers?" "Did this person pull up to the gate without the code from their own department?" "Surely this must be the first case of poor communication within an government entity, anywhere in the world." I felt bad thinking about having to bring this issue up to the overworked but friendly-as-possible-given-the-circumstances postal worker.
Bravely, I tackled the long walk to the post office. In nearby Donnybrook, I passed a church hosting a very large funeral. I had the unlucky timing to walk through the crowds, cars, and police as the pallbearers were bringing the casket to the coach. I felt underdressed with my black T-shirt, headphones, and large green backpack. Our nearest library branch is on the way to this post office, so I seized the opportunity to return some books and movies, no longer needed now that we have the internet at home.
At the post office, I reported the issue and, predictably, I was treated very kindly by a friendly post employee who confirmed my suspicion that drivers other than the letter carriers delivered parcels, and one of them might not have thought to get the code for our gate before driving to our complex. I gave her the new code, got her assurance that she would pass along the code to the parcel division, and got on my way.
The box was bulky, but it didn't begin to feel overly heavy until I was almost home and the rain clouds were just starting to roll in. It may have looked funny to onlookers, but I found no less than five coins on the ground, walking the same sidewalk I had taken to get to the post office. Maybe there is something to carrying a heavy box that makes one see more on the ground. For each coin, I made a point to set down the box on the ground, pocket the treasure, and heft the box again.
Getting home before the rain, I opened the box to reap my sweet reward.
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