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I Just Want to Mail This... Please?

A Post Office Fail


When you're young, you look forward to the mail, because anything that could possibly come in the mail addressed to you was a gift, a card, or something else that was FUN! I loved getting mail up until I graduated college.

After you graduate -- 4+ years of hard work done, yay! -- you quickly hit a brick wall of reality. I worked through college and understood at least to a degree the value of money, but nothing quite prepares you for being done with college, unemployed, and the recipient of bills.

About bills: there are two types of envelopes. If you don't already know this, you will. I have delicately and with much precision illustrated this:



So that's the first issue I now have with mail. Too many of the long envelopes.

When it comes to the post office, I have fears. So when Jeremy asked me to mail something (a return package to Amazon), I agreed but silently panicked. Normally, I go to FedEx. I still don't know what I'm doing in there but they have pretty standard boxes and packages. I will fill out a form and they will type it up and mail it for me. It's not too bad. Plus, there's a Starbucks nearby so if the trip is especially nightmarish I can always console myself with caffeine.

The post office is much closer (I still prefer FedEx... routines, ya know?). My only previous experience at this post office was getting my passport last year. I had spent so much time tracking down everything and had made an appointment to apply. When we got there, they told us there was no appointment. They handled our passport application anyway, but still that memory haunts me. I know, yes, I'm aware that I'm overly dramatic but seriously you don't know what it's like in my anxious brain. (I did get my passport!)



This time, I walked through the post office doors. I'd read over the Amazon return shipping instructions meticulously. I selected the padded envelope in which I would mail the item. I filled out the return label. I approached the counter as my heart pounded.

The lady at the counter asked how she could help. How? I don't know. I don't know what I'm doing.

"Can I mail this like this?"... that's what I asked her, showing the package with the return label on the front.

She looked at me like I was from space. "Uh.." *Shrugs in agreement

Now I felt like a fool. Laura, of course you can. You can mail a shoe with a stamp on it. You can mail this.

"Ok well I just need it taped on and mailed."

And she did.

Why is this a story? Why is mailing a package a big deal at all?

It seems to me that the post office is like a dark, magical space where people go in and out and carry out business in secret ways that only they understand. When I walk in, I feel like an outsider. What are this place and its magical secrets?

Yeah, I don't know. I can't explain it, and if you don't have these issues you won't understand it. That's ok. Just know that I'm crazy.

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