It’s still snowing. Every day this week I’ve trudged through the snow and the slush to bring packages to the post office. What number of people is acceptable to allow to go ahead of you in line? I think it’s one or two, but I’m just not sure. My arms are filled with packages. They have a pick up slip in one hand, a toddler by the other. Or the elderly man with his cane. I let him go ahead of me. But then another person comes in. I study their hands like a creep. A stack of envelopes… are those Christmas cards going out or is it the mail they just picked up? I feel like I could let the whole place go ahead of me. The Postmaster knows me by name. “We lost one didn’t we Jen?” he said to me today, referring to a package I called in to USPS headquarters after it hadn’t arrived in 14 days and only had tracking info as far as my own post office. The line was stretching out the door behind me, and I’d let two people ahead of me already. “To Reading, Pennsylvania if I’m correct?” He was correct. I was reshipping it as we spoke. It’s kind of amazing that things don’t get lost more often.
I feel so bad for the people working those telephones at USPS. While I was on the phone filing a claim I could hear at least three other conversations in the background. Postal Workers trying to be patient and requesting that the customer on the phone please stop shouting. “Sir, I personally don’t know where your package is, but I’m gonna do all I can to help you find it,” I heard a woman say. It’s amazing how angry people get this time of year. How they yell at people. (I am including myself in the people who have been yelled at this season. It feels really bad).
I let a woman go ahead of me in the post office and in the same breath that she was thanking me she started complaining about how she was only here because USPS wouldn’t deliver her package because their dog was loose outside. It took the postal clerk three times to explain to the woman that there are new, strict laws placed on them due to the number of USPS workers that have been injured by dogs while trying to deliver mail. The UPS guy that delivers to our neighborhood carries dog treats with him. I watched him toss one to an over-protective German Shepard across the street.
By the way, I love Karen Carpenter.
And I love Anne Murray.
For the past three years I have been carefully curating a Christmas station. I listen to it every day from the Monday after Thanksgiving until Christmas. Working in my office like a little elf. Wrapping soap, tying ribbons, filling muslin bags with balms.
Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Vince Guaraldi, Burl Ives, Andy Williams, anything produced by Phil Spector. But then there are the outliers. (Karen + Anne…). My husband grew up listening to nothing but Amy Grant at Christmas. I’m sorry Amy, you didn’t make the cut.
Happy Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Happy Holidays.
And remember: don’t yell at people. It’s not nice.
PS As soon as I published this post Karen Carpenter started singing, on cue.
She must love me too.