Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Neither Snow, Nor Rain, Nor Heat, Nor Gloom of Night . . .

Yesterday evening, as I was coming home from work, I decided that it was raining lightly enough that I would go ahead and stop at the corner mailbox to pick up the mail, which was to include at least a couple of Netflix. So you can imagine my surprise when I started to pull over to the curb and realized that the mailboxes serving all of Benjiman Street were there no more. All that was left was the concrete slab with holes in it to indicate where the mailboxes had been.

I was, to say the least, nonplussed.

My perplexity soon turned to frustration when I got to the house and tried to contact the post office, only to find that there were no phone numbers available in the local phone book other than the generic 1-800 number for the US Postal Service, and that the number I finally found online for the Denton office gave me nothing more than a listing of the hours and address. Still, at least that listing reminded me that the Post Office was open until 6, so I hopped in my car and headed over there to find out if anybody knew anything; upon reaching the building and seeing the long line of people waiting to be helped, I quickly regretted not grabbing my copy of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell to read while I waited.

After about 15 minutes, one of the workers who had been helping only people there to pick up packages and certified letters and the like finally ran out of people to help, and so called out "Does anybody have any quick questions?" I indicated that I did and walked up to her saying "So, I got home from work and found that the corner mailbox for our street was gone --"

"Benjiman Street?" she said immediately, which was an instant relief for me, since it meant that I wasn't going to have to wait for someone to track down information. Although, I quickly learned that while she was aware of the problem, she wasn't all that well informed on what was being done about it, quickly scribbling down a number for me to call the next morning and leaving two names that I should ask for. "Call around 8:30" she said. "That's usually a good time to catch them." She started to turn to the next person with a question behind me, but I couldn't let the encounter go without asking "Do you know what happened to the mailbox?" She mumbled something about a city truck crashing into it, but wasn't much more forthcoming, so I headed home, still a bit put out at the inconvenience of it all*, but satisfied at least to know that I had a lead on some answers.

Until this morning, that is, when my call to the number she provided just gave me the same recording about hours of operation. At the end of the message there's a beep, almost like an answering machine, but nowhere in the message does it say "leave a message and we'll get back to you" or anything even remotely close to that, but I went ahead and spoke my name and number into the phone anyway, just in case. But, the end of the day came around, and still no call from anyone from the postal service, so I once again headed to the main post office, this time armed with my book to help pass the time in line. The lady who helped me this time was only slightly more informative -- it was apparently a City of Denton water truck that took out the mailboxes and there was no word on when the boxes would be replaced-- but vastly more helpful, as she actually retrieved my mail for me. Unfortunately, until the boxes are replaced, I'll have to go down to the post office and stand in line to pick stuff up. Pretty sure my trips will be timed to coincide with the arrival of new Netflix.

*Luckily I soon found the cure for my frustrations: two hours of people face-planting and falling in mud and water. Wipeout: the cure for what ails ya!


Flunky lover said...

I picked up that book to read before but I just don't have the time or brain cells for it right now. Let us know what you think.