You can always count on something happening in the post office by
and every week for the past twenty or so years Iíve sat down and knocked out one
of these columns. Each week that goes by, I search for something new to write
about. In all of these years I cannot think of a single thing that Iíve written
about more than once or twice. I seem to do a lot about men and women, but that
just seems natural to me.
The other topic Iíve focused upon is the government.
It always seems like there is something to write about in that category. I never
run out of things to discuss. This past week was not different.
might recall, weíre moving into another house. We finally sold ours and started
moving over a week ago. Moving entails changing your address, moving your utilities
and various other functions. If youíre trying to look for something to write about,
it also gives you an opportunity to observe new things, any of which might be
the subject of another weekly effort.
past week was no exception. My first trip was to the post office. You can always
count on something happening there. As luck would have it, I made two observations
which Iíll tell you about. Several years ago, we stopped receiving mail at our
house due to some folks stealing things in our box. We started using a post office
box. Trust me that has led to some things I could write several columns about,
but I donít have the time this week. Anyway, after standing in line for about
fifteen minutes I handed over my two keys for the box to one of the guys at the
counter. I told him that I had changed my address the week before and just wanted
to return the keys. He hands me a two page form to fill out. Iím thinking itís
to get the money back for the unused portion of my box rent which I had just paid.
Seeing that it looked rather lengthy, I stepped to the side so other people could
take care of their business. I told the postal employee that I would fill it all
out and was he the person that should get it once I finished. He saidÖ ĎYes, and
then I can give you your two dollars back.Ē I asked what happened to my box rent
and he said Iíd have to come back for another form; this one was just for the
return of my key deposit. I walked out, who has time to fill out two pages for
two dollars? Not me.
On the way to the car, another guy has one of the
drop in boxes open and is taking all of the mail out and putting it into a big
basket. A lady stops and hands him a couple of letters. He tells her they have
to go into the slot in the box once heís finished cleaning it out. She tells him
that sheíll miss the pick up if she has to do that and canít he just put them
in his basket while sheís standing there? He says, nope has to go into the box.
Then he closes the box, pushes the basket away and the woman stands there. I told
her to go back into the post office and put the mail in the slot inside, it might
still go out. Insanity.
call the alarm people to have my alarm disconnected. After you
go through about five minutes of some unknown music the voice mail prompt tells
you that if you want to change or disconnect your service, press three. I do this
and the music comes back on. Another three or four minutes goes by and finally
a real human (I suppose she was real) comes on the line and I tell her I want
to stop the service since weíre moving. She says I canít do this at this number
since they are the local office and I have to go through the national office to
cancel service. I ask if thatís the case, why have an option number three on your
voice prompt and she tells me that she really doesnít know , but itís always been
there and she gets asked this question several times a day.
final for the day was when I called the power company to disconnect my electricity.
Here again, you get a full ten minutes of Mozartís string quartet for cement pouring
or something like this. Anyway, the prompt tells you to enter your ten digit account
number and press the pound sign. I do this four times and each time it tells me
I donít have a valid account. Finally another human comes on the line ( I swear
itís the same woman as the one working at the alarm company) who tells me I donít
have an account with this number. I tell her thatís funny since they have been
cashing my checks for over ten years without any problems. She asks if there is
a hyphen before the last number in my account. I tell her yes and she says thatís
the problem. She says I must enter the account number as well as the hyphen. I
tell her there is no hyphen on a telephone and she tells meÖ ďI hear this every
I have to stop now and go unload some boxes.
Letters From North America March
11, 2009 column
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