Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Monday, July 9, 2012

It's Rodney. Mr. Dangerfield if You're Nasty.

I am the Rodney Dangerfield of my post office. Not because I'm touring summer resorts in the Catskills with my standup act. Not because I bought a building at the university with money earned from my Thornton Melon's Tall and Fat clothing chain, just so my movie son could be on the diving team. No, sillies. Because I don't get no respect!

I'll illustrate this point in a moment. You don't think I'm cutting directly to the chase, do you? Have you forgotten where you are? This is Val's place. Where no story is ever told in a direct manner, with a logical sequence of events. No. We must meander along the back roads and blue highways to enjoy the journey. Our destination will be reached soon enough.

Friday, my mom and I went to lunch. The world once again conspired against me, and we had numerous mishaps along the way. Upon leaving her, I said, "Just watch. I'll probably get home and find a card for a package to be picked up at the post office." And I DID! I'm kind of psychic that way. But I'm not one to drive back to town after gallivanting all over the county in 107-degree heat. So I figured I could pick it up on Saturday.

Saturday morning dawned bright and hot. Who wants to drive to town on a Saturday between 9:00 and 10:00? Not this Val. That would interfere with my soda trip around noon. So I put it off until today. Monday. Between Friday afternoon and Monday morning, I lost my little orange notification card to pick up the package. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The most efficient use of my time and gas was to combine the package pickup with the soda trip. I left home at 11:30. The journey was marred by the decaying carcass of a furry black kitty on the blacktop, just inside the city limits. Except it wasn't somebody's furry black kitty. It was nobody's stinking striped skunk with the white tucked under. Phew! That odor got inside my Tahoe and attached itself to my pulse points like Eau de Pepe Le Pew. But I forged onward. I was on a mission.

The post office offered me three empty parking spaces right out front. It only has three parking spaces right out front. A couple of dudes were waiting in their cars across the street, but it's next to a little park with a fountain. I thought maybe they were on their lunch break. I skipped inside to claim my package, presuming no line at the counter. And I was right! Because I'm kind of psychic that way. However...there was no line, because the counter was closed up like a roll-top desk, big silver curtain pulled down to make a statement. In tiny letters on typing paper, taped to the top of the counter curtain, was a makeshift sign proclaiming the office closed between 11:30 and 12:00, Monday through Friday.

In my shock at finding the counter closed, I almost forgot the pervasive smell of dead mouse that haunts this post office. Fourteen years I've been going there, and fourteen years I have been slapped in the face with dead mouse odor each time I enter. How are they going to protect me from anthrax if they can't even get rid of a dead mouse smell? You would think my skunkiness would have spared me the dead mouse aroma, much like Clarice Starling using Vicks VapoRub to escape the noxious fumes of a corpse in Silence of the Lambs. But sadly, it did not.

I leaned on a cool glass countertop to await the grand re-opening. Those hot car fellows could darn well line up behind me when the clock struck twelve. I whiled away the minutes by perusing the plethora of stamps released in 2011. Famous authors, famous scientists, famous minorities, green energy, Old Glory, flowers, cartoon characters...all I needed was a Bubba Gump on the federal payroll to recite them for me. Here's an idea. Hows about the post office print ONE kind of stamp every year. Furlough all the artists on the federal payroll, forget those printing costs, those different-sized templates and dies, and multiple dyes, and just have a black on white U. S. STAMP logo. There. Saved you millions. You can continue Saturday delivery now. You're welcome.

A woman came in and stood behind me. Then a dude behind her. Good thing they respected my before-them-ness, or I might have gone postal. Heh, heh. Get it? Because I was in the POST office, and they would have made me mad! But let's get back to the focus of our story: my severe lack of respect from postal employees.

After several false starts, just to tease us, I presume, the metal curtain lifted. I stepped up to the counter. "I have a package to pick up, but I misplaced my card. It's for Val Thevictorian."

"Do you have ID?"

Okay. Here's where I'm ready to go postal. Because I lose or forget those cards all the time. And during the school year, I have my mom pick up packages for me. And when the boys are available, I have them pick up the packages. And NEVER have they EVER been asked for ID. But I, the person whose name is on the freakin' label, is expected to show ID! That woman has handed out my packages to every Tom, Dick, and Mary, as far as she knows, without asking for ID. And then she wants to play that game with ME? Criminy! She's like neighbor Sally in Cold Mountain. She'd let a wolf have my package if it walked up to the counter. But let ME, the rightful owner of said package, wait fifteen minutes in a dead-mouse-smelling lobby while reeking of skunk, ask for my own property, and she gets all rule-followy and crap. Like rapscallions roam through Backroads, finding mailboxes with package slips in them, and then go to the post office without the package slip they found, and ask for the package. Let's get real.

"I left it in the car. Do I need to go get it?"

Sigh. Stomp off to the shelves in the back room. Holler: "What's your address?"

See what she did here? She made me holler my address. So all the rapscalliony stalkers waiting in line behind me could hear it. So they could follow me to the ends of the earth, or at least my home at the edge of Backroads, and knock me in the head and take my rightful package.

"Thirteen thirteen Mockingbird Lane."

She brought it out to the counter. "Next time, make sure to have your ID."

I don't get no respect.


Joanne said...

We have the postmistress from hell. I am the township clerk. When we need postage stamps I take a township check to the counter. PMH asks for my driver's license. I tell her the township doesn't have one. We have a staredown that mesmerizes all customers in line. She takes the check and forks over the stamps, warning me, "Next time bring your driver's license." Been going on for nine years, now.

Stephen Hayes said...

I don't want to be around when you finally do go postal.

Linda O'Connell said...

Dead kitty or no one's skunk with the stirpe down ... It is too earlt to laugh this much. It sets my wrinkles for the day.

Sioux said...

Don't fall for Linda's protestations. By the time she left that comment, she had already sent off (and got accepted) 7 stories. The woman is scary!

As a teacher--you get loads of respect? I'll have to transfer to Val Land.

Val said...

Ooh! The staredown! Reminds me of a public employee standoff. I'm no stranger to the public employee standoff. Five years working at the Missouri Division of Employment Security (commonly called the unemployment office) schooled me well in the old PES.

You are very wise.

I moonlight as a botox injector. I'll send you my card.

And whipped up five new educational toys out of Kraft Singles wrappers, old yogurt containers, and used dental floss! She'll be scarier after a couple of my botox injections.

As a teacher, I get loads of respect from students. And most colleagues. And the top administrators. There is a level, however, which has not yet sung my praises, what with me being invisible for the past thirteen years. Which may be a good thing.

Michelle said...

Thank you for the help with my carrots.I never know that. But it makes sense.I really enjoyed your post. You have great writing style. I am now following you.

Val said...

Here's another little-known fact: roots normally grow down, and stems up, due to geotropism. It's a response to gravity. In the same way, the stems will bend toward light in a process called phototropism.

One of the experiments on the space shuttle, suggested by a classroom of kids, was the effect of weightlessness on plants. I don't remember all the facts. Bean sprouts, perhaps. But they were a mess. All disorganized and meandering, because of no gravity.

Debora said...

Val, can I ride along on your next trip down to the post office...no better yet, to the D.M.V! I really wanna hear you tell that bespectacled prig behind the counter what's what when he decides to take a break just as your number gets called. I've got a feeling it'd be real entertaining...I'm kinda psychic about these things...LOL!


P.S. Thanks for the kind remarks about my poem on Becky Povich's blog!

Val said...

Hope you don't want to check my driver's license before you ride with me! It's hideous, you know. And in a maybe-not-coincidence, the DMV is now located RIGHT BEHIND the dead-mouse-smelling post office. Kind of a Zone of Evil where no goodness can survive.

Munir said...

Sigh - - I wonder if they can make the special stamp thing only limited to on -line purchase and like you say sell only one kind of stamps.

Munir said...

I hope that all is well with you.

Val said...

Yes, I just moved over to my other blog because this one had a lot of posts. Now the newer one has even more, and I'm too lazy to start up a new one.