recently, i ordered a painting online from an artist i’ve admired for a while and i really looked forward to finally having a piece of her beautiful work up on my wall. within hours of my order, amelie personally responded with a thank you, told me she lived in poland, said she’d post it the next day, and that i should plan to receive it within a week’s time. i happily awaited its arrival. this was where things began to take a turn.
true to her word, within a week, i arrived home and found a ‘you were out when we tried to deliver your package so you missed this chance and now we need to come up with another plan’ note from the post office, stuck to my door. the choices offered on the note were that i could check a box to have my package redelivered and left in my door, or i could pick it up at the post office. i went with the pickup at the post office option.
the next day, i waited in the long line, made my way to the front, and presented the woman at the counter with my note. after looking in the back, she came out empty-handed and announced, ‘funny, we can’t seem to find it. maybe it never made it through customs.’ i replied that i thought it was odd because it obviously had made it here as it was ‘almost delivered’ the day before. her response, ‘well, maybe it will get delivered to your house tomorrow or it will turn up back here. if you don’t get it tomorrow, call us or stop back in.’
the next day: still no package. i went back in, stood in line, got to the front, gave them my note again, all with the same results – no package to be found. they called the manager of the branch to the front who she said she would look into it and do her own investigation, as she could not figure out where it could be, told me to give it a few more days.
in the meantime, amelie emailed me from poland to see if it had arrived safely, and i told her it had been here, but was now lost. she wondered if said if perhaps her english wasn’t good enough because she didn’t understand. i assured her that i had a pretty good command of the english language and that i did not understand either.
in a few more days: still no package. i went back in and this time, the post office said, ‘hmmm, this has happened to a few other packages here, i think the night guy just likes to clear them out of here and sends them on. i’ll check into that. do you have any insurance on your package? i’ll let you know tomorrow what i find out.’
the next day: ‘oh it’s you again. let me get the postmistress to help you.’ she comes out and this is our conversation:
pm: for some reason it looks like they’ve forwarded your package on. do you have some other address or a forwarding address of some sort?’
me: ‘no i do not. i have lived in my house for 10 years and have no reason to forward my mail anywhere.’
pm: ‘well, for some reason it’s been forwarded, though we can’t tell where, probably downtown, and because it will get there with no forwarding address, it will be forwarded back here. we’ll call you when it gets here, it should only take a week or so for it to get forwarded back here.’
me: ‘so, are you saying it was forwarded somewhere but you don’t know where or why and because i don’t have a forwarding address it will be forwarded back here and somehow find it’s way back here to you?’
the next week: i went in, brought my tattered note, and waited in line one more time. upon my arrival at the counter, the postmistress appeared at the counter, retrieved my package from the back, covered in postmarks and stickers, with no further explanation. i went home with my painting, emailed amelie to tell her it was in my hands at last, and assured her that her english was just fine.
how the postal workers at the counter appear. everything is under control.
what is really going on in the back. their system is up and running.
when it all gets to be too much. where some of the lost mail goes missing.