Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas

I get to work at the Post Office in the morning, and there are a whole lot of packages. There should be, I mean, Christmas is just over 2 weeks away, right? Everyone in the office has a whole lot of packages. So I sort my mail, pull the route down, put everything in a big hamper and wheel it out to load into my mail truck. That's my morning in a nutshell. Pretty standard, at least until I get to the truck.
I push the hamper up to the back of my truck, take out my key and roll up the door. It flies up like the curtain being whisked away from a magician's trick, to reveal ... more packages.
I'd taken my hamper out to the truck before I even started to sort my mail, placing the whole hamper's worth of packages into the truck so they would have more room to sort the rest of my packages.

Which they did.

So I pull all those packages out and put them on the ground about the rear of my truck. I have to put in my trays of mail, you see. Christmas cards, catalogs, sale fliers, bills, pretty much everything you can send through the mail, I have all trayed up and it all has to go in the truck. So I slide the trays into the now empty truck, filling the cargo area floor square. Packing it in. Along one side I stack the trays three high, just because there isn't the room to lay them all in flat.  There, the trays are all in there.
Now, you remember those packages? The ones I just took out?
I have to put them back in.
I have to put them back in plus the new ones that take up the bottom half of my hamper.
I know what you're thinking. It's the same thing I ask myself whenever this happens, and there's too much stuff to fit in the space.

Where am I going to put all this stuff?

Well, there are there brackets built into the sides of the truck, on the inside of the cargo bay. The kind of brackets that one might hang shelves from, but there are no shelves. Just the brackets.
Sometimes I feel like the brackets are mocking me. This is one of those times.

But, since there are no shelves, nor anything else handy back there, I simply separate them and pile them up. I put the packages for he very beginning of the route up front with me, placing them on the floor and along one side of the work-tray I have up there. There are so many that when I finally get to sit up there and try to drive I'm completely ensconced, like a pilot in a fighter jet.  I split the remainder up in the back trying to keep the middle of the route separate from the end. I'm stacking them up on top of the mail I already have in there, but there's nothing else I can do. I try to make my piles up against the walls, covering some trays but not others. I need to be able to get at some of those trays - I have to deliver that stuff!

Finally I have everything set the way I need it. The packages are split up and stacked, and I can get at the trays I'll need to to start out. All I have to do is drive carefully and I should be all set. I Climb into the Rob-sized space I've left for myself in the front of the truck, and head to my first stop - my own Jeep. I need to pick up my lunch bag and laptop case. It's only a 50-60 foot trip, so I just put the truck in gear and take my foot off the brake, letting engine torque alone push me across the parking lot. I feather the brake and gently coast to a stop behind my personal vehicle.

That's when I hear it.

The dry, yet somehow hollow hissing sound of cardboard sliding across cardboard, coming from the cargo area behind me. I hold my breath and start to pray but I don't get any further than God, please no- before the thuds begin. Thuds and thumps, and then more of that creepy hissing sliding sound as the first pile that toppled  lands on the second pile and knocks it over as well.

I twist, as well as I am able in the tight space I've packed myself into, and look through the connecting door to the cargo area. All those packages I carefully segregated and stacked are now sprawled across the back of the truck, completely burying the mail I'll have to get to in a few minutes in a rough-shuffled mess of parcels of all sizes. My held breath comes out in an exasperated puff before I inhale sharply, and then the sound of Christmas at the Post Office begins to roll out across the parking lot for all to hear.

I am cursing loudly, energetically, and with great imagination.

Happy Holidays!

Talk to you later!


  1. Rob, now we get the perspective from a postal worker.

    Thanks. It helps me appreciate you guys all the more.