Monday, June 13, 2016

Your Lifeline Call!

Greetings, WYMOP fans!

It was late afternoon, and I was in the post office culling the little bit of outgoing mail I had collected over the course of the day. I tossed a small package into a waiting bin filled with other small packages . . . and something already in the bin suddenly began to chime. Loudly. I shuffled through the other small parcels, quickly identifying the padded manila envelope in question, the contents of which felt to be about twice the size of a pack of smokes. The identification was simple: it was the only thing in the bin still chiming like a doorbell on crack. I was holding the thing up, looking about for a supervisor to ask, and I quote, “What the hell?” when the package begin to speak, in a clear, extremely loud voice.
“Your Lifeline call is being routed! Your Lifeline call is being routed!”
I brought the shrieking package to the supervisor’s desk, where I managed to find a member of the overseer breed.
“This package is talking,” I said.
He remarked that yes he had heard it, speaking up as the packet in my hand continued to try to dominate the conversation.
“Your Lifeline call is being routed! Your Lifeline call is being routed!”
Without warning the thing went as silent as a package is supposed to be. I shook it, but nothing happened. My supervisor took it and also shook it. Tapped it. Poked it.
Apparently, it was done. I was just wondering how funny it would be if the Lifeline operator had picked up, and all they heard was the loud crinkling and crackling of the paper package being patted prodded. So I poked it again.
A new loud voice began shouting immediately, and I had to make the snap decision to either drop the package in surprise or poop my pants a little. The dropped parcel continued to talk.
“Hello this is Lifeline operator Sarah, how can I help you? Hello? Hello?”
I scooped the bellowing bundle from the floor and looked at it a minute, trying to decide which way was up for its contents, but all I could feel through the padding was an amorphous mass, as if a giant amoeba with a megaphone was trying to ship itself across the country.
“Hello? Lifeline operator Sarah speaking. Are you there? Hello?”
Oh, you have to be kidding me, I thought, raising the mess in manilla to my ear. Hoping I wasn’t holding the whatever-it-was either upside down or backwards, I pressed it to my head, feeling just a bit like I was talking into a small pizza take-out box—or a cell phone from the 80s.
The over-forty crowd knows what I’m talking about.
“Hello Sarah,” I said, trying to speak clearly and just ignore how silly I felt.
“Hello, this is Sarah,” she said. “Who am I speaking with?”
“Hello,” I said. “This is Rob Smales at the Marblehead post office in Massachusetts. I'm, uh, currently speaking to a package in transit.”
Sarah laughed. “Oh, my, someone must be shipping their unit back. They're supposed to disable the button before they pack it up, but sometimes they forget.”
“I understand that,” I said, forcibly stifling the juvenile someone shipping their unit joke that was now knocking vigorously on the inside of my skull and trying to get out. “Is there any way you can remotely shut this unit down? Because otherwise this is going to happen again and again as the package continues through the system.”
“No,” she said. “I’m sorry, I can't do that. But what I can do is put a notation in our system with this serial number on it so that the next time this unit goes off we know what it is.”
“Okay,” I said. “Just as long as you understand it's probably going to go off quite a bit.”
That's okay,” she said, “it happens. Thank you for talking to a package.”
“Hey, no problem! You have a good day.”
The package went silent. I looked at my supervisor. “So what do you want to do with it?”
He shrugged. “I guess we just send it on through the system.”
“If you say so.” I put the package back in the culling tub where this whole mess started. Five minutes later, as I was exiting the building on my way out for the evening, there was shouting going on over where the clerk was sorting the incoming mail.
“Your Lifeline call is being routed! Your Lifeline call is being routed!”
“Son of a bitch!” the clerk shouted back, then held a manila parcel high: apparently, she’d held on to it through snap decision time. I can not vouch for the state of her pants.
“What,” she yelled toward the supervisor’s desk.
“The hell,” she went on, gaining in volume to be heard over the still-shouting shipment.
“Is this?” she finished, starting toward the desk. She looked ruffled. She looked mad. She looked like maybe she was regretting her choice at snap decision time. The supervisor looked at me, raised eyebrows shouting a silent request for help.
“You got this, dude!” I shouted, shooting him with a forefinger as I backed, smiling, out the door. “This is all you!”

Talk to you later!

No comments:

Post a Comment