It's tax day, for some reason, April 17, but I headed for the Post Office on Monday to send in my extension by certified mail. I filed an extension just like Rich Richney and for the same reason: I'm trying to lie and hide my way to the White House while my obscenely rich friends buy it for me. Anyway, I conversed with the clerk--one of our characteristic still-comely women I imagine first got their p.o. gig as hippie chicks back in the day--and she noted that tax day used to be a much bigger deal at the old p.o. I recall that some post offices stayed open until midnight on April 15, and even had an employee outside being handed returns from cars, like a Santa at Christmastime taking donations and handing out candy.
Not anymore. The place was emptier than usual, if anything. Lots of electronic filing she said. Me, I'm with Kurt Vonnegut on this. Vonnegut used to buy his manila envelopes at a local store one at a time, and take his manuscripts or whatever to the local post office branch, just to interact with real people. (He had a crush on the post office clerk.) I do enough stuff on the computer machine and most of the time it's a blessing. But there are these little local things I like to do as always.
As for the Post Office, the recent Congressional stupidities forcing cutbacks has meant our mail is being sorted in another state now. Perhaps as a consequence, we've had a run of confusion. We've been regularly getting mail for an address with the same street number but another street. One alarming day, it was all the mail we got. And we've gotten some of ours that obviously went somewhere else first. Counting on the integrity of the mail is a bedrock for confidence in the national government. A lot of people have already lost it, which might help explain a lot. Now it seems all the federal government via Congress does is loot the Postal Service, which for all its flaws is and has been just about the only true equal opportunity more or less meritocracy employer in many small places and probably not a few large ones.
Yesterday we did get a note of apology apparently from our mail carrier promising that the problem is being addressed. At least that's the gist of it, as the note was not very legible or coherent. But it seemed sincere. We didn't have this problem when we had the same carrier on this route. I chatted with him a few times. He liked to talk about UFOs. But he knew the route and never tried to jam stuff into the box that won't fit, but came up to the front porch and left it where he knew we'd find it. It's not always remembered that big government can enable people to make things work, and have a life in their community.
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