Singularly unhelpful

Not many positive things came out of my years at boarding school. I do credit lights out at a certain time and no talking in the dorm to my skill at consistently getting a really good night’s sleep. I also obey the rules. I never exceed the speed limit; immediately get into the correct lane when I see the “right lane merges FOUR MILES ahead” sign; walk through customs at the airport shaking, just in case, although I don’t have anything illegal in my bags. This all stems from being terrified of my math teacher, Mrs. McFee, and trying my best to become invisible in her class and not doing anything wrong. I also try my best to avoid school-like experiences although recently I have been walking Savannah through the lovely grounds of a posh school nearby and am learning to relax on campus and hope the children there are not scared of their teachers.
But right now I feel like my 12-year-old self who has just been admonished by Mrs. McFee and told not to sit in the back looking like the Mona Lisa. To understand how dreadful that sounded way back then, you have to imagine the tweed suit, the brogue shoes and the thick Scottish accent. I’ve written before how I blame Mrs. McFee for my fear of numbers. The Mrs. McFee equivalent was the woman who answered the phone at our local post office. Briefly, our USPS (United States Postal Service for my one foreign reader) mail is delivered to a central mail room because there are more than 500 apartments on campus. We each have a small mailbox and a key. Large parcels are placed in another room that has medium and large lockers and there’s a very efficient system that sends you an email or text with a code to open the locker door. Until a few months ago, large parcels were delivered to an unlocked room and dumped on the shelves. So I was surprised to find a USPS card telling me I had a large parcel that had to be picked up at the post office. I know what it is: a yard of fabric shipped from Taiwan. Don’t ask – no, I couldn’t find what I wanted online in the U.S. But large parcel? It can be folded into a 6-inch square. I called the post office and explained my dilemma – that large parcels get placed in the special locker room that was constructed especially for large parcels. Oh boy, I was told, in no uncertain terms, that our address has experienced mail being stolen from the boxes. Again, I tried to explain that my delivery wouldn’t go in the mail box but in the LARGE locker. She didn’t exactly hang up on me, but said I would have to come to the post office myself, before indicating plainly that our conversation was over.
I thought I was going to cry. And to add insult to injury – the post office is located on a horrible road, filled with potholes and totally out of my way. The famous columnist, Mary McGrory, who terrorized politicians for four decades and is known as The First Queen of Journalism, once wrote a column complaining about the surly service she had received at her local post office. She received  a phone call from the Postmaster General himself. I’m standing by …

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