Monday, July 28, 2008

Bad Mail Karma

I come from a family encumbered with the pain and suffering of Bad Mail Karma although fortunately, for the most part, I have been spared many of the horrors which have been visited upon my mother and her sisters. In Spain - contrary to the experiences of my fellow-bloggers - I have experienced nothing less than stellar service from the Post Office. In fact, the only pieces of mail I have failed to receive have been letters sent by my mother and her sisters. But that's their Bad Mail Karma, not mine.

Last week a notice was crammed into our mailbox indicating that either a registered letter or a package - for the little descriptive box remained unticked - was awaiting me or Señor Gato Gringo- for the name in the little address box was illegible - at La Línea's Correos. Huzzah! - a parcel! Or a letter! Is it even for us? asked Señor G.G. who had clearly and rather maliciously just donned his buzzkill hat. You can't read the name on the pick-up notice. It behooved me to remind him that, unlike my family, I don't suffer from Bad Mail Karma.

Now because this is the summer and because this is Spain, many of the country's services have pared back their hours of operation. The post office in La Línea is no exception. In the realm of I-want-to-work-for-the-Spanish-post-office-when-I-grow-up, the Correos here is open from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for the duration of the summer. Which makes for very long line-ups from 8:00 a.m. to 12:59 p.m. After several abortive and admittedly half-hearted attempts to wait patiently in line, I finally capitulated last Thursday, and not only joined the line but stood in it not very patiently while those in front of me remortgaged their homes and set up trust funds for their grandchildren and mailed boxes of sherry to Uruguay. All requiring vast numbers of forms and a multitude of stamps.

Thirty-ish minutes later, I eagerly thrust my notice and my passport under the glass partition which separated me and a Frazzled Postal Worker, sending him off to the parcel shelf on what I hoped would not be a wild goose chase. Would it be a package? A prezzie?!! I asked Señor G.G. who, upon close inspection, was not only still wearing his buzzkill hat but had also adopted a don't-get-your-hopes-up expression. Husbands can be so tiresome.

Much to my disappointment - although I think I detected an I-told-you-so humpfff from Señor G.G. - the Frazzled Postal Worker quickly abandoned the parcel shelf and began rooting through the registered mail file, from which he pulled out a rather dull but official-looking letter. I offered Señor G.G a you-can-take-your-I-told-you-so humpfff and ram-it-up-your-ass-humpfff of my own. Amidst the humpfffing the Frazzled Postal Worker shoved my pick-up notice and a pen under the glass partition and asked me (I think) to sign for it. I duly signed the notice and shoved it and the pen back under the glass partition. He then shoved the letter and my original pick-up notice back under under the glass partition.

It wasn't for me.

Not only was it not for me but the recipient's name clearly indicated that he was of the y-chromosome persuasion. Perhaps a quick shufti at my passport - or my double-D secondary sexual characteristics - would have satisfied the Frazzled Postal Worker that I could not be anyone by the name of Francisco or Javier.

I confess that I left the Correos a little disappointed and a whole lot perplexed; after all, I had just
been handed a registered letter which clearly belonged to an individual of the opposite sex as well as the original pick-up notice which bore his name and my signature. Indeed, there would be no record that Francisco Javier had picked the letter up. I could rip it up unto a thousand little pieces and cackle in malevolent delight as his electricity is turned off. Hope he's not showering at the time. So it would seem that, like my mother and aunts, Francisco Javier too suffers from Bad Mail Karma.


Bluestreak said...

very funny post. post offices here are so weird. There´s always a bunch of non-postal related stuff going on. At least they don´t smoke in the post offices anymore. Then you had to deal with them taking three puffs of a smoke before licking each stamp.

Di Mackey said...

Laughing quietly on the inside all the way through this one ... which is a miracle, due to have a summer case of grouchiness on a grand scale.

Sorry there was no package ... or letter ...