misadventures with the United States Post Office

It’s no secret I’m not a fan of the Post Office. In fact, on most days, I rather loathe it. Last Saturday’s fiasco with the Arlington branch(es) only fueled my hate-fire (is that a word? If it isn’t, it should be. I’m submitting it to Webster’s next year) of the USPS.

Since moving to DC, I’ve been incredibly homesick. Despite having friends in the area (whom I don’t get to see often because I work so much), it’s been a pretty lonely experience. There have been a few occasions when all I’ve wanted to do is hope in my car and drive the 6 hours to Cleveland to crash on my parents’ couch with my dog.

But I haven’t. Mostly because there’s so much to do with work…but also because just the thought of driving for 6 hours makes me sleepy.

My poor parents have shouldered the brunt of my homesickness-meltdowns (Hi, guys. Thanks for not hanging up on me.) and I’m sure have rolled their eyes when they see its me calling for another round of “Guess Why I’m Crying Today?”

But instead of changing their phone numbers, they sent me a care package from the C-L-E (seriously, how great are they? I definitely don’t deserve them). When I got home from my pal Leah’s farewell fiesta last Friday, I saw the ‘sorry we missed you, you have a package’ card. My mom sent it certified, mainly because she’s afraid someone will steal my mail.

I stopped by the post office near my house first thing on Saturday morning. I handed the card to the super helpful bureaucrat who looked like she would rather be 100 other places, including the dentist. She took one look at the card and promptly told me she couldn’t help me.

“But I live two blocks from here!” I cried. “This is my post office!”

She (super)helpfully pointed to the address on the card. “This says you have to go to the Jackson Avenue branch. We don’t have it here.”

I again tried to tell her that even though I just moved here, I was pretty sure my package would be at the branch closest to my house.

SHB (Super Helpful Bureaucrat) essentially rolled her eyes and said I needed to go to the other post office. I sighed, but acquiesced. I wanted whatever was in the care package and was not about to wait until Tuesday for it (since Monday would be President’s Day = no mail service). I hop in my car, plug in the address to the GPS and see that it’s not TOO far from me.

This is when things got weird(er). 

The Jackson Ave post office is not just a post office. It’s on the Fort Myer Army base.

I didn’t realize this until I got there. After nearly taking out an entire tour group of middle school kids at the Iwo Jima Memorial (which is conveniently right next door and provides a lovely area to drive around when you have no idea where you’re going. Just watch out for the (angry) tourists.

After some trial and error (i.e. driving in circles for 10 minutes), I finally realized I actually had to go IN the army base. This required showing my ID to the other helpful bureaucrat of the day (the woman standing in front of the entrance to Fort Myer). When I asked her if there was a post office nearby, she looked at me and didn’t say anything. I repeated my question (in case she didn’t hear it) and she got a disgusted look on her face, as if to say, “you’re REALLY bothering me with that question?” She muttered something and pointed behind her. Using my stellar deductive reasoning prowess, I concluded there WAS a post office and it was somewhere behind her. I just had to find it.

Easier said than done.

NOTHING is clearly marked on the base, so I ended up embarking on the second leg of the game “Stacey drives around in circles for 15 minutes, looking like a criminal casing the street a la Harry and Marv from Home Alone.” I was about to give up when I saw the post office. It was in a red barn. Obviously where you’d think.

Upon handing my piece of paper to the third bureaucrat of the day (BOTD), I was informed that this wasn’t my post office.

“I know,” I said. “I was already at the one near my house. They told me they couldn’t help me and sent me here. Can you PLEASE look in the back. I just moved here and all I want is my mail.” I was nearly in tears, so BOTD probably felt bad for me, so he humored me and went in the back. He came back a few minutes later, empty handed.

“I’m sorry, but your package is at the Post Office on Washington Avenue,” he told me, handing me a computer print out.

“You mean the PLACE I WAS THIS MORNING AND WAS TOLD THEY COULDN’T HELP ME.” I was pretty angry. But not at BOTD. He was the only person interested in helping me. He sensed I was on the verge of a meltdown, so he called up the other post office where SHB (Super Helpful Bureaucrat) worked. Long story short, I was told my mail was, in fact, at the other post office.

It took everything in me not to slam my head on the mail counter.

So, I get back in my car, bypass the tourists and go to the Washington Avenue branch, where I was greeted by the same SHB from earlier that morning.

“Remember me,” I said, laughing. “I believe you have a package for me.” I handed her the card and the computer print out showing that, yes, my mail WAS there. SHB was not amused. She grumpily got my package for me, made me sign and tried to give me a hard time about not having a Virginia ID (hello, did I NOT already explain I JUST moved here??).  She practically threw my mail at me. But no matter. I won. AND I got my care package from Ohio.

The rest of the week was pretty non-eventful. Had lunch with some lovely ladies on Wednesday at Capitol City Brewing Company (if you are ever in the DC area, make sure you order their sweet potato fries) and had drinks with Leah and Steve-o at 18th Amendment on Friday night for Leah’s swan song to DC.

After (many) Purple Haze beers (a seriously delish beer that tastes like raspberries), Steve-o and I decided shots of habenero tequila were an excellent life choice.

My stomach is STILL queasy.

All in all, I’m adjusting to DC. It’s not home yet, but I’m getting more and more comfortable getting around and knowing where things are.

Tonight are the Oscars, which make me think about last year’s ceremony. I livetweeted the entire ceremony with two of my girlfriends (hi Lisa & Charlene!). Tonight, I’ll likely be covering it for work. What a difference a year makes.

And, again, I PROMISE to start writing more often. Even if I have nothing to say because all I do is work. There’s always stuff going on in television.

Also, note: I am obsessed with PBS’s Downton Abbey. How have I never watched the show before?

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2 thoughts on “misadventures with the United States Post Office

  1. Thank you for giving me a good chuckle. Even though I got to hear the story first-hand, it was just as good reading it! Just so you know, I will continue sending mail certified as I don’t trust your neighbors. Who wouldn’t want soft comfy heart socks and a card 🙂 Next year this time, you and SHB will be besties.

  2. What a crazy story! And I thought that kind of fun only happens to me. Glad you got the package…finally! Purple Haze is one of my favorite beers. They also make a summer brew that tastes like strawberries.

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