Photo © Fugue
I called the post office recently and instead of hearing the sweet voice of Paula, the Postal Lady, I heard a recording. "We're sorry. You've reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service. If you've reached this number in error, please check the number and try again."
I dialed it again, and the same voice answered. I'd say it was an unfamiliar voice, but since it was the Official Telephone Lady that I'd heard a plethora of times before--when I dialed other disconnected numbers--it wasn't entirely foreign to me.
Although, she does have this foreign sound when she tries to say words that robots can't pronounce. I once asked her to repeat, "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers," so that I could laugh at someone without feeling unkind, and she gave an angry beep in my ear, instead.
But ... back to the recording. It was a shock, because I didn't expect to hear Official Telephone Lady pick up the phone at the US Post Office.
A day or two later--I'd tell you exactly how much later but word problems are not my strong point, and I'd need my calculator to figure out what 2 days x 60 minutes/hour equals if one train leaves from Boston, the other leaves from San Francisco, and they meet in Kansas City.
So ... an indeterminate amount of time later when I needed to mail a letter, I intentionally walked the 30 extra steps to go into the post office rather than stuff my letter into the box outside.
I'm certain my face reflected concern, anxiety, and a fear of flying monkeys as I asked at the desk, "Is your number disconnected?"
"Yes," said Paula, the Postal Lady, nodding. "If you want to call the post office for information, you'll need to dial the 800 number."
I wrinkled my nose in disappointment. "So ... I can't call you and talk with someone in this USPS office?"
"No, I'm sorry. We can call out, but you can't call in."
I thought about it all the way home. What has the world come to, when I can't dial my local post office for information on how to go postal?
If I called the 800 number it would, no doubt, connect to a thatched hut in Uganda that had a wooden sign on the front reading, "US Postal Service Call Center." Inside would sit a little wrinkled bushman, his loins girded about with the hide of a leopard, who speaks broken English. (The bushman, not the dead leopard.) And if I were to ask what time the mail goes out, he would explain how to lick the back of the self-adhesive stamp.
Well, it's certainly disconcerting, that's all I can say. And to loosely quote a line I once heard on the Fraser show--
"You can put kittens in the oven ...
... but that sure don't make 'em biscuits!"
"Postal Disconnect" © C.L. (Cindy Lynn) Beck
Tags: post office, postal service, US Post Office, USPS