Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Queuing at the post office

Yesterday I went on my pilgrimage to collect my mail from my post office box.  I've had the same box since I moved to Melbourne almost thirteen years ago.  The staff know me and I know the staff.  If there's time, we often stop to have a chat.  

There was a card for a registered letter in my box so I needed to go to the window and sign for it.  There were about four people in the queue ahead of me.  Jessica, the manager, was cheerfully and efficiently serving - gathering signatures, checking identification and handing over parcels and letters.

I was two people from the front when the man at the front was asked what he was expecting as Jessica tried to find the parcel.  He said he had no idea.  A few minutes later Jessica appeared with an enormous box on a trolley.  

"Are you sure that's for me?" he asked.  "Who could it be from?"

"Santa!" I piped up from the back.  He thought that was hilarious as did Jessica.  The person standing behind him and in front of me in the queue was strangely silent and clearly thought I was weird.  

"Is it from Europe?" he asked as he tried to interpret the labels.

The paperwork was signed, the identification checked and the parcel was his.  He picked it up and felt its heft.  He shook it a little bit and listened.  

He looked around at his audience.

"Should I open it now? I should open it, shouldn't I!"  

I love a bit of public spectacle, but I thought it could easily end in tears.  Personally, I never publicly open a parcel that's arrived in the mail unless I know exactly what it is.  The potential for deep embarrassment is large.

"Yes!  Go on!  Open it!" I urged.

He thought better of it and left with his mysterious package.

Jessica greeted me by name as she always does and told me she was feeling jealous with all the people receiving parcels.

"I never get any presents working here," she said with a sparkle in her eye as she went to retrieve my letter.

I pulled out one of my gratitude cards and when she returned, I gave it to her and thanked her for her cheerful service throughout the year.  She was thrilled.  I told her about the project and she thought it was great.  She sincerely thanked me.  

I asked her about her Christmas plans and she said they have a big one every second year (some of her family is overseas).  This year was to be a small one and they were thinking about lovely things to do or give to each other that wouldn't cost a lot of money.  This year's plan was to write a letter to a member of the family which they would then read to each other over Christmas lunch.  The letter would speak about all the wonderful things about the person and their relationship.  I thought that was a brilliant idea.  

After thinking about it for a while, my wicked humour kicked in and I thought of all the ways it could go hilariously wrong and end in chaos.  I hope it doesn't for Jessica's family.

Thanks to all the Australia Post staff who make sure I receive my mail and wish me happy birthday and merry Christmas as they see the parcels come through.  And it's great to know that Santa uses Australia Post as his preferred delivery partner.

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