It all started yesterday when I walked two blocks to a public mailbox to mail several books I'd packaged up for sending as part of my participation in the national community book swapping operation that is PaperbackSwap.com. Despite their name, they do hardback books as well, and that's what I was mailing. I couldn't fit them in my mailbox at home so I walked. As I was about to drop my parcels in the box, I noticed a warning that I've never really had occasion to read before, that basically says due to improved security measures, you aren't allowed to put anything in the box that's over 1 pound. WHAT?? You have to take them in to the post office and hand them to a clerk over the counter, even if you already have all the postage on them they need. Yeah, like this is so going to catch any terrorists. AS IF.
So I did that, I went to the stupid post office, and handed the clerk my parcels...and I had to explain to her that I was not allowed to put them in the drop box. At first she didn't know what I was talking about, then she was like "Oh, yeah." Well, that inspired confidence. They're really taking this seriously, huh?
So today I had some more books to mail, and I had to get stamps anyway, so I went to another post office. Because I wanted to make sure, I asked the clerk there if it was okay to put these in my home mailbox. So first she says "Oh, you can put them in the drop box." Super. More diligence from government employees. So I explain to her, no I can't, because they're over a pound. "Well, you can put them in the drop box here," she says, meaning in the lobby of the post office building we're in. "No," I explain, "the notice says I have to physically hand them to a clerk if they're over 1 pound." Pause. Blank look. "Oh, right, right," she says. Mm hmmm. So back to my question about if I can put them in my own mailbox. "No," she says, considering. So I ask again, if I just have a couple that will fit in my mail slot, is it okay (maybe I should have said "legal") to put them in there? "No," she says, "you need to bring them in here to a clerk, because the carriers have enough to do." Oh, so I don't have enough to do? It's less important that I be inconvenienced and have to drive to a frickin' post office every time I have a book to mail that's over 1 stinkin' pound than it is for the mail carrier to do her job and pick up mail? I mean, it obviously isn't the law, this clerk just decided on the spot this should be the rule. BAH! Annoying!
Have I mentioned how crabby I've been feeling the last few days?