All that was left was the logistics. The computer was safely packaged in a padded carton to withstand any drop-kick challenges that may be issued in the back of the postal station. At that time of the evening (6:15 pm) there is only one post office open in Milwaukee - The Airport branch. I don't know how they did it, but all the forces of heaven and hell seemed to be unified in their one objective - keep that package from being posted.
First there was the road construction. Howell Ave is the main artery to the airport, and it was 3/4 ripped up. one lane was drivable, one was OK, and two were totally gone, just a gouge in the dirt. So, a 10-minute hop took 30 minutes. We have overcome worse. But the worse, it turns out, was yet to come.
The post office parking lot was full - it overflowed into an industrial lot next door, so now I had to carry the 30-lb sucker to the door of the post office. No further than the door, because that is where the line was starting. Of course, they were following the standard Convenience Prevention procedures they have adopted in recent years. With three stations to process customers, of course, two of the windows were shut down for employee breaks, and the remaining station had a family permanently applying for a passport, an extremely time-consuming process. Correction -- the man and wife were applying for the passport. The three children were chasing one another around the lobby, climbing on TOP of the lobby counters, and walking back and forth, squealing like animals, and getting sticky finger prints on everything. All of the customers now had something in common - the hope that wherever this family was going with their passport, that they would STAY THERE FOREVER.
Then I heard the crinkling plastic. The lady behind me, very large, and very tattooed, was holding a small packet of envelopes in her hands. But her hands, both of them, were encased in plastic food-service gloves. What was it in those envelopes that she didn't want to come in contact with? Was the Anthrax fad coming back into vogue? Then, she began coughing, a very sickly slobbery cough from the depths of her entrails. So, perhaps she was protecting the letters from herself. So, perhaps after our interminable wait in the post office line, we would all go home and collapse on our death-beds, the swine flu finally triumphant. When one has lots of time to think, one has thoughts.
Then the three children came squealing by, again, getting more adept with practice, and faster once they were familiar with the topology of the various counters in the lobby. Someone whispered very loudly, ooops, i guess it was me... "use....a.....RUBBER". someone must have heard, judging from a sudden fit of throat-clearing around the lobby.
At last the parents solemnly swore, and the slow service resumed at the solitary window, and eventually we all got our packages turned in, except for one man, the man in front of me in line. He said the most wise thing I heard the entire night. "I don't have any more time, I need to apply for a passport." And without waiting for a stupid look from the postal clerk, he left.
Thanks for listening and contributing. For up-to-the-minute thoughts, come on over to twitter.com I'm @dimbulb52
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