Ok, so I already introduced you to my friend Katherine back in the summer when she got married. Over the years, Katherine and I have always mailed each other Christmas gifts. Additionally, Katherine's birthday falls in December, so I always pack them together. (And YES: she gets TWO separate gifts because I think it's terrible when December birthday people find themselves opening ONE "combo" gift because some cheapskate thinks it's ok not to acknowledge the separate days. Really, people? Like it's the recipient's fault that she was born in December?)
In the past eight years, I think Katherine has received her gifts before Christmas maybe once. Usually they arrive between Christmas and New Year's day, and yes ... sometimes after New Year's day.
I've been on a role getting everything ready for next week, and earlier this week I thought, "What the hell!! Let's see if I can get Katherine's gift in the mail on time!! Wahoo!!!"
On Monday night, I stayed up really late to finish all of my Christmas cards, and just when I thought I might go to bed I changed my mind and decided to pack up Katherine's gift. I grabbed THE ONLY FRICKIN BOX I had in the whole house, tied all the ribbons and bows, stuffed everything full of newspaper (because I got in trouble once when the guy at the post office window shook the box and the EXTREMELY NON-BREAKABLE THING INSIDE RATTLED--don't even get me started), printed up the packing labels, taped the damn thing up, and then went to bed.
(For all you people who are like, "If I were Katherine, I would be questioning the purpose of this gift exchange ..." I think Katherine knows me well enough to know that I use all these "frickins" and "damns" with the warmest affection.)
The next morning, I took my big ole bag of Christmas cards and Katherine's big ole present and drove to the post office. And guess what?
You'll never guess.
THE WHOLE PARKING LOT WAS EMPTY. Ok, there were TWO cars. It was SO EMPTY that I began to panic and think, "Omigod, is today Christmas? Is it a federal holiday and the place is closed? How did I not remember that today is Christmas? Why did Ron go to work on Christmas? Did he forget too?"
I really thought that. That's how empty it was.
There was NO LINE at the window. NOT A SINGLE PERSON IN LINE.
THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED TO ME AT THE POST OFFICE EVER!!!
I just walked right up to that frickin window to my favorite guy who works there and plopped the box on the scale. I couldn't believe how easy this was going to be.
I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT.
Well. Good thing I never believed it.
Cuz it didn't happen.
Can you guess why?
Wait, let's get this sucker in focus:
Oh, no no no--I remembered to scratch out the original address on the box. That wasn't it:
My guy was just about to ring me up, and his grouchier window partner rolls his eyes. (I mean, he rolled his eyes SO HARD that the building tilted slightly and the rest of us almost lost our balance and fell ... oh wait ... no one else was there ... that was just me.)
ROLLS HIS EYES.
Him [in this sarcastic sing-song voice]: "We can't ship THAT."
Me [ignoring him and looking dead into the eyes of MY guy]: "So, how much?"
Him [louder this time]: "We CAN'T SHIP THAT."
Me AND My Window Guy: "huh? why not?"
Him [as if reciting from a reference book]: "We can't ship things in alcohol boxes even when it's obvious that there's nothing liquid, i.e., alcohol, inside. Can't do it. Nope."
Me: "Soooo ... what do I do?"
My guy [with his lovely accent]: "hmmm. You don't have another box?"
Me [almost in tears]: "No. I don't have another box."
My guy: "hmmm. Do you have brown paper? Wrap it in brown paper."
Me [sobbing at this point]: "NO. I don't have brown paper!"
My guy: "Do you have ... a shopping bag! You MUST have a shopping bag! Use a shopping bag!" [I have to say, great problem-solver this one. But I was crushed.]
Me: "Yeah, yeah. I have a paper bag. Thanks anyway."
And I slunk back to my car. In the empty parking lot. During the busiest shipping season of the year. I must've looked really upset, because a total stranger on the sidewalk stopped me and said, "Are you ok? You look lost." (Not joking.)
Dude, I am lost.
Lost in the bowels of the United States Postal Service.
USPS: You wanna know why YOU'RE NEARLY BANKRUPT??? BECAUSE YOU WON'T SHIP CRAP IN BOXES THAT HAVE THE LETTERS "S-A-U-V-I-G-N-O-N B-L-A-N-C" IN THAT ORDER PRINTED ON THE SIDE.
THAT IS WHY YOU ARE NEARLY BANKRUPT.
See? Some questions ARE really easy to answer.
Here's a more painful question: Am I the only frickin person who didn't know this? Is this common sense? Please. Somebody. Answer both of these questions with "No" for me. Because I can't take much more this week.
Also, can somebody tell me if this is a PA rule or a US rule? Is this merely another pitfall of living in one of the most backward states in the union?
Anyway, all this to say: Katherine. You will not get your gift in time for Christmas.