I trusted the post office to deliver holiday gifts to loved ones. I knew the system was stretched as thin as most mothers are this time of year but figured just like we manage to bake the cookies, deck the halls, whip up a Christmas morning strata, and get that last stocking filled, the once-venerable, old institution was up to the task.
You see, I was raised to believe in the US Postal Service’s unofficial motto.
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
Claus is a myth, and so is the notion that there is anything remotely “swift” about the Postal Service’s completion of its rounds.
I will avoid the low-hanging fruit of blame. We all know there were postal shenanigans in 2020. Not to mention the Covid pandemic, which reportedly has sent more than 14,000 postal workers into quarantine.
In defense of our local postal employees, I do not blame them. In LA, we were on a first-name basis with two of our carriers, an unexpected delight in such a large city. I know most of these beleaguered workers – who somehow manage to be patient, friendly and helpful in our zip code – are doing the best they can to carry out their duties in a system that does not put the “fun” in dysfunctional.
The tab for posting the presents (most were 2-Day Priority Mail) was $121.30. I’d already purchased $55 worth of stamps a week or so before for Christmas cards. I didn’t mind because I wanted to support our long-suffering postal service. Besides, it would’ve been far more expensive to engage UPS or FedEx.
That was December 16.
Annoyed, I thought it was the last straw. It wasn’t.
This is where the USPS begins to resemble a bad boyfriend: unreliable, disappointing, and impossible to figure out.
My brother lives in Leawood, Kansas, about 600 or so miles east of us. Inexplicably, the gifts we sent to his three teens traveled 2,164 miles (thank you USPS tracking) before reaching them nine days after their estimated delivery date, and three days after Christmas.
On December 28.
How on earth can it take 12 days for one box to arrive at a destination we could (in non-Covid times) drive to in 10 hours? Why did the package make a stop in Las Vegas? And how come it spent four days moving between five Kansas City metro post offices?
Why? Why? Why?
Maybe the postal fiasco is a metaphor. There are an infinite number of things I will never understand about 2020… Questions without answers… Problems with no solutions... Headaches and no relief.
The year has given us one opportunity after another to celebrate Festivus. Talk about the “airing of grievances!”
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change/courage to change the things I can/and wisdom to know the difference.
Or, as Seinfeld’s Frank Costanza would say, “Serenity now!”
In the spirit of Festivus, Christmas, and our collective serenity, though, is there any chance the postal service can be granted the wisdom to change its darn motto?