Your Baby is Too Hazardous to Mail

I went to the post office the other day.  Wait.  Before I begin this diatribe, know this: I LOVE the post office.  I love stamps and writing and receiving letters.  I love that for 44 cents I can send some unexpected love to my good friend who just moved to Minnesota (MISS YOU).

However, the post office has been giving me mixed-messages lately.  Being passive aggressive.  Not letting me in like usual.  I’m not upset that over Christmas my local p.o. had only one person working the counter.  I understand that they are struggling financially.  I’m not upset that I often get the wrong mail.  I think that those sorters must be magical machine transported from the future along with Skynet.  Going through all that awful handwriting to figure out where a letter goes?  It’s a MIRACLE.  But even miracles can have problems.

First, let me take you back to November 27th.  The day after Thanksgiving I get online and order holiday stamps through the post office’s website.  Like I said, I love stamps.  I used to order “Happy Birthday” stamps for every birthday card I send out.  Yeah, I know.  So I’m REALLY on top of things.  Ordering my Christmas card stamps in NOVEMBER.  And I wait.  And wait.  Three days.  Four Days.  Seven days.  This is NOT priority mail.  I email the help desk or whatever they call the bot that answers the email.  And I’m told I have to wait ten post office business days (whichever those are) to resubmit my order.  Now I’m stressed.  Because my Christmas cards have come in.  And I’m ON TOP OF THINGS.  My cards could go out early and the post office is RUINING IT!

To summarize: The post office has lost their own stamps from their own website in their own mail.

So I call.  And try to explain how important this is.  The woman on the other end of the multiple button-pushing phone call takes pity on me at nine days out and resubmits the order.  And I wait.  And Christmas gets closer and closer.

And FINALLY a week later the new stamps come!  Hooray!!  And on January 2nd, the old stamps come!  What, what?  What the heck do I do with those?

Now back to stepping foot in the post office the other day.  Which, by the way, I avoid like the plague when I have both kids but with a nine-month-old, I can risk it.  She usually makes me friends and entertains everyone while we wait.  And wait.  I get to grow in patience (remember the one worker).

So after 20 minutes we are at the counter and I place my (heavy) baby on said counter.  And the mailman leans in.  And I lean in.  And he says: You can’t put your baby on the counter.  For security reasons.  And sanitary reasons.

I slowly lift my baby off and place my baby bag on the counter instead.  Nothing else is said about the baby business.  I buy stamps as I digest what this man has informed me.

Let’s break this down together:

  • SECURITY REASONS: So my baby may be a homeland security issue?  A post office security issue? Isn’t my GIANT baby bag more likely to house something dangerous than my adorable nine-month-old’s pink dress?  She just learned how to manipulate Cheerios!  She isn’t wielding weapons yet (unless your worried about a pea in the nose).  And she can’t read.  Or steal mail because the letters are not much smaller than her.  And much bigger than her pockets.
  • SANITARY REASONS: So my baby’s covered bottom is more unsanitary than my hands or my wallet or my money or my baby bag that’s hung out on public bathroom floors?  (Although my kids have also been on those floors so this may not be the strongest of arguments.  I know.  EWW!!  But E gets a little freaked-out in the public bathrooms so has made some pretty narrow army-crawl escapes.  Not funny when I’m mid-pee, but impressive nonetheless.)

You know, I had a woman in line at the post office once comment: Hope our healthcare isn’t run like the post office. (Implying that we will be waiting in lines like this when HRC passes.  Like we don’t already wait in lobbies for hours. Like her time is so important that 30 million people should die younger or live sicker.  Like that will even be the case.)  I managed to hold my tongue because who knows what sort of security risk she poses?  But her comment came back to me as we finished our transaction last week.  Our post office is concerned with the dangers of babies?  Who IS running this place?

And as I walked into the parking lot, I thought: I am SO blogging about this.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

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