Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sorting it all out

Sometime back in my own personal Paleolithic era, before my real life began as a serious taxpaying contributor to society in general, I once had a notion that I might like to work for the United States Postal Service.

Delivering the mail seemed noble enough, and it is certainly a historic profession, especially by United States standards, given the precedent and leadership set by none other than Benjamin Franklin.

But the idea never really panned out for me. There was the matter of the civil service exam, which I never took primarily because of my testophobia (which sounds downright male oriented, if not actually mail oriented), and life seemed to hold different plans for me anyway. I ended up as a sportswriter and the years just seemed to roll by, sometimes, it seems, without me really even noticing.

Then I retired.

Then the real fun began.

Suddenly, after 31 years, my wife's job at a local bank was eliminated. At nearly the same moment, our sewer line to our 90-year-old house showed signs of rebelling; her 16-year-old car failed inspection because it needs tires (among other things); one of our cats needs some dental work; and both our washer and dryer — the washer is nearly as old as our 31-year marriage — need replacing.

Sigh. I needed to go back to work, at least part time.

So I found a job — working at the very bank where my wife had worked all those years. Ironic, no? Not only that, but I was in the mail room, of all places. I didn't even need to take a civil service exam to get there, although I did have to provide a personal sample for the drug screening. (I passed, by the way.)

My work station is in the basement, in the very bowels of the bank, without a window to the outside world to be seen or to be seen out of. Cell phone service is spotty. I'm fairly confident that I'm safe from nuclear attack. So it is there, for four hours per day, five days a week, where I run mail through a postage machine, fold mail, sort mail, certify mail and mail mail.

I even make a daily visit to the real U.S. Post Office to drop off the bank's mail.

Who said dreams don't come true?

I've been at the job for nearly a month now and my confidence and proficiency at what I do seem to be growing. I hope one day I can get to the point where I can flip envelopes from behind my back into their proper cubby holes in the sorting room.

Once that happens, then I'll know I've arrived — signed, sealed and delivered.

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