Friday, July 29, 2011

some people (lyn)

Wednesday was Karen’s birthday.  I miss the days when seeing her was just a trip down the hall.  On my birthday, or Alexander’s, she would always produce some spectacular cake, themed to an important event in our lives.  This year, Karen and her family moved to Ireland, so even if I wanted to bake her a cake, sending it would not be easy.

Instead, I get her a Cornell hat.  I think she’ll really appreciate it, and maybe even remember her New York days when she wears it.

Today I go to the post office to mail the gift.  The line is about 10-people deep.  I get in it.  In front of me is a dreary-looking older women (I’ll call D), consulting with a cheery-looking women (I’ll call C) in front of her.  D asks, “Do you think I need extra postage on this letter?”  C responds, “No, I don’t."  “But look, feel here, it’s raised.  My grandson is turning seven and the seven on the card is made of wood and is raised.  You don’t think I’ll need extra postage?”  C smiles and again says, “No, I really think it’s fine.”  D continues to ask C more questions about mailing her letter.  Does she think that C is hiding out in line as some kind of undercover postal expert?  After a few more exchanges, D decides to get out of the line completely.  She walks up to a window, consults with a real postal clerk, and receives the same answer.  She comes back to tell us.  “I don’t need additional postage.”

D then begins another series of questions and observations.  “When do you think this will arrive if I mail it today?”  She describes the “almost navy colored envelope” that came with the card and how she had to switch it out for one of her "white leftover holiday card envelopes."  “How could anyone read the address on a dark blue envelope?  Why would anyone even make a dark blue envelope?  These, and other questions, D ponders as C and I continue to stand in line.   Finally, D leaves to mail her card.

But she isn't gone long.  Soon she is back asking more questions.  “What’s in the box you're holding,” she asks me.  I tell her I’m mailing a gift to my friend who lives in Ireland for her birthday.  The following conversation ensues:

Her:  So, what did you get her?
Me: Well, my son just got into Cornell, so I am sending her a vintage Cornell hat.”
Her:  I don’t think she’ll like that.  I know I wouldn’t.
Me:  No, I think she will.
Her:  If it were me, I’d want something more substantial, like jewelry or shoes.

Maybe I should have hand-delivered a cake!

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