I knew the post office close to my house was small. I mean, it’s a tiny building serving primarily the Lake Geneva area, and unless it’s a TARDIS, it’s the smallest post office I’ve ever seen. I would say, at most, it’s about a 30×30 foot building. One story. I’ve lived in apartments larger than this post office! I was betting there would be stories, eventually, about it. I mean, post office in a small town? How can there not be a story? But I was sort of excited about how convenient this post office is, as in, unlike my other post office, I don’t have to make a left against oncoming traffic without a light. The building is off 100, and it’s right before the turnoff to 214. So I can exit my road making a right onto 100, make a right into the post office, then when leaving I can make a right back onto 100, make a right onto 214, and make a right onto my road (which runs between 100 and 214). Easy peasy lemon squeezy! No left turns without a light! You have no idea how much I hate making lefts without a light, and the lengths to which I will go to, to avoid having to make one.
So, anyway, I pulled into the parking lot and was immediately confounded because there were only three parking spaces and two of them were taken (one was the handicapped spot, so I wasn’t going to park there). There was a driveway that looked like it went around the building, and I could see a red car parked back there, but as I got halfway down the driveway it looked like it just sort of … ended, in some trees. So I backed out, and sat in the parking lot for a minute, looking around. Past the mail dropbox and the flagpole, it looked like there might have been another, sketchier parking lot on the other side. It had about five spaces, none of them really marked, and all of the bumper things were kind of askew, and broken. So of course I parked there, because it’s not like anything else was opening up! Oh, except for the guy who came out while I was walking up and got in his car and drove off… immediately followed by the other car, the driver of which I guess had been sitting in the car reading her mail?
Anyway, I went inside, reading the big sign on the door that indicated that there were NEW HOURS! M-F 11-3! … eleven to three? Good thing I like to go to the post office around lunchtime, I thought. I walked in and saw… it’s the anti-TARDIS, it’s totally smaller on the inside! There are walls of post office boxes, and it looked like that was it. Er?
But just to my left – I didn’t see it at first because I was blinded by ALL THE PO BOXES, there was a small glass door with another “NEW HOURS!” sign on it. I could see post-officey things through the door so I went in. It was a little, teensy, itsy-bitsy room. There wasn’t really room for more than two people to stand, so I’d imagine a line would literally be out the door. There was a small ledge with all the paperwork/forms you’d need, and across from it was the register area. Where no one was standing. I could see a little sign that said “today you are being served by Pat” (not the real name) and I could hear someone in what must be the back of the office, but… judging from what I’d already seen of the building that office had to be about 10×10.
So, Pat came out, and it just about really was Pat from that Saturday Night Live skit! I handed her (or him) my two packages, and she (or he) just sort of … looked at me. I smiled. My packages were picked up, looked at, turned over, and the fine print read. Then I was just stared at. I smiled again, thinking, “hello? Anything? Bueller?”
“Ayup. I’ll take care of these.” Pat turned to go, taking my packages to “the back”.
“oooooooookay,” I said. “Thanks?”… and I left.
The next day I drove a little bit farther, about another two miles, to the somewhat larger Keystone Heights office. I think the Keystone Heights office will be seeing more of my business (even though I’ll have to make a left; at least it’s on a back street with not a lot of traffic). There was something… not CREEPY, exactly, about the Lake Geneva office, but just something… insular. As if interrupting Pat for work that didn’t involve the post office boxes was… somehow rude of me. I was telling Tim I don’t know what would even happen if I went in there with an international package. So. Keystone Heights office it is, then!