Tuesday, June 26, 2007

No sleet, no heat, not even gloom

Saturday in Chicago was a rainy day. As I walked home from breakfast with a friend, it may have been more accurate to call it a mist. There was no need to rush or walk close to the buildings, no need to ask my friend to cover the few blocks to my home by automobile. It was raining, but only barely.

I was reading one of the rinky-dinky local neighborhood papers last night, which mentioned that Chicago had recently placed among the worst in the nation for mail delivery. Of post offices in Chicago, it was my own which was singled out as a travesty, even by the seemingly lowered standards of the Chicago bunch. The article mentioned complaints of mail being delayed by weeks or months and/or arriving damaged, bent or broken in order to be forced into the mailboxes.

Then it discussed all of the positive changes going on at the branch. New staff have been hired and, according to the article, the whole place was now on its way to being a model of efficiency.

How do I reconcile this optimism with the sight I saw walking home on Saturday? Crossing the final street of my journey, I spied our postal carrier (the same one who compromised the security of my building last year) standing grumpily under an awning of a corner building. Several feet away from her, and not under the awning, was her cart of mail. I could see the ink running on the address panel of the topmost envelope.

When you work in a profession with a famous creed claiming "neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" (there are also versions which mention sleet and "dark of night") should you really be shirking your duties so visibly within easy view of those on your route? Would it really have been such an arduous thing to pull the cart underneath the awning with you? There was plenty of room.

Of the four horsemen of the postal apocalypse, only rain was present, and not very much of it. Apparently, I am still angry, four days later.


Unknown said...

She's obviously not enjoying her job is she? I worked as a postie many moons ago when I was a student. For some reason I rather enjoyed it, lugging a 17 kilo bag, out in the open air, not delivering the mail to Satan the black alsation (who calls their dog Satan?) On our initiation day (when the rest of the postal workers went on strike) we were informed that Royal Mail was the only delivery service in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD that delivered to EVERYONE'S DOOR. I was interested to read at the weekend that Amazon have cancelled their contract with Royal Mail. It's not just you dear, seems the mail is crap EVERYWHERE and don't get me started on the hundreds of pounds of books that went AWOL in Paris when I was doing a correspondence course.

The Moon Topples said...

Ver: I didn't mean to imply that mail is only a problem here in Chicago. I just couldn't get over the image of that woman standing nonchalantly under an awning while our mail got wet, coupled with a newspaper article about how things are improving.

Such is life, I suppose.

Nikki Neurotic said...

I would get upset too. There's important stuff that gets sent in the mail, and I would hate to have a check or bill ruined from the carelessness of a postal worker...they get paid a decent wage!