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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Perils of Post

It's 9 AM. I was till past three the night before, and my first class doesn't start till 12:45. Naturally, I get a phone call.

Me: Hello?

Phone Boy: Hello, is this Eleanor?

Me: Yes.

Phone Boy: We have a package here for you, could you come and pick it up?

Me: Sure, I'll do that.

Phone Boy: Ok, thanks.

And with that, he hangs up. I yawn, look over at my still unconscious roommate, make a mental note to go to the post office after class, and go back to bed. At 10, my alarm goes off and I reluctantly get out of bed, take a shower, and check my e-mail. I've slept through breakfast, but I'm hungry, so I decide to leave early and get lunch. It's now 11:25, my class is right next to the cafe, I should have plenty of time.

So once again, naturally, I get a phone call.

Me: Hello?

Phone Boy: Hello, is this Eleanor?

Me: That's me.

Phone Boy: Hi, you have a package you need to pick up.

Me: Ok, I have class, can I pick it up after my 12:45 class?

Phone Boy: Um, not really. We're not responsible for any packages. You need to get it now.

Me: Fine, I'll be right there.

And with that, I hang up. The situation is bizarre and annoying for a number of reasons, one of which being that I'll now have to go sit through an hour and a half long play analysis class with an empty, complaining stomach, another of which being that typically, the arrival of a package is heralded through e-mail rather than the rarely used dorm phone, and typically, you're allowed to pick up a package whenever it's convenient. The fact that it's already 11:30 and I've been called twice is more than a bit strange.

Obviously, at this point, it's the former rather than the latter reason that has me annoyed. I grab my books, my mp3 player, and an apple and grudgingly leave my room to the dulcet tones of Guster.

After realizing half-way there that I have both the wrong book and the wrong key with me, I show up at the post office in a mood that even "Lightening Rod" can't seem to any better, and hand the Post Office Woman my ID card.

Post Office Woman: Are you here to pick up?

Me: Oh yes.

Post Office Woman: Nickerson?

Me: That's my name.

Post Office Woman: I'm sorry, we don't have a package for you.

Me: What?

Post Office Woman: Yeah, there's nothing here for you.

Me: But, someone called me!

Post Office Woman: I didn't call anyone.

Me: Well somebody did! Twice! Once at nine, and then again about fifteen minutes ago. They said they couldn't hold it because they weren't responsible for it.

Post Office Woman: Well, it wasn't me. We don't call people. Try the bookstore.

Me: The bookstore?

Post Office Woman: Yeah, they might call people. I don't think they do, but they might. Who knows?

Me: Thanks.

Post Office Woman: Yep.

And so I wander upstairs to the bookstore. Never mind the fact that I already have all my books, and haven't ordered any others since. I end up in a line towards the back of the store behind two tall, attractive, athletic-looking guys waiting for psychology books - instantly, of course, I wonder why I decided against taking psychology this semester - and for the moment am perfectly content to stand and watch them wait. Unfortunately, the moment is broken by the rather unexpected reappearance of Post Office Woman.

Post Office Woman: (Pointing to me) Um, excuse me! She was called twice this morning about a package she needed to pick up. Was it you?

We are then joined by a rather confused looking Bookstore Woman who I am convinced came literally out of nowhere.

Confused Bookstore Woman: I don't think it was us. We usually don't call people.

Me: So it wasn't you or the post office?

Confused Bookstore Woman: Don't think so. You were called twice?

Me: Yeah, within a couple of hours. I thought I could wait to pick it up, but I guess not. Is there anyone else who could have called?

Confused Bookstore Woman: You could try Residential Life upstairs. They sometimes get flowers or chocolates delivered and end up having to call people.

At this point the tall, attractive athletes give me a look and snicker to themselves. I turn red, and decide it's probably time to leave. I stomp up the stairs to the rarely visited second floor and am immediately treated to the inciting smell of warm bacon. Ironically, the scent hits me as I pass the headquarters of Hofstra Hillel. Past their room, I discover an entire breakfast buffet set out in front of Residential Life. Apparently, there's an international student breakfast going on. I debate over whether or not New Hampshire could be considered "international" before deciding to suck it up, walk past, and go find my mystery package.

Res Life Woman: Can I help you?

Me: Hi, this morning I got a phone call asking if I could pick up a package, which I promise I intended to do after class, but apparently it couldn't wait because I got another call about an hour later saying I needed to pick it up now. So I went to the post office, but they don't call people and didn't have anything for me, then I went to the bookstore and they didn't have anything either so they sent me here, and here I am.

Res Life Woman: Well, we don't call people either.

Me: Seriously? Then who does?

Res Life Woman: No one I know. Though, it could be the person in the booth at the entrance to your dorm.

Me: The person I walked past to get here?

Res Life Woman: Yes. Did they tell you who they were?

Me: No, they just told me to pick it up.

Res Life Woman: Did you bother to ask?

Me: I had just woken up!

Res Life Woman: Well, next time be sure to ask. Try the booth. Have a nice day.

So, once again, I turned around and walked out, defiantly stealing a piece of bacon as I did. I walked back to my dorm which, because I'm a freshman, is in the middle of nowhere all the way across campus. I walked up to the booth and glared at the guy inside.

Me: I'm Eleanor Nickerson.

Booth Guy: Ok.

Me: I got two calls this morning about having to pick up a package.

Booth Guy: A what?

Me: A package!

Booth Guy: You got a call?

Me: I got two!

Booth Guy: Oh, you mean this one.

At this point he reaches down and pulls out a large box with my name clearly written in my mother's handwriting taped to the top of it. He comes out from behind the booth and hands it to me.

Booth Guy: Here you go. I just wasn't sure what to do with it.

Me: Thanks.

And so now I have the package. And I'm late to class. And I just remembered I have the wrong key to my room. And I still have to get through a set of revolving doors with a large box and a drama book about the size of a hardcover dictionary. Good times. I somehow manage to make it through the doors and up to my suite, desperately hoping at least one of my suitemates is inside as I only have the key to my room inside, not to the suite itself. I ram on the door as loud as I can for about ten minutes, engage in a bit of cursing, and then give up.

And so here I am. Standing in a hallway with large box and a key that won't work. I've spent my whole morning looking for this thing, running around on a totally unnecessary goose chase that ended up ending a minute from my dorm. There was no telling what was inside that box. I had an idea, obviously, I had known that eventually I would be getting a package and knew vaguely what was inside. But how was it all arranged? If I opened it in the hallway, would the entire second floor of my house end up gazing at my underwear? Or was it, perhaps, my sketchbook at the top?

Curiosity is a terrible thing. Curiosity with a sharp, useless key that can tear open a cardboard box in the middle of a hallway is worse.

It's the moment I have it open, of course, to my underwear on top, that my suitemate opens the door. Because that's how things work.

Suitemate: Hey, Nelly, what's, um, going on?

Nelly: Just don't ask.

And so, I kick my box of unmentionables into the common room and then into my room, grab the correct drama book, the key to the suite and immediately head off towards somewhere I'm actually supposed to be going.

The moral? Always wake up before nine. That way, you'll be coherent enough to ask where the hell your package is, and who's calling. It might also be to always have your key with you, but you know, who really knows at this point?