Eudora Welty wrote a story called "Why I Live at the P.O." Which if you used to use Eudora mail in the olden internet days, is why it was called that. I don't spend as much time as I did at the p.o. as I did, say, three years ago. More and more theatres let playwrights submit electronically. But most still don't.
My boyfriend was very pleased to tell me this morning that he had mailed two (2!) items using first-class stamps in the past month. I was lugging mail that came to $40+ when I got to the p.o. That's this week's take- I was there last week as well. You can't mail a manuscript in a mail box anymore- I think it was the Atlanta Olympics scare that brought an end to that. You must hand your envelope to a person in a post office. And if you already have the postage on it, the post office employees don't always agree who should take the envelope. It can be an elaborate game of "keep away."
It's more convenient for me to go to my old post office on 85th Street in Manhattan (it's on my way to work and near an express train), than it is to go to my new post office in Brooklyn. So I see all my old p.o. clerk pals. The sweet lady who hums to herself; the harried lady who doesn't like having to write out "Bound Printed Matter" on my play envelopes. And my own personal favorite, spray-on-hair guy. I'm not sure I knew you could get spray-on hair anymore before I met him. He never doesn't use it. It always covers exactly the same amount of his scalp. Does he think people won't notice that it's spray-on?
You have to have a p.o. strategy to beat the lines. I have a pretty good idea of when the shifts change. Mondays and Fridays are not so good. But if I can get there before 9:15, Tuesday through Thursday, there's no one there. Except between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then you'd just better bring a book.
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