Several months ago, the main post office closed, we assume for renovations. We hope. We discovered this when N found a notice taped to the screen of its bank machine. “Go to the next town,” it said. Okay, that’s not exactly what it said, but you get the idea.
There is another much smaller branch that offers reduced services (not including an ATM, obviously,) at reduced hours. It is so tiny that the line often goes out the door, down the street. Even in the rain.
A couple of days ago, while I was giving Pata a bath, someone rang the buzzer. From the number of rings and their duration, I guessed it was the mail carrier. I couldn’t answer the door but I expected that he would leave a notice of a delivery attempt. When N came home that evening, I asked him if he had found one in the mailbox. He hadn’t. Strange, I thought, I wonder who it was?
The next day, we found half a sheet of white paper that had been slipped under the front door. It was a notice that someone was holding a letter for us, and it included a number to call to arrange “una nuova modalità,” (a new way!) of delivery. Apparently, now that the main post office is closed here, they aren’t holding mail or packages that haven’t been delivered on the first attempt. Instead, they’re turning them over to a company that uses poorly photocopied notification forms and provides only the cell phone number of the deliveryman.
Yesterday, I called to arrange a delivery. The man I spoke to said, “I can’t deliver it today.”
“That’s fine,” I told him. “What about tomorrow?”
“It depends,” he said. “If it rains, I can’t deliver it. That’s why I can’t deliver it today. I was going to work this morning, but I changed my mind because of the rain.”
I paused, not really knowing what to make of that.
“I’m on foot, and I carry the letters in my hand. They get wet if it rains.”
Had it never occurred to him to put the letters in a bag? I decided to be non-confrontational because he had our mail. “Oh, I understand,” I told him.
“If it doesn’t rain tomorrow, I can deliver it. Will there be someone at home?”
“Well, I have to do some shopping. Do you know around what time you’d deliver it?”
“No. But if you go out you can look for me. You can call me to find out where I am.”
At that point, I was wishing I could just wait on a long line in the rain at the tiny post office to get the letter. Because it would be so much easier.
Today it looks like rain.