Just bitchin'

@USPS A Tale of Thieves and Liars

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This is a story about the United States Postal Service.

Be forewarned that this is a true story and will, hopefully, catch the attention of someone with the ability to enact change in this dysfunctional government entity. But…who am I kidding? They could care less. Nonetheless, I’m posting this. Sometimes venting is all that’s left when faced with dishonesty and stupidity.

So…

I expected a package to be delivered today. As usual, I made sure I was home and available to answer the door when the Priority Mail Express parcel showed up.

The hours passed. I kept checking the tracking information online. Toward the end of the day, I was checking it every few minutes, because there have been several occasions in the past when the mail carrier has outright lied and claimed he tried to deliver a package, but no one was home. I’ve complained repeatedly about this situation, which amounts to thievery on the part of the USPS. Why pay for their special services that ensure a package will arrive when their carriers lie about attempting to provide the service for which you paid?

So between one minute and the next, I saw the notice pop up that delivery had been attempted, but no one was home.

Livid, I went out to the street, found the Failed Delivery notice in my box, and stood in the pouring rain waiting for the mail carrier to come by on his return journey.

I should mention I live on a dead end street. He had no choice but to return the way he’d come.

After about 15 minutes, I saw the little, white mail truck headed my way.

I stepped out into the street and waved…displaying the Failed Delivery notice prominently.

He slowed.

He saw.

He hit the gas and nearly ran me down.

I screamed as he raced by, almost clipping me.

Shaking, I returned to my computer and lodged a complaint which mentioned legal action and police involvement.

Then, I followed the instructions and called the phone number on the failed delivery notice to request ‘Redelivery.’ (An impossibility, since no one attempted to deliver anything the first time.) After half an hour of laborious data entry over the phone, I reached the end of the process. The automated voice had verified my tracking number, my phone number, my address, the service I purchased for delivery.

At the very end, it asked for my name.

I gave it. Clearly. Slowly.

Before hanging up on me, the voice said “I’m sorry. There seems to be a problem.”

 

At last the USPS and I agree on something.

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Just bitchin'

Petty Thievery

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I haven’t lived in my current location all that long. Just a few years.

But in that time, I’ve tweaked and nudged and lavished tiny touches on the land and buildings that don’t necessarily extend their longevity or increase their value…but that have meaning to me. Some are a bit quixotic. Which means they suit me.

What signifies nothing to others may have strong import for me, the lone resident of my strange, little world.

So it is with my blue reflectors.

They aren’t necessary. No one will mistake the sloping green of wild grassland for the gravel of the driveway proper. No one will require the guidance of electric blue to find their way down a long and winding road to the humble beach cottage at its end.

I set them out because I like their color.

Nothing more.

I like the gaudy sign of civilization that tells me I’m nearly home. I like their shape and size and ability to shine forth no matter the Northwest weather. I like hiking out to the road for mail and sharing it with their azure energy.

I bought five of them. Because they are inexpensive and…again…I like their color.

But now, there are only four. One of their number having been spirited away by a neighbor. For this is a locale where no one comes unless they live here. A miles-long dead end street. Who else, but a neighbor would know of their existence?

First reaction: disbelief. I count them. Twice. But no matter how I try to redefine reality, there is only one way to count to five.

Second reaction: create implausible explanations. As a fiction writer, this is my forte. But at the end of the day, the idea of Bigfoot absconding with the blue reflector that was closest to the road, doesn’t have enough weight to trounce the ugly reality…

…I live among thieves.

Third reaction: vengeance. I shall hike through wind and rain and fatigue until I find the lone, blue reflector standing sentinel in a neighbor’s yard. Then, I will snatch it away and run screaming into the night, knowing my cause is just.

Fourth reaction: puzzlement. Why would someone steal something so easily purchased at the local hardware store? For lack of the $1.50 it costs? For lack of the wherewithal to actually go to the hardware store?

I begin to feel sorry for the thief.  So maybe four is my lucky number. Not five. Maybe four blue reflectors is more appropriate. Feeling philosophical, I traipse back down my four-reflector drive to my cottage. Outwardly, I cling to the concept of ‘all things happen for a reason; to all things there is a purpose.’

I tell myself I hope the reflector-thief finds contentment and joy in his new possession.

But inside…inadmissible fury bubbles and churns. For I am certain that somewhere down his newly-reflectorized road, the culprit will encounter cat-fueled karma that will shiver his bones to splinters and color his world electric blue….

Because karma’s a bitch with a capital ‘B.’

You know…’B’ as in…BLUE.

Electric, reflectorized blue…

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Incorrigible

boxerOver the course of a weekend, I was robbed. Three times. Three. All three while I was at home, not five yards from the epicenter of the crime.

Three. Thrice. Triple. Hat trick.

Three.

The culprit was possessed of uncanny expertise, unparalleled stealth, and I’m sure came from a long line of thieves. Only congenital disposition could account for such dastardly success.

The first theft was committed when I’d returned from an outing with friends. As I stored my hiking boots away… the criminal entered my home. It was a near perfect crime. If he’d wiped his feet before entering, there would have been no clue other than the theft itself.

But this burglar added insult to injury, leaving his large, ungainly footprints with flagrant disregard for secrecy. Such was his contempt for my security measures.

But these things happen. Feeling philosophical, I cleaned up the crime scene and resigned myself to the role of victim.

The second theft of the same nature occurred the next morning. This time I was alerted by the look of outrage on my cat’s face. Intruder! Come quick! Expel them! But I was too late. No footprints this time, but a plate licked clean where seconds before had been a full one.

Theft three happened mere moments ago as I idly channel-surfed, debating between book or television for an hour of recreation. Slowly, so slowly…ominously…the front door swung open.

“Who’s there?”

No answer. Instead a brown blur took its fate in its paws and rocketed past, going for broke, taking a chance, drawn by the inexplicable lure of Friskies. What is this tasty thing, and why is it earmarked for cats alone?

In a flash I pursued the transgressor. Too late. What takes a cat all day to nibble, takes a split-second for a canine tongue to demolish.

Yet in the midst of success…defeat. The sneak thief was trapped. No escape. But he was not without recourse. What speed can’t accomplish, a tilted head and large, pleading, brown eyes can.

He was punished for his multiple crimes with ear-ruffling and meat loaf.

He has learned his lesson: use the front door, and look soulful. His penance is a full stomach and clean paws for the rest of his days. Or until his owner comes forth…

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