The Postman Always Rings Twice

Just kidding. The postman barely stops the truck if he has giant packages for you and you don’t live in a doorman building. I have never directly received a large package by USPS in all the years I’ve lived in New York.

I have however received tiny beige slips telling me that I’ve missed a package and have to come pick it up a few blocks away in the world’s longest line at the post office. One frigidly cold January morning, I opened my mailbox to find just such a beige slip.

This particularly January morning, I had called out of my restaurant job with a cold. I wasn’t dying, but wheneverpossible, I try to avoid contaminating the food that strangers are going to eat. (Contaminating the food of friends and family? Meh, they’re fine.) My college friend, the Cheeky Chipmunk, was moving to New York from LA and had asked me to pick up a few small items that she had shipped. So, I figured since I was home, I’d help her out.

I schlepped out into the chilly, snowy air, ready to be all the friend I could be. But when I arrived at the post office, I found there was a line of about 25 people waiting to pick up their mail that had not, for some reason, been delivered to their homes.

Have you ever been kind of sick, but assured yourself you were fine and then had to go stand in a line somewhere that was really hot for a long time with nothing to lean on? Ten minutes into my post office trip, I had the sweats and the shakes and was feeling fairly certain that I was going to pass out. I looked like I had just been roofied, which of course, prompted the British guy in front of me to start hitting on me. I have never wished so badly for spontaneous projectile vomit.

When I got to the front of the line, after what seemed like a hundred years or a full episode of American Idol, I discovered that the “few small items” from LA were actually five giant boxes. And no, I could not leave some there and come back for them. I had brought my biggest rolling suitcase, upon which I tried to stack the boxes in what looked like the most unwieldy attempt to run away from home ever.

About two store fronts into my return trip, I was ready to give up. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I was fairly certain crying would be involved. That’s when a homeless guy who I had seen around the neighborhood came up to me and asked if I needed any help.

As we approached my apartment, it dawned on me that I was showing a stranger exactly where I lived. And I was not healthy enough to fight off a toothless baby, let alone a man infused with the strength of all the voices that might be in his head.

I stopped him at the gate of my building and thanked him profusely, but told him my boyfriend who lived upstairs and had just gotten home from his Mixed Martial Arts training session wanted to help me get them up the rest of the way. I offered him all the cash I had on me ($7), which he took, and somehow managed to slide the boxes up the stairs to my home, where I spent the rest of the day in the fetal position on my couch.

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