Don’t Go Postal

Since I’ve been back in the States, I have had the pleasure of frequenting the Post Office twice. And both times, the line was long and moved like molasses.  During this time, I couldn’t help but overhear the cacophony of complaints expressed by the people in the queue. People with different accents united together in the” Melting Pot” we call America to gripe.

I heard many countries represented: Korea, Iran, Serbia. The guy working the counter was Indian, the lady behind me was Jamaican, there was a woman with a thick southern accent mailing a package to her son in Iraq. And despite all these different backgrounds, the complaints and general discussion were the same: We should privatize the U.S. Post Office, our government can’t control anything, something needs to be done about the nation’s debt, and who is the best person for the job? Obama or Romney?

I couldn’t help but be reminded of how government institutions operate in developing countries.  At least here one can be assured a package will most likely make it, one will not have to bribe an official to get it, and most importantly, there is a post office within five minutes of one’s house. I have fond memories of traveling one hour by bus to the nearest post office in Honduras in order to mail a package, only to wait in line another hour to find out my package wasn’t wrapped properly. I then had to drag myself out of line to a nearby shop which sold tape and boxes, seeing as it would be too logical to sell the same goods in the actual post office itself. Once purchased, I drearily lugged myself and my package back to the post office, only to stand in line for another hour debating if my package would actually make it. This was all followed by another one hour bus ride home accompanied by chickens.

As I witnessed my fellow comrades in the post office, I noticed that their patience was progressively dwindling.  Meanwhile, I simply stood happily in line amused by the conversation surrounding me, thankful for the efficiency here compared to the chaotic, yet exciting world of developing countries.

If there is one thing I learned while living in Honduras, it is how to wait. Thanks to my time there, my patience runs thick, and I have learned how to entertain myself while waiting for a train, plane, or doctor for ten hours or more. One hour in an air-conditioned U.S. Post Office is like being in the lobby of a Four Seasons. Bring it.

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