Monday, February 20, 2006

Life at the P.O.

Today, I’m waiting to mail Mamma a present from the Greene Street P.O. Yesterday, it was press clippings to my editor. Last year, sweating, worrying about Manhattan literary agents—a tall stack of manila envelopes resting on my forearms—I held my breath before surrendering my work to the black abyss, one labeled “Out of Town,” the other “Local.” Two years ago, in a fit of sentimentality, I kissed my black & white headshots, slipped them into their packets and dreamed of the day that newsrooms and temp agencies would be far behind me.

Year by year, the dreams and the realities change but I’m always here, standing in line at the P.O…

I come hopeful, scared, ecstatic. Either I’m sending off my likeness and my thoughts in a metered envelope or I’m receiving over-sized packages of pecans and fleece-lined slippers and bundles of “Southern Living” and “Gourmet.” Tucked in between the folds, I used to find a little check from Granddaddy and Grandmother. I was to use that money expressly for cabbies and never, ever take mass transportation. The subway and everything else difficult up here could be rectified with that a touch of money and sweet words from back home.

Interesting things—remembrances or dreams—are spurred on by the yellow bricks and bright room at Greene…

“But oh, I like it here [at the P.O]. It’s ideal, as I’ve been saying. You see, I’ve got everything cater-cornered, the way I like it. Hear the radio? All the war news. Radio, sewing machine, book ends, ironing board and that great big piano lamp—peace, that’s what I like [about the P.O]…”

Eudora Welty’s “Sister” made the post office her home, far away from the worries of Stella-Rondo, Pappa-Daddy and Mamma. She was happier sleeping among the stamps and cubbyholes and in-coming parcels. Maybe I’d like to live at Greene. Everyday would be different and every night there’d be hope. Everything could be mine.

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