Only without, y'know, the fun.
(Or Mark Wahlberg and his one facial expression.)
But hey-- I successfully moved my Dad from the Florida Keys to here in Pittsburgh, without actually flipping out on my relatives who tell me to "let them know if there's anything they can do to help Dad, only they're not sure what they can do because they're so very far away, and are really busy, and have a new washer and drier delivered tomorrow, and need to be there for that, so good luck with everything okay thanks bub-bye."
But I didn't blog to tell you about my Mr. Hyde inner rage.
I'm blogging today to tell you about the amusing bit of bureaucracy I ran into at a Florida Keys post office on Friday.
The goal had been simply to get Dad's mail routed to my address while he's here in Pittsburgh for cancer treatment. So I filled out the form and Dad signed it and we approached the bright and shiny front desk.
There, the postal worker-- a lady who looked sun-blighted from years in the Keys, or her color possibly drained from Post Office Customer Service and dealing with people like me-- examined the form and said to Dad:
"So you're leaving the Keys forever, huh? Well, good luck!"
I blinked. "Excuse me?"
She indicated Dad. "He's not coming back, right?"
I wondered if she knew more about Dad's medical diagnosis right now than we did. Maybe she was like that cat I read about in the news who could just tell who the next person in the hospital would be to snuff it.
"Um, we don't know yet," I said, puzzled. "He might, but we don't know when. That's why we didn't choose the option where you have to fill in a date to start routing his mail back here."
"You checked Permanent. He's moving away permanently. So he can't come back," she told me.
Now, by this point in the day, I had already:
- Walked about a mile to get Dad's car from the hospital parking lot and drive it back to his house
- Run numerous errands
- Personally dropped off the man's water bill and electric bill payments because he insisted that no one should spend the stamps to mail them when it was so easy for me to just run in.
I was a woman on the edge.
"Can't come BACK?!" I asked.
Dad saw the inner Hyde emerging and assured me, "She's kidding."
I said, "I don't have a sense of humor right now. It's moved. And it's checked the Permanent box."
But the Post Office Worker was not smiling. "I'm serious. He can't come back. Once that box is checked, we can never route his mail back there again. We need a date when he'll return."
"But I don't know the date when he'll return," I said. "People move all the time and never have an idea when they'll be where. How can I know what that date is? I am not Nostradamus!"
But she just said how this was a much better system than it was before, and the fact we hadn't needed to write a date in the previous system was WRONG, and this now is RIGHT and the most efficient way of doing things and...
"Is Eric Idle back there?" I asked the heavens. "Is Michael Palin or John Cleese going to pop out and say, 'And now for something completely different...'? Please tell me they are."
But she didn't seem to know those guys. Perhaps they worked there before she joined the USPS.
Eventually, we agreed to choose a completely arbitrary date in the future, which she says I will only now have to remember to change and update before it comes due-- making this system, thus, so very easy and user-friendly and far superior to the previous system and...
Dad was tugging me to the door.
I've heard that phrase, "You can't go home again."
Guess our friends in the Postal Service take that to the letter.