Making a visit to the post office is scary stuff for a number of reasons. I mean, there’s awkward human interaction, which lasts anywhere from 10 seconds to 5 minutes, with a passive-aggressive student employee who automatically hates you because someone cared enough to mail you something, even if it is just a box of dirty laundry you never got around to cleaning. And then there’s…well, that’s pretty much it. But fear not! Picking up your crap, much like learning organic chemistry and walking across Noyes Circle after the snow has somehow melted into ice (magic?), isn’t so bad once you’re given some helpful guidance from a post office pro.
First things first, you’ll need a package to pick up, and if no one loves you then getting one will require effort. Go to Amazon and order the 20 mandatory books you will need for that class you’ll end up dropping after you notice things like “participation” and “caring” make up about 35-percent of your grade. Also there’s a paper or something that’s due at the end of the semester and to put it eloquently: you ain’t about that life, dawg.
Once you’ve placed your online order, wait around for 20 email notifications to tell you that your mini library has finally arrived (if you never receive an email, never fear!…your mail is probably just lost forever). After three weeks of catatonically staring at your computer screen, hitting the refresh button on your inbox page and thinking about those precious participation points crumbling down like the Walls of Jericho, you’ll probably decide to check your other email address—the one you use for your My Little Pony fanfiction account—and stumble upon nearly two dozen confirmation emails.
Here is where you cry.
OK, crying time is over. PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER.
Time to get into the zone. Remember, timing is everything: Show up at 4:25pm (for the bold few, showing up at 4:29pm is pretty much the temporal equivalent of being a honeybadger). Slap yourself a few times and build yourself up into a rage outside the Kiosk. Make sure you’re out of breath, or at least act like it. This gives the impression that you barrel rolled out of your TH, ran half way across campus and presumably fought off zombie ninjas on the quad in order to arrive at just-in-the-nick-of-closing-time (even if the truth is you strolled over from the Retreat after giving up on trying to differentiate between recyclables, compostables, trash, and Deece food).
Walk up to the counter where you will be asked for your box number. Ignore this question. Begin listing your student ID number, social security, home address, ATM pin, FAFSA pin, and the time and date of where you were when you decided being ironic was the lifestyle choice for you. After finally reciting every digit combination that has ever crossed your mind, end with the four that make up your post office box number. And then shriek “YOU’RE WELCOME” to the weeping student worker.
While the mail clerk disappears into the back, possibly to reconsider all of his life choices, take the opportunity to sign the signature pad. You understand that both “sign” and “signature” leave much room for interpretation and as an aspiring artist you will take full advantage of this moment. Work quickly, but with precision. Aim for curviness over angularity, details and accuracy. Congratulations, you drew a penis. Laugh at your own joke.
You whip out your phone so you don’t completely look like a lost puppy waiting in the rain for a bowl of food. Try to hunch over so that the person in line behind you won’t be able to see the image of the cat you have as your wallpaper. You can’t handle the adorableness of this cat yourself, so you step back to allow a clear shot of your phone background. Smile and wait for compliments about this adorable cat until you realize that no one cares. Pretend not to look hurt. Pretend harder.
Eventually, the mail clerk will reappear carrying only two packages and a smarmy grin on him face. You don’t like bad news, and in situations like these, whatever you don’t like doesn’t happen. Tell him you know the package is there, and you have the tracking numbers to prove it! Be forceful. You know best. Your package is important. Very important. Unlike the stupid packages that the other 2000 people on campus receive, yours is special. Explain that your father’s brother’s wife’s aunt’s uncle’s boyfriend’s half-stepbrother’s history professor at Oxford is sending you these boxes all the way from Egypt. There are puppies in the boxes—they’re running out of air. Say you really really really really really really need the boxes, please?
You leave the post office defeated. You check your email again, this time there’s a notification: “Package Available in Receiving.” You check the time.
You sob openly.