Email has cut considerably into the United States Postal Service's business. For goodness sake, the USPS lost two billion dollars in 2014.
Although I pay almost all of my bills online, I still mail a check or two over the course of a year. My wife and I, like most folks over forty, still mail actual, physical birthday cards to loved ones annually. So, there is still the need for the Postal Service. And just this morning, I attempted to put that need to use.
My train pulled in to Philadelphia's Suburban Station this morning around 8:15, like it does pretty much every morning. I exited the train and fumbled around in my bag for the birthday card my wife left — on my bureau next to my wallet — for me to mail. I climbed the stairs from the subterranean train platform up to the main floor of the train station, where, among the bustling coffee shops and newsstands, I would find a mailbox. I pass one every morning. It's right in front of one of four Dunkin Donuts I pass on my usual route to my office building.
And — sure enough — there was the mailbox. But there was a guy standing right in front of it. Actually, leaning on it! He was a real corporate-type. Expensive-looking briefcase in his hand and an expensive-looking haircut on his head. He wore a tailored trench coat and was peering over the tops of his designer glasses, frowning as he thumbed through the contents of his iPhone. And he was blocking all access to the mailbox.
I approached him and the mailbox. "Excuse me, please." I said. I tried to force my lips into a smile.
He looked up from his phone with the most annoyed, the most evil scowl on his face. An expression that would be the result of someone asking if they could drop dog shit on your head or a doctor informing you of a surprise rectal exam. The disdain on his face was palpable. And he didn't seem to want to make an attempt at moving.
I raised the birthday card up so he could see I had something to deposit in the mailbox and I was not just asking him to vacate his staked parcel of linoleum tiled floor as a matter of aesthetics. Slowly — painfully slowly — he slunk over to the side of the mailbox, graciously allowing me to open the access door and drop in my card.
The train station is a huge building, three city blocks long and a city block wide. It is a transportation hub for 13 regional rail train lines, as well as the city's two subway routes. It handles approximately 25,000 passengers per day. Per day. PER FUCKING DAY! And the only place this guy could find to stand in the whole fucking building was right in front of a fucking mailbox?
I suppose this is what they mean by "going postal."