The Express Over Night Get It There As Quickly As Possible envelope was scheduled to be left at my front door at 3:00 PM Friday. The sender requested that no signature be requested. The Post Office person in New York, so attentive to special instructions, even highlighted the statement that no signature was required, requested, expected, or even dreamed of in moments of uncontrollable giddiness.
Naturally, yesterday evening when I got home from work I expected to see that Express Mail envelope leaning against my front door. It seemed an expectation rooted in reality and possibility. The only thing, however, at my front door was a notice from the Post Office informing me that delivery of said Express Mail envelope for which no signature was required for delivery could not be delivered because I was not at home to sign for it. I could, however, either leave special instructions waiving the need for a signature or present myself in person at my local United Stated Post Office branch between the hours of such and such on days whatever through whenever and I could get the envelope.
This morning I arrived at said Post Office branch at 8:58. The sign on the door informed me that the Post Office would open at 9:00. At 9:15 a happy go lucky looking Post Office person opened the door. The woman who had been waiting in front of me pulled a deer in headlights routine and did not move for several long seconds. Come to think of it, she'd been waiting at the door when I arrived. I dared not speculate on how many minutes or hours or days she might have been waiting to get her no signature required package. Perhaps her DNA tests had not yet been delivered.
Eventually she took first tentative then stronger steps toward the desk.
When I finally stepped to the counter, I presented my sign here to get your whatever slip of paper and observed to the clerk that instructions had been clear that no signature was required so why was I standing here with this signature required slip of paper.
The Post Office person said, I swear she said, "Look. It says right here that no signature is required. I can't imagine why the carrier didn't just leave it at your door."
With that she disappeared into the bowels of the Post Office. When she returned she asked first for photo identification. After examining the minutiae of my drivers' license she produced several sheets of paper and requested my signature on each at the indicated line. When I asked why I had to sign now if I wasn't supposed to sign yesterday, she only stared at me in a sort of please don't make me break routine kind of look. After I had signed all of the papers she then pointed to an electronic signature pad and requested that I sign it and after that she requested that I enter my address on the electronic pad and only then did she give me the envelope.
The only thing that could have made this better would have been that-- after I had proved I was who I generally think myself to be and after I had signed just about every piece of paper in the Post Office -- the envelope had been addressed not to me but to someone named, possibly, Sven Jose Hildegaard in St. Paul. Or it had been a piece of junk mail. That would have been pretty good, too.