Five O’Clock

Day 66 of 365 . . . prompt word: five o’clock

Usually at five o’clock I am heading home from work — a mere two minutes of driving. But today I had to pick up mail at the post office on my way home.

Our PO Box number is 505. I thought it was ironic I snapped this picture at 5:05 p.m.

I live in a small town on the Canadian prairies. Going to the Post Office is a social event. You see people and visit with those you haven’t seen in some time. You check the community board for funeral cards to know which church rang their steeple bell 89 times. This week was poor Matilda, aged 89, who suffered from Alzheimer’s for the last 13 years and finally gave up her fight. You overhear the older folks talking about their latest ailment or the weather. You hear farmers giving one another stats on this year’s harvest. You check in with the kind ladies who faithfully sort the mail, day in and day out.

It is a fine social event.

One time I had to activate a new credit card that had come in the mail. The lady on the phone from the credit card company had to wait for the activation to be completed so we had a few minutes to visit on the phone.

Lady: So, you don’t have an actual street address?

Me: Yes, I have a street address. But I have a box number at the post office which is where my mail is delivered.

Lady: You don’t have it delivered to your door?

Me: Nope.

Lady: That sucks.

Me: Not really. It’s only a few blocks from my house. It’s a real social thing.

Lady: So let me understand. You actually have to leave your house and go to a completely separate building to pick up your mail?

Me: Yes, but it’s really not as bad as you think. It’s nice seeing people I might not normally see during the week.

Lady: Does your house even have a number?

Me: (rolling my eyes). Yes, each house has a number and a street address.

Lady: So, I don’t understand. If you have a street address and a house number, why doesn’t the mail come to your house.

Me: I suppose our town is too small for that sort of service. But like I said before, it’s a real social thing.

Lady: That would drive me crazy. I just can’t imagine what that must be like to have to go somewhere else to get your mail.

Me: Well, I guess if you have an opportunity to live in a small community some day, you’ll understand.

Lady: Ha! Not a chance! Not if I have to pick up my mail every day.

What’s your favourite social event of the day?

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