It's Tuesday and my errand for the day is: mail my daughter's wedding dress to her. A few months ago she visited and tried the dress on for me (Beautiful!--SHE'S beautiful, the dress is beautiful! Exciting!--I can't believe she's getting married in four months! But also, sad-ish--my little girl is all grown up!) The dress fits perfectly and she wants me to store it in our house, which I am happy to do,
but then, she changes her mind and would like for me to mail it back. I am fine with this, although, a tad anxious, not totally confident in the US Postal Service, and further complicating matters, the Ship and Sell place I'd been using to return Returns, recently lost a Return. So, what to do?
I fold my daughter's dress and place it carefully back into the box and head out to tackle the task, choosing the nearest package-mailing place, which I will henceforth call: the POO-PEE-PESS Store.
The guy at the counter is young-ish and bored-ish, but dutifully takes the box and asks me where I'd like it mailed. While I'm reeling off the address, I am not-watching and watching as he sticks three rather small pieces of tape around the box.
(A word about this box: It opens on three sides. The dress is accordian-ed into it and threatening any moment to poof out. Will three small pieces of tape keep the thing safely secured? I don't know!)
"Excuse me," I say, "could you add a little more tape to that?"
The guy looks at me boredishly. "It's got enough tape on it." He moves on with the transaction and I fiddle with my credit card, popping it into the machine as I eye the box and the very small amount of tape again. If I had done this at home, I would've strapped half a roll of tape around the box and maybe that would've been overkill, but really, is there something between half a roll and three small pieces that might be... better?
"Okay," I say, and I chuckle a little to show the guy that I am cool and not possibly, a nutjob. "But could you just humor me and add a few more pieces of tape? This is an important package."
The guy looks at the box, a hint of an eye-roll threatening. "Trust me," he says. "There's enough tape."
"Yeah," I say, chuckling again, but more manically this time. "I'm asking you to add more tape. Please. This is a wedding dress."
He looks at me. I look at him. He shakes his head. No.
My heart is banging. Blood is sloshing around inside my skull. I am imagining the dress spilling out of the box on a roadway, its copious lace tearing and unraveling. I won't be able to sleep tonight, I won't be able to live with myself if I don't get THIS GUY to put more tape on the box.
For a moment I am in the library facing the woman who wanted me to help her with her tax forms and I kept trying to explain to her why I couldn't do that and she kept growing more upset and why wouldn't I help her and finally I walked away and sent the Circ Manager Who Gets Paid the Big Bucks to deal with situations like that.
But there is no one else working in this POO PEE PESS Store!!
I grab a roll of tape off the wall and not chuckling at all, I tell the guy I am buying this tape and I am taping the box myself. He stands aside as I do that, then we complete the transaction, with an additional eight dollars and eighty one cents for the tape.
I pay for it gladly and burst out of the POO PEE PESS Store sweating and jittery, only thinking when I get into my car that I should've taken the box back from the guy, told him to F off and gone some place else, but what are you gonna do. Sometimes we are at the mercy of the world, the bored, the disinterested, the unwavering, the just-doing-their-jobs,
and okay, maybe I should've been kinder to that lady at the library who didn't understand why I was the last person in the world who should be giving tax advice to anyone. Even so, I could've been kinder, I truly could have been, and next time I will be, I promise, I PROMISE, but in the meantime, let the tape hold.
Please. Let the tape hold.
PS: It did.