Brace yourselves, Readers, for the excitement of this blog post for today I undertook a visit to the Post Office to send two parcels.
No really. That’s it.
Here’s the thing though: I have now lived in Pennsylvania for almost seven months and today marks the first time I have ever posted a parcel in America. I have mailed things in envelopes and I have sent postcards but until today I had not had cause to actually go into a Post Office and send parcels. Now we get to how neurotic I am. I realised, as I was writing the addresses on the parcels, that I actually had no clue how to request the mail service I needed. Both parcels contained works of art that I had been commissioned to undertake so I had to send them as securely as possible. Obviously I knew exactly what to request in Britain but I had no idea what language was used to describe that same service here in the US or even if such a service was offered. I started to have visions of long queues forming behind me as I tried to explain to the postal person exactly what I needed to happen, possibly entirely lost in translation. I have always tended towards the neurotic because I am a control freak and abhor public displays of my ignorance because it signifies a lack of control. Now, being an immigrant, I find myself frequently being drawn up short by the basic things I do not know, things I have taken for granted for so many decades of my life that I cannot actually recollect having learned them in the first place. Basic life skills and knowledge accumulated over decades, largely be osmosis, are very challenging to replicate in a condensed period of time. It is made worse by the fact that, at my age, people around me must assume I ought to know what I am doing and yet there I am asking basic questions of people and offering the explanation that I recently moved here from Scotland to mitigate against my ignorance. So, yes, the prospect of standing at the head of a line of people and needing to be talked through how to post a parcel made me feel like a twerp.
So I hit up the mommapedia by posting my query on Facebook so that my American friends could Babel-fish translate what it was I needed to happen to the parcels into a succinct phrase I could request of the postal person. I had an answer in mere minutes. Neurosis quelled.
As it turned out, I was the only customer in the Post Office. I would not have had an audience for my display of ignorance after all. The lady on the desk understood my request and everything went tickety-boo with the parcels of art work being allocated tracking numbers and detailed receipts issued. Job done. So long as the parcels arrive in one piece. Whole other neurosis there. Not even thinking about it. Much.