I work in a mail processing center the size of ten football fields inside. Now most
any postal facility (be it UPS, FedEx, USPS, or Pony Express) this time of year
will be overwhelmed with parcels and holiday greetings of some kind or another.
The building where I am employed is smack dab in the middle of an area of the
country where at least a thousand new residents move in every month, and no
one moves away. The growth has been unstoppable for years and years. Construction sites everywhere, new subdivisions on top of new subdivisions,
schools overcrowded, new businesses and shopping centers on every corner,
new roads, power and water plants overworked and running out of resources,
mail workers doing tons of overtime to get all parcels and cards delivered on
time to Iraq, to Alaska, to New Hampshire, to Florida, to all points on the globe.
My job is to keep a 22-Bay dock running on the night shift from 11pm until
11am or whenever I can grab my coat and get the hell out of the building
before the doorbell rings again. The day shift just loves having me stay over
and help out. I don’t usually complain, but I am beginning to miss the life I
once had outside of this workplace. Besides the extra Xmas trucks coming
in from California, Texas, Indiana, Florida and Massachusetts all night and all
day long we still have to make our regular daily scheduled dispatches.
The best way to describe this chaos is the following: Consider all the
tenants and their kids, cats, dogs and belongings moving out of a highrise
apartment building at the same hour on the same day and the elevator quits
working…and hardly anyone speaks the same language as the person in charge
of operations….and some of the trucks coming to pick up some of the belongings
scattered all over the lawn break down on the highway…and some of the movers
start up a card game…and some of the movers stand around and complain about
everything…and some of the outbound tenants have move-out rage (akin to
road rage)…and the kids and dogs get hungry…and the cats start fighting…and
there seems to be no end in sight to the sea of people, trucks, and containers
of mail to be moved out and across the US. The director’s job is to take all calls on radio, cellphone, PA system, land phone, shout-outs from across yard and all
questions from movers and tenants present, and to get everybody and their belongings on the right truck on the right road safely and efficiently and without having a nervous breakdown or a temper tantrum. Get a prescription for Prozac and
concentrate on one thing at a time, keep one’s mouth shut and learn to tune out
all the whiners. Having a stroke in the middle of this tsunami of holiday mail
is not how I want my life to end. Fourteen days and counting.