Day 201: Why Didn’t I Move Here Sooner?
Our stimulus check got lost in the mail. Last Monday, the image of the glorious thing was in my Daily Digest, along with a paystub and a package. No mail came that day. It didn’t come the next day. Or the day after. Nobody at USPS could give me a straight answer and it was my regular mailman’s day off. It was the worst-case nightmare scenario. Especially considering that I was already buying baseball tickets like I was a goddamn Rockefeller. I knew that getting the check wouldn’t be easy. From all my experiences in Brooklyn, the Post Office is a place to avoid like the plague. If I got a nickel for every argument I’ve gotten in at the post office, I could probably break one of their windows. The alternative scenario was that I would have to deal directly with the IRS to get a trace on the check and have them send another one. Just writing that sentence makes me a little queasy inside. I would rather donate $1400 worth of plasma. And I’d probably make that much money doing it before I’d ever see a replacement check. For all intents and purposes, the check was DOA, except it was never OA, so I guess it was just D.
Yesterday morning, the paystub showed up in my mailbox. It was like some sort of cruel ransom note. If I ever want to see my precious check, I have to meet some demands. Next week, I’ll get the label from the package, the week after, some bubble wrap. As I rode the train into the city, wondering why there was no demands on the envelope, I got a phone call. Not from the checknapper, but from the manager of my Post Office. She found the package and the check. I didn’t ask how or where, I was just so overjoyed and grateful that it existed. And to prevent any further issues, she was going to personally set it aside for me to pick up. I drove there first thing this afternoon, parked in the lot and took in the decent lighting and ventilation while waiting in line for a whole 3 minutes. Lo and behold, my mail was sitting right there at the window, safe and sound. It was so beautiful, I almost cried.
Now…why does this story matter? Because it reads like fiction. In what universe would the manager of a Post Office go out of her way to find your mail? Only in dreams would that manager then personally call you and arrange for you to safely get it? In what fucking world would said mail be sitting right at the window waiting for you? What kind of New York Post Office has a parking lot? Only in Astoria. And probably some other places.
I went for a walk this afternoon. Just to pick up some whiskey. The place was only a few minutes away. The clerks were overly friendly. Almost too friendly. I’m so used to buying my Evan Williams from curmudgeons behind bulletproof glass that I forgot what it was like to be in an actual wine & spirits store. Right outside was a flower stand, where I picked out a cheap bouquet of Tulips. Because why the hell not? The dude even trimmed the stems for me on the spot. Didn’t have to go inside, didn’t have to wait in any line, just an honest transaction and I was on my way. Stopped at the light, I decided to just waltz into bakery. Got Rachel some rainbow cookies and was out the door in 45 seconds.
To summarize, I bought myself a bottle of whiskey and got Rachel flowers and treats just for the hell of it. I was only gone for 15 minutes. And as I entered the building with all my wares, a neighbor held the elevator door for me. In the three years that I lived at the old place, that probably never happened to me. This is truly a different world. A friendly world that’s filled with convenience and skyline views.
The real question is: Why didn’t I move here sooner?
The answer is simple: We couldn’t afford it before. We just took advantage of pandemic real estate.
Suck it, landlords! We cheated your system!