Time and Space and Me

I still can't believe it.
I'm pinching myself. Urrrnnngghhh. Mmmmmmnnnnhhhh.
I had more postal business to do yesterday and if you don't know, me and post offices, we are natural enemies in the wild. 
But yesterday, yesterday, it felt like I turned a corner in my life and suddenly was walking along in a parallel universe.
In this parallel universe not only is the post office open after lunch in the summer, like every single week day, it is populated, staffed if you will, by friendly, helpful people.
Pinch pinch.
But I'm ahead of myself.
I got the news that I had to post off some more plakate (posters) to this venue I'm gonna play at. I got this news at 11.57am. I thought, gees, it'll take me two minutes to grab the posters and walk to the car and get out into the street. By then it will be 11.59am. I'll have one minute to drive to the post office. Which is not impossible.
But if I arrive at 11.59.59, for example, the 'ladies' at the post office are gonna see me coming, note full well the fear in my eyes, and slam that door right in my face - even as I'm galloping up the wheelchair-access ramp.
It's only wheelchair-access because it was built so long ago that in those days people had to drag their dead relatives behind them everywhere they went while they waited for the Black Death sub-committee to make a ruling on where their relatives could be burned or buried. Besides, stairs hadn't been invented.
So I figured, "relax Paul, don't even try. Squash that urge to get it done before midday. You can try after the midday sleeping break." 
Not my sleeping break, theirs.
They got to sleep midday til 3pm every week day cos the task of slipping envelopes into bags hung at hip height is taxing almost beyond comprehension. And don't even get started on the skill required to tear pre-torn stamps out of sheets kept in softly padded books kept at room temperature so as to precipitate easy access and somehow assuage the laws of physics. 
I waited til 2.49pm. Then I casually strolled out of the house to my car. Casually fiddled with the rear vision mirrors, all three, til they were just so. Then I drove casually down to the post office, waved a couple of cars to go ahead of me at different junctures... pulled the car into a parking bay, waited for the panic-stricken dude in the car screetching to a halt next to me to alight from his vehicle and rush off to whatever doom awaited him before I nonchalantly exited my vehicle. I then sauntered to the post office, fifty meters away, turned the corner of the building, perambulated along and then up the wheelchair-access ramp and tried the door. 
Of course.
I'd known they were on summer holidays a month ago, but I wasn't prepared for them to still be on summer holidays. 
I read the sign. They were only open in the mornings all during August and up to and including September 10th. 
I felt a twitch in my lip. I began eating my tongue. 
"No matter," I said to God. 
Then I turned and went back to my car and drove to the next town.
"Surely...." I thought all during the drive. "Surely...."
But alas, they too were still closed for the summer and wouldn't return to regular hours til after Sept 10. 
I knew I could not go back to the post office two towns over - it was the scene of my most recent histrionics. I had to try somewhere new. 
So I drove to the town next to the town next to the town that's next to the town next over. 
I couldn't find a post office. I pulled up outside a bakery and went inside. Three men were standing on the stoop. I thought: "I bet they know where the post office is...." but I didn't want to stop their conversation or their enjoyment of lunch.
I went inside and asked the lady behind the counter.
"Excuse me, do you have a post office in this town?"
She shrugged. She didn't know. She pointed to the men out front.
"They are locals, I'm sure they know...." she said.
They did know. They gave me exacting instructions on how to get there. I got back in my car, drove to the post office, parked, and walked to the front doors. 
My heart was heavy. I thought "I bet it's closed for the summer, too."
I pulled at the door handle. Nothing. 
Then I pushed.
It opened.
Angels sang a soft, lilting chorus in my ears. 
A string section dovetailed in... 
Inside the post office it looked modern. Organised. Neat. Fresh. 
You could breathe. 
I looked for the large envelopes I would need. I couldn't find them.
I thought: "I could ask one of the counter staff, but i don't want to make them angry..." 
Then I swallowed my fear and approached a young man behind counter two. "Excuse me, I don't mean to interrupt, but do you have any A4 sized envelopes?"
He smiled.
He said: "Yes, we have them in packs of ten."
Then he strode out from behind the counter and helpfully ushered me to where they were located. 
"Thankyou...." I managed. 
He smiled again.
I picked out some envelopes. I returned to his counter and paid for the envelopes. 
Then I stepped aside to a stand up counter, withdrew an envelope from the pack, wrote the address on the front, with my address on the back, folded up and stuffed my posters into the envelope and returned to the counter. The same counter. 
I said "Can I pay for the postage here or do I have to go over to that other counter??"
Cos that's what you always have to do in German post offices. 
"No no...." he said with yet another smile. "You can pay here too, it doesn't matter."
So I handed over my envelope of posters. I paid a frighteningly small amount for the privilege. He smiled again. "Anything else you would like today?"
I was so taken aback I said: "You know, this right here is the finest post office in all of Germany."
I went back out into the street and noticed that the world was somehow a little lighter, a little brighter. The birds sang. The air was fresh and cool and I drank it down with inordinate pleasure. 
It felt as if time and space had conspired to meet me there and then. The three of us jumped in the car and drove home, fresh and alive and promising each other never to lose touch again.


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