The Paper and the U.S. Postal Service

THIS is not to be believed.

I intimated yesterday that I only sort of attended the conference. Let's just say I was in and out, so to speak.

Here's the deal. I got lost in downtown L.A. driving around aimlessly, looking for the Sheraton. The Sheratons that I remember have big S's on top of them. Now they're tucked into shopping malls. This one's in a Macy's.

So who knew?

When I MapQuested it, frankly, I was a little wiped out from traveling and more than a little hungry. So my photographic memory, which usually serves me quite well when it comes to maps, was completely on the fritz.

And to make matters worse, I couldn't get Margo's printer to print.

I finally found the hotel by nose after a good 45 minutes of hunting around and listening to other drivers swear at the way I made very swift 180 degree turns on 3rd Street, or was that 4th Street or Flowers or Hope, can't remember.

When I pulled into a parking garage it turned out to be a tight a double helix that it made me want to vomit all the way up to LEVEL 4. It's good thing I'm not a breakfast person.

Hit the elevator down to the lobby (they have a happy lobby over there at Macy's). I was all set to blow off the conference right then and there and SHOP but it was only 9:00. So I ducked into the hotel (elegant but no computing stations, come on), and descended to the conference rooms to register.

So dreary. The atmosphere was so dreary. And outside, I remembered, the sun was shining. Real sunshine.

I signed in and hunted for an interesting paper presentation. The plenary speeches were scheduled for the afternoon, an outrage, in my opinion. They're supposed to be the main attractions of any conference, and they're supposed to kick them off. If there's one thing I go to these things for it's the plenary speeches.

The so-called interesting paper presentation eluded me. I'd tip-toe to the back of a room, listen as long as it took to KNOW that the speaker wasn't going to hold my interest, then pretend that I had an important call that I had to take. I'd put the phone up to my ear, and book.

At worst I could get a cup of coffee. At best I could find a Kinko's and copy the paper to send it out to that editor in Milwaukee.

I chose to go to my old home away from home, Kinko's.

Turns out that Fed-Ex Kinko's is only two blocks away from the Sheraton! And they were so cheerful, so pleasant! Free paperclips, as always. I took this opportunity to take out my contacs so that I could read the map that I had shlepped along, heretofore useless since I can't read anything with small print wearing my contacs.

And I called G.D.

Me: So, Dear, whacha' doin'?

G.D.: I've got the boys. We're heading for the Kid Space Museum in Pasadena.

Me: Oh, I'm going. Pick me up. But I have to mail my paper. I saw a post office in the Macy's mall.

G.D.: Great. I'll be there in 15 minutes.

Me: (thinking, How much shopping can I do in 15 minutes). Okay, call me when you're outside. I'll hustle.

And I did. I mailed the paper at the post office in the Macy's Mall. Actually, I had already put about $2.90 on it in stamps. I asked the clerk to make sure it was enough. She weighed it and smiled. I'd overpaid twenty cents. Not bad.

This terrific person stamped the manilla envelope with a cool red circle stamp and tossed it to a cart. I said a quick goodbye, kind of proud that I'd finished the task, thinking the paper still wouldn't make it to Milwaukee until after the Veterans Day weekend.

Who actually knows when the U. S. postal service mails stuff on Federal holidays?

Got to Macy's, managed to score something rather personal in record time. G.D. was calling from outside, saying HURRY UP, the kids are getting antsy. He was getting antsy.

I rushed out and we had a GREAT DAY, which you read about yesterday.

But here's the upshot. Before I left town I complained to you about Mr. Smith, not his real name, the guy who delivers my mail to my office in Chicago.

Complaining about a postman is probably dangerous business if you think about it. What if they go postal? What if your mail gets stuffed in the trunk of the guy's car and you never see it again, all because you complained?

Since it's unlikely that Mr. Smith reads blogs so I ranted here about what I considered his lackadaisical attitude towards delivering the U. S. mail.

But the postal service at Macy's? Unbelievable. Listen to this!

We had had a long day, packed it in with those kids, did the museum thing, trudged through a rather wet Rancho Park, took the family out to dinner, met Cousin Roz and b-i-l Scott at Nagila, too, and finally landed back in the Valley, said good night and had a chance to log on.

There was email from the editor of the paper. And I quote:
Dear Professor Freedman,

We are in receipt of your revised manuscript, "Accepting the Unacceptable. . ." Both the mailed hard copies and electronic copies have reached our office, and have been forwarded to our editor for further review.

Same day.

The paper got there that day, the same day I mailed it. The paper flew from Los Angeles to Milwaukee, hopped on a U.S.Postal truck and made it to the editor's desk in less than 8 hours for $2.90.

It was not marked Express Mail. It was not even 2-Day Priority Mail. It was simple first class mail. United States Postal Service. Same day service. Under three bucks.

Now that's unbelievable, isn't it? I sure think so.

And another cool thing? I surfed my favorite blogs (I think it was that same day, can't remember, but it was that week) and Citizen of the Month had favorited this blog with a crush. Now if that isn't Los Angeles hospitality, I don't know what is.

Thanks, N.K.

Copyright 2006, TherapyDoc