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This is your source for NPR author interviews, recent broadcasts from the Traverse City National Writers Series, and IPR's radio series Michigan Writers on the Air. You can also find NPR authors & interviews here.

Essay: Post Office Cure

A cloud is following me around today, casting a shadow on my life.  I feel lonely and discouraged—but when I try to figure out why, nothing comes to mind.  In an effort to get out of the house and out of my self, I take up my list of errands. 

If I cannot cure my gloom, I can at least get groceries and buy stamps.  I stand in line at the Post Office and look at the other people, wondering if they are happy. 

“Can I help who’s next?” It’s the friendly postal clerk and I hurry to his window.

“I want a sheet of stamps,” I say, “the Alaska ones.”

”We’re out of Alaska,” he says, “How about Oregon?”

I nod and open my wallet as he continues.  “Anything else we can sell you today?  “Packing tape?  Bubble wrap?  Teddy bears?”

“No, thank you,” I say.  “But you’re a good salesman.”

“If I were a good salesman, you’d buy a teddy bear,” he says and I have to laugh.

And as I hand him my money, I notice that the cloud has lifted.  I’m back in the world again, feeling connected.  And I wonder if people behind the counters all over town know how much we depend on them—and not just for stamps and groceries.