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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.