July 20, 2006

You have to be smarter than the mailbox.

Ever since I moved (in May), I haven't gotten mail.

The reason for this is that when my landlord gave me the keys to the mailbox, she just sorta gestured over her shoulder to this big shiny metal box on the side of the road and said that although my unit number is 2, my mailbox number is 10. Then she pointed to the smaller of my two keys and told me this key would gain me access to my mailbox.

She was a nice-enough lady, but old. And clearly very ditzy. The lady could hardly focus from sentence to sentence, and in order to see the place, I had to schedule an appointment around when she got her hair done and when she got her nails done. The point is that this woman was no genius, and was so old/technologically simple-minded that she didn't, for example, know what Craigslist was, or even really how to use the Internet. So, though I'd never had one before, I presumed remote mailbox operation would be a simple task. If she could do it, I could do it.


For two months, I've been periodically going out to that goddamn mailbox and trying my damndest to insert my key into the one lock on the front side of that box -- the street-facing side.

Each time, no dice. There is honest to God no way my key goes in that hole. And for months I couldn't figure it out. To my credit, neither could the other two people I put this problem to (though one was a 9 year old and the other was an asian stranger on the street one Sunday afternoon who asked if I was OK while I banged the big metal box with my fists in frustration like a cromag or some type of monkey).

No luck. The key looked good, and everyone else seemed to be getting their mail just fine. With one lock and one key and no sign of a problem other than my inability to make the key open the lock, I was at a loss. I knew I was doing something wrong, but couldn't figure out what.

So today, when I got an email from Geico saying my car insurance renewal form had been returned and that there was a problem with my mailbox that could cause a lapse in my insurance, I finally gave in. I mean, this was a matter of the law -- there was just no getting around it... I needed into that mailbox, and I needed my landlord's help to do it. Beaten, I buckled and called her.

Me: Yeah, Anita? It's me, um, from unit 2? You know the mail key you gave me?
Anita: Yes, honey. The key for your mail.
Me: Yeah, well, it's broken. I've been trying since I moved in to get my mail, but it won't go in the lock.
Anita: You haven't gotten your mail for two months?
Me: No, you see I was really busy and stuff, but now I need to get it and I can't, because the key doesn't work.
Anita: Well are you putting it in number 2's box? You know, number 10?
Me: I would, but there's only one lock, you know? And my key doesn't fit.
Anita: Well honey -- [laughing, now]-- you're on the wrong side of the mailbox. YOur box is on the other side. That front lock is for the mailman. You just have to walk around the box to get to your lock. Have you tried that?
Me: Oh, just kidding! Ha! Wouldn't that be funny, though? If someone thought their mailkey was broken and tried for 2 months to get their mail but the whole time they were just on the wrong side? But I was just kidding about that. Because that would be pretty dumb.
Anita: No you weren't, honey. Alright, well, I have to go.
Me: Wait! No, I WAS! I totally know how to use a mailbox and stuff! I work in technology! I am very resourceful!
Anita: Bye bye, then!

So now I guess I know how to get into my mailbox. I feel like a moron, yes, but I have access to the box of wonder, joy, and bills. Speaking of which, I haven't paid a utility bill since I moved in (due to the mailbox situation), so I've probably figured this all out just in time for my water and electricity to be turned off due to past-due balances.

Oh, one other awesome thing: I also didn't recieve phone bills during this time, and just today called to determine what I owed Cingular. The icing on the cake? Not only did I owe my regular monthly bills, but an additional $165.98 in charges related to phone calls I made out of the country to someone I was (casually, but still) dating up until a couple weeks ago. (He spent a week or two out of the country on vacation and I -- foolishly and expensively -- kept in touch during that time). AND I anticipate recieving at least one postcard that he sent during that trip as well, as soon as I open that mailbox. Which is awesome. So my ego, pocketbook and emotional well-being will all have taken a significant beating by the time this day is done.

Being a masochist, I'm really looking forward to that.

I'll keep you posted, but please don't be surprised if my next post references my newly-aquired night shift at the local Taco Time. I might need the job (and my pride is pretty much out the window at this point so no loss there).


missy&chrissy said...

thank you for the well wishes!

you know, we had mailbox issues too when we first moved in - it happens to the best of us. we know you're smarter than the mailbox, trebuchet!

Stargazer said...

It's great to know that I am not the only person who has issues like this arise in their daily life!

Chuckles said...

My door lock sucks. I had every trouble imaginable with my college mail system. It worked great for everyone but me. The people behind the counter were like the guards in the Swamp Castle in The Holy Grail. They screwed the pooch every week with me.

"cromag" Are you the only fan of Sliders left? Not that I am insulting you, but just curious.

Trebuchet said...

Missy&Chrissy -- Not by much, but thanks for the vote of confidence!

Stargazer -- I'm not sure it's a good idea to ally yourself with a girl who spent 2 months in a showdown with her mailbox and lost... just a tip. But I do love your adorable hat!

Chuckles -- I sorta wish you WERE insulting me. Then at least I could get justifiably snarky. Actually, I just like the word Cromag. And Mongoloid. But that's whole 'nother post. Maybe later this week. Thanks for the inspiration!