Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Mexican + Mail + System = Oxymoron
This is our little post office over in Armeria. It operates Monday - Friday, 9AM - 5 PM. Usually. Mostly. Frequently. Often. Occasionally. Rarely.
The Mexican population/economy does NOT rely on the mail for its survival. It can't. How could it? It would come to a halt while it awaited delivery. One year I got a Christmas card mailed from the US on December 17th delivered to my box on April 9th. I have no idea where it had been languishing for 4 months. But if you could see the inside of the post office it would probably be fairly clear. Bags and bags of mail are piled up in every corner waiting to be sorted out. Home delivery is almost out of the question. When there's "enough" mail to make it worth someone's time he will come buzzing through on his motorcycle and expect to be paid a few pesos for every envelope he gives you. If you're not home, back it goes to Armeria to await the next delivery which could be the next day or the next month. As I say, people do not rely on mail.
I have learned this over several years of living here, but had a completely new revelation when I went to the post office a few days ago. We have a post office box. It is #8. It is located on the far left side of the bank of boxes in the first column, 8 down from the top. I have a key. It opens the box that is 8 down from the top on the left side. So imagine my surprise when I went to check the box and found that all the numbers had been changed and they were in no particular order. The top box on the left side was indeed marked "01" but that was the ONLY one in numerical order. My box now reads "04" and "08" is over in the fifth column, 4th from the top. Imagine my surprise when confronted by this new method of mail delivery. I asked the postmistress how I was supposed to get my mail? She didn't know. I asked if a letter came addressed to us at Aptdo. Postal #8, where would it go? 04 or 08? "Ocho," she replied. Well, since I don't have the key to the new 08, how am I supposed to get that letter? She didn't know. Could she unlock it for me? No, only the chefe could do that and he wasn't there most of the time. Well, how about changing the numbers so they are in the proper sequence? This did not seem to register as a logical solution to the problem, or to be a problem in the first place. But then, maybe I'm the only one with the problem. Come to think of it I rarely see anyone opening a box and taking out mail.
Soon a young chap came ambling out from the back to see what the fuss was all about. It wasn't really a "fuss" just an inquiry. He informed me that the old boxes had been moved from one side of the post office to the other and the boxes had gotten all mixed up. I must have looked v-e-r-y skeptical because he sort of grinned and shrugged his shoulders. That can't possibly be the explanation if anyone in that office can count. So I still don't know why this has happened or when/if it will ever be changed around.
I think I'll send myself a letter from Colima or San Miguel just to see if it ever gets there, and if it does, where they decide to put it.