the trouble with being homeless

Our Search for an Address

 

When we moved out of our apartment into The Commune we figured it would be for 2 weeks; maybe a month, tops.  In that time we planned on just holding our mail and transferring it to our new address (whatever that would be) at the marina.  There were a couple of problems with this:

  1. It wasn’t 2 weeks, or one month, or 6 weeks…  It was a lot longer.
  2. The marina we chose doesn’t allow us to receive mail there.  Oh.  Really???
  3. On the USPS.gov website it states that if you hold mail for an address it is held for all occupants, not just ones with a certain name.

The last one did it for me.  We had found people to sign a new lease on top of our lease and I was terrified that they were not getting their mail (we had put a hold on our mail.  The website was incorrect; it was just our mail being held; oh well…).

I looked to see if I could get a rental mailbox in the town The Commune is in.  Nope.  Gotta sign a 3 month contract at $90 plus key fees of $10 each plus an origination fee of $20.  Huh.  That doesn’t seem like such a good deal…  Then I found that I could rent a P.O. Box online through the USPS.gov website.  Terrific!  Problem solved! I plugged my debit card into their system and got a receipt that I just needed to take down to the Post Office so I could pick up my keys.  I had picked a Post Office that was near where I will be commuting to from the marina.  It’s a big one so they had boxes available, however, it is downtown in the Financial District and I work in Midtown.  No worries, I will just pop down on the subway at lunchtime.

I popped down on Friday.  I was told that the Post Office Box Lady is only on site from 2-4 daily.  What kind of hours are those?  I mean, every Federal holiday off in addition to only working 2 hours per day?  I chose to focus on positive thoughts instead and decided to come back on Monday.

On Monday I popped down again, though not so briskly.  No, she’s not here today since it’s a religious holiday (I believe it was Easter Monday).  Really?  Really?  Is there anyone here who can help me?  No, but call this number before you come to make sure she’s here.  Ok, but I gotta get my mail pretty soon and I’m eventually going to need to be able to use the Post Office Box I paid for.  I focused on happy thoughts.

On Tuesday I called the number.  No answer; it just rang and rang and rang.  On Wednesday I called the number then I called the main post office number.  I spoke with someone who sounded like she knew what she was talking about.  She told me to go to the lobby and say that I needed to talk to the Manager and they would be able to help me.  (As a note, boys and girls, do not believe what Federally Employed People tell you on the phone.)  I rode the subway downtown again (there was no popping this time).  I talked to the people in the lobby.  They looked at me like I was an escaped lunatic.  No, there is no Manager who can help you.  Why don’t you walk around the block to our sister Post Office and see if you’re actually supposed to be going there?  Ok, I’m an idiot.  I walked around the block.  I stood in line to speak with someone.  I had visions of blood vessels exploding in my brain while my mail piled up in stacks that fell onto the floor and were crushed beneath a monster of bureaucracy.  I spoke with a man who knew nothing about me or my problem.  He sent me next door.  My vision was starting to tunnel.  I spoke with a very sympathetic woman who called her boss, who called his boss, who called her boss who said that I should walk around the block to the main post office and go to window 14.  My vision, while helped by sympathetic lady, was starting to get black around the edges again.  I walked around the block.  I went to window 14.  There was no one there.  I stuck my head through the window and saw a greasy man eating a greasy sandwich.  I stared at him.  He asked me if I was the one with P.O. Box problems.  I could barely see him through the dark cloud of rage.

We walked over to the P.O. Boxes where he asked me to fill out the form I had already filled out.  I told him that.  He said he wanted a new one.  I filled it out.  He took my drivers license and checked the lease on my (now vacated) apartment.  With Post Office Boxes you have to give proof of permanent residence in the form of insurance papers, a lease agreement or a mortgage payment.  Since we lived in The Commune I was forced to stretch the truth a little.  He asked my why I wanted a P.O. Box.  I thought this was highly improper.  He asked why I only wanted it for 3 months.  I said that I was trying it out and, based on my experience so far, would not be renewing it.

All my documents were in order (though he did note on the form that I could only have the box until October 2014, which is when my lease was going to expire).  He gave me the keys and told me how to write a P.O. Box address.  Thanks, I know.  Then he said, “Is there anyone else you want on this box?”.  I showed him the back side of the newly-filled-out form where I had listed my Better Half’s name.  “Well, he can’t get mail here until you bring him in.  He has to show two forms of ID and you have to vouch for his character.”

What? What? Whaaaaaatttttt???

I argued that I had listed him and we were a family and any other time you put in a change of address it’s for a family and he can’t come into New York because he’s an airline pilot and has a crazy schedule.  My arguments fell on deaf ears.  I was starting to get hysterical and I had the sense to recognize it.  I turned around and walked out.

 

After a week or so I went to check the P.O. Box.  Someone had written “Deceased” on all of our mail.

 

The Post Office is my favorite…

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