5:32 PM yesterday found me at the Davis Square, Somerville, U.S. Post Office with boxes of filled orders ready to mail. But doggone, the P.O.’s just gone and closed.
Oh wait! There’s a mailbox. And so, without a second thought, I put my boxes in the box.
Except for, oh wait!
The freak out–
So yeah, right after doing my little double check that they’ve all gone in, I’m all: Pumpkin! Shitsky! Waaah! What have I done!
Then I go all Elaine-from-Seinfeld spazy on the inside, trying all the while to stay the heck calm on the outside, when my eyes land on the big-ass United States of America Postal Service truck parked on the side of the post office. And 2 guys.
Guys, as in, human Menschens!
So I sheepishly ask if please they might unlock the mailbox for me because my boxes of handmade cremes that I’ve just mistakenly dropped in there could freeze overnight and I’d like to take them back if at all possible puh-leeze–
“Sorry, lady. We don’t have the key.”
My skin-deep calm evaporates and my inner panic escalates, while I try to hold onto some shred of dignity.
One of them is rolling his eyes all Seinfeld-soup Nazi, thinking, I’m sure, that I am a freaking nutcase. Which for sure in that moment I am.
But the other one, God love him, waves me over when soup Nazi has gone back inside, and mumbles to me all inner-city-street-corner-transaction-voice (which I only know from movies, mind you): “If anyone asks, I’m so NOT giving you this number right now, OK?
And I’m all nodding like crazy, then shaking my head, oh no of course not–
“Call Yule at Union Square–”
Right there is where I blow my smidge of street cred, but knowing I can’t come right out and ask for the spelling, but really not having gotten the name, I’m all: “Yule–?”
“Yes Yule, the nice Asian mail carrier supervisor at the Union Square office. He’ll know if there are carriers still in the area… maybe they’ll come back for you–”
So I’m all thank you thank you and then shifting my weight from one leg to the other right there next to the mailbox, I call Yule, while Soup Nazi walks by and, totally onto me, gives me the evil eye and the subtle-except-to-me upper lip snarl.
Yule is indeed the loveliest of mail people. But don’t get your hopes up, my friend, because in that very moment his last carrier is walking through the door, and will, very shortly, be heading home for the night. But being a kind man who was raised, I’m sure, in the land of Buddhas rather than soup-Nazis, Yule suggests I call back in the morning at which time I might be able intercept the postal carrier at said mailbox to take said boxes back. Not for sure, of course, but maybe–
Resigned, I head home.
Oh the mind. It is only a matter of moments before it goes all Google mental search on me, showing me all possible panic-induced solutions, other than, of course, the idea of stopping: Stopping to breathe. Stopping to laugh. Stopping to ask the obvious question of whether my matter was even dilemma-worthy.
Here are some of the thought-presents my cat-mind brought and left at my feet:
Option 1. You could rig up a space heater under the blue mail box. (Issue: a block and a half of extension cords from my apartment to it.)
Option 2. You could wrap the box up in blankets. (Um…)
Option 3. You could call Yule back and resort to briberies. Blackmails. Also, mind you, only learned in movies.
Option 4. You could make replacement orders tonight and put those in the mail right alongside the other boxes first thing in the morning and then email or call your customers. (Issue: lots of time… complication… confusion… but an idea I did not discard)
Thank the mailbox gods the idea of putting a hot water bottle in there was not introduced to me by my friend until after we were out of the potion woods. Because yeah, totally doable.
[Walking, walking]: Hmmm… I have no idea how the cremes will actually even fare outside in a mailbox, overnight. For all I know, they often sit in cold places on their way to and fro, in cold trucks and airplane cargoes, to get where they need to go. Hmmmm….
Ding ding ding:
Option 5. Replicate mailbox conditions!
When I get home I go all quality assurance detective, making a test box of potions, which was, until this very morning, hanging out of my second story apartment bedroom window, rigged up securely with packing tape, to replicate the very Boston elements that my carefully-packed aardvark potions in the P.O. mailbox were living through all night. In the morning we would see.
With enough years under the belt in the company and observation of one’s own mind, at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, one becomes tuned into the fact that anxious thoughts are not the best decision makers… and that, my friends, is a little switch, simple yet powerful in potential to turn a bad, if hilarious in retrospect, situation around.
Having noticed the switch, I flip it. Then something in me taps my shoulder and, channeling Cesar Millan (my personal coach who doesn’t know he’s my coach, and no, I don’t have a dog either, if you must know), suggests I get my ass to the gym to climb a stair mill machine…
Let me just say that this was not the wimpy stair master of old, OK? This so was not a mechanical contraption where one can heave oneself up and rely on arm strength and fake it on the leg part, whiling the time away flipping pages in a magazine. Oh no. This here was a mini freaking escalator the likes of which would have you flat on your face at the mere thought of faking it. So yeah, I was working it baby and sweating my worry-hamsters out of their cave.
Incidentally? Cesar is right. Intentional movement is the best thing ever for dogs. And worries. You just can’t keep the frenzy up in the mind when the body is dripping the sweats and horse-powering the heart. Just sayin’. I’ve learned that little something over the years and I’m happy to share it with you. You’re welcome.
… and not going it alone–
Barbara Sher, creative genius and teacher, says: “Isolation is the dream killer.” She’s right.
So yeah, thankfully, I have people. An online community of lovely peeps, all of us doing our darndest to live mindful, creative lives and support each other in the process. I checked in with them and they were right there with the hugs and humor and help, jump-starting my think-it-through smarts:
No, Boston is not very cold right now. Indeed our usual winter-climate seems to have moved down to our nation’s capital and thereabouts for the winter. And last night, we here in Boston were having us a rather balmy time, with temps hovering right around freezing.
Also, they pointed out, what with all the envelopes and boxes in the mailbox along with mine, the temperature might be even warmer than the fridge where, I remembered, I even keep some potion supplies all the time.
And also, another friend reminded me that my potions have not only flown around the country but have crossed the oceans and gone North and South of the Equator.
Whew! And a learny bit–
So yes, my mind? on worry? Pro’bly it could win prizes. It might even be able to go head to head with my dear Grandma, whom the wee hours of the morning would often find “taking things to the Lord in prayer…” And yeah, I suspect that was a good bit about not being able to sleep.
I’m happy to say that the lotions and potions fared beautifully in last night’s Boston elements. Which should not surprise me since my business buddy is one hearty fella. This morning I’m scratching my head about why the heck I didn’t have a chat with *him* about this yesterday, because surely he’d have straightened me out out licketty split and told me all about his travels to deliver potions to our people–I picture him all Snoopy in flying goggles and little WWII plane–around the world. He’s magical that way, my aardvark…
I hope I’ve strengthened the neural pathways to my light switch. Here’s hoping next time we’ll get to the laughing part sooner.
Tomorrow or the day after, 4 of my lovely customers will receive potions infused with extra-magical learnings gleaned from freak-out and hilarity, and they’ll be none wiser for it. Unless, of course, they’re reading this. In which case, um, hi! *blush*