Pick Up.

Last week when I was in the office I signed for the UPS packages and it’s the greatest thing that’s happened to me at work in a long time. My first library job was in the mailroom. I signed for packages, sorted mail, opened boxes, shelved books, and, like Westley in The Princess Bride, I learned anything anyone was willing to teach me, although I’m still a long way from being The Dread Pirate Roberts.

My friend Chip who worked for the campus messenger service described the mailroom as “the asshole of the universe”. I thought it was more of a vomitorium: everything passes through the mailroom but a lot of it goes in at least two directions. And it was great because I got to touch all the new books, and even a lot of old books, and magazines and academic journals. I liked talking to the delivery people too. Most of the time we spent less than five minutes together while they unloaded boxes from their cart and I signed their pad. Sometimes if they had a really big delivery and had to make a second trip I’d go down to their truck with them and help them out. I did have some bad interactions, like the FedEx guy who wanted me to sign for a package that was supposed to be delivered somewhere else. He had to get it delivered by a certain time and he thought if I signed for it, and then delivered it for him, that would save his bacon. I knew if I signed for it and anything happened to it I’d be the one in trouble. Besides I didn’t even know where the place was.

I never saw him again. But the really nice delivery people, who always managed to get everything right, I saw almost every day, and those few minutes of chitchat added up. It’s one of the things I miss about the mailroom, about being in the office. I spend a lot of my days talking to other people but it’s through a screen and I don’t feel like I really know anybody. And the mailroom itself, which used to need a full-time person to handle all the incoming stuff, is now empty most of the time. The library still gets mail and packages, but usually someone will take a break from whatever they’re doing to go in for a few minutes, maybe half an hour, and sort and open it.

Anyway the woman who dropped off our UPS packages told me I didn’t really need to sign for them but she said, “It’s nice to see somebody in here for a change.”

Maybe I’ll see her again.

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  1. Arionis

    Hey, Saul Goodman started off in the mailroom and look how things turned out for him. Wait…no…bad example. Never mind.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Yeah, good ol’ Slippin’ Jimmy might not be the best example. But wait! Saul Goodman did eventually (spoiler alert!) end up as the manager of a Cinnabon, just like he predicted. So that’s not that bad. And I’m sorry the mailroom where I work is no longer a full-time position. It was a great entry-level job and this world needs entry-level jobs.


    It’s nice to see you here, always. And I always imagine people appreciating their interactions with you, Chris.
    ANN J KOPLOW recently posted…Day 3904: BlameMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I enjoyed getting to meet with other people and I also like to imagine they enjoyed it too. Even if they didn’t I still enjoy interacting with you, Ann.


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