The other night a friend and I were upstairs at my house looking at possible solutions for my odd closet situation. I have an old Cape Cod sort of house and a previous owner kicked up the roof in the back, but the front still has the dormers and seriously angled roof. In the front, I have closets that are sort of hard to use and we were talking about what I could tear apart and redo.

We were walking down the stairs when there was a clunk in the living room. I said, “What was that?” Trusted advisor said, “I don’t know.”

It was about 9 P.M. Turned out it was the mail. That is, the USPS-type mail, being delivered around 9 at night.

We were standing near the door (it has a mail slot) talking about how weird it was that the mail was so late. Trusted sensiblist was in the middle of a sentence when something else pokes through the slot. I headed for the door and went outside.

The carrier explained that my mail had been late for the last several weeks (i.e., no earlier than 6:30 P.M., but rarely that early) because the route that my house used to be on had been eliminated, and folded into another. It was at the beginning of the first route. Now it’s at the end.

The route elimination decision had not been made at the local level, but at some other, higher bureaucratic level.

I asked the guy if he got overtime. He said that, yes, they all got overtime. Okay, I get it that the USPS needs to cut costs. Must cut costs. But eliminating routes and then paying overtime seems stupid.

Tell me that I’m wrong.


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About Steve, i.e., him

Stephen Stark is an award-winning novelist and bestselling ghostwriter. His fiction and nonfiction has appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, Poets & Writers and in many other journals. He has been a fellow and taught at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and won an NEA Literature Fellowship in fiction. His novel, Second Son, was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 1992, and a New and Noteworthy Paperback of 1994.

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