On Saturday we needed to go to the post office to mail a package. As we pulled into the parking lot, I said to my husband, “I will go in.” This is unusual since my vision loss; when we are out and about and just running into a place, typically he will go in and get it done. I suppose it can be said this is enabling me to not be independent but I would argue that with the amount of things we need to accomplish on a weekend we are looking for efficiency. Honestly it’s just quicker for him to be the one to pop in and out of a place if we are picking up or dropping off something. And since I no longer am able to drive and there is no public transportation where I live, family or friends are with me when I am out in the world.
So I grabbed my wallet and the envelope to be mailed and my husband told me where he would be parked. I headed inside. There was only one person working and the Saturday morning line was long. It took about 10 minutes until it was my turn and I confidently walked to the counter. Based on the build and voice of the postal person who was helping me, I recognized him to be the gentleman who processed my last passport. That made me think of travel plus work which equals sadness. I pushed the feeling down, as we often do, and I listened to shipping options and then was asked to answer the question on the counter’s credit card/keypad/question-asking terminal. And here it was: the second I stop fooling everyone, including myself, that I am just like them. I say, “I’m visually impaired and can’t see the question.” The postman helped me and then gave me my total. I had the correct bills at the ready, got my change and receipt and walked out to our car. I got in and he told me how proud he was of me.
I was proud too but also kind of melancholy. I used to travel to far off cities and manage a team doing corporate meetings. And now going into the post office by myself is an accomplishment. That’s the thing about the past. You can be living in the present, hopeful for the future, and it reaches you, via special delivery. It should also be marked “FRAGILE”, for the arrival of your past can threaten to destroy your now.