Monday, January 16, 2012

Going Postal

Earlier this month when Mr. Wonderful and visited Solvang for New Year's, I really started to think about what life might be like if we moved to a small town. Solvang is on the short list of places where we'd like to relocate, but as we traveled its streets and spent time in its neighboring villages, I began to worry that I might not be able to handle the smallness of it.

I grew up in a quaint, little town and I love the communal atmosphere it offered, but I also had the highrises of downtown LA twenty minutes away. I could venture to the tri-city area of Pasadena/Glendale/Burbank to try new restaurants or watch a taping of The Tonight Show. And now I'm right near the center of Hollywood, which affords me endless possibilities for dining, entertainment and freaky people-watching.

After this last trip, I was questioning whether I'd be able to hack it again in suburbia.

And then I went to the Hollywood post office.

It was Monday afternoon and when I walked in, there were about a dozen people in the regular line and half a dozen at the automated postage machine—and everyone was pissed about being there. The air was filled with sighs and grumbling, and after fifteen minutes of standing in line, I aborted my mission and walked back to my car.

The next day, I decided to run errands in my beloved hometown of Montrose. The post office was one of my stops.

Two feeble-looking old men stood in front of me in line, both of whom sweetly bantered with the postal worker who called them "hon." Within five minutes, I was at the counter and when I told her my package held homemade jelly, she stamped it profusely with her "fragile" stamp. She was all smiles and sugar and after I paid I found myself telling her how much better of an experience it was coming to that post office vs. going to the Hollywood one. She said, "Awe hon, it was a Monday. They're always crazy!" But I have a feeling even if I'd gone to the Montrose post office Monday, it would have been just as enjoyable.

A woman in line behind me heard us talking and said, "I purposely came to this office instead of going to the Burbank one. That one's nuts, too!" This interaction only added to the lovey doveyness that had overcome me.

I guess I really am cut out for small town living. Mr. W and I can always come down and stay with friends in LA if we need a dose of hipster culture or a night out at crowded bar. I'll just be sure to get all my mailing and shipping needs taken care of before we drive south...


  1. I quite honestly don't know how people keep it together at the post office. It is consistently one of the most frustrating, eye-scrapingly brutal experiences I hope to never go through again (but, know I will). If any public company's customer service was as horrible as theirs is, I swear they'd be out of business in no time.
    /rant. I'm glad your small town post office seems more rational. Good grief!!

  2. My recommendation is to enjoy city living until you think you will be expanding your household in which case small town sounds perfect (and I don't mean four legged expansion - unless there are twins in your genes!). And if you don't plan on expanding the fam, save small town for when you are much older. It will always be there for you.

  3. Nilsa - I've been at the post office before and literally thought the workers were purposely moving as slow as they possibly could to punish all of us in line. Fortunately, the workers in Hollywood are nice (as was the one in Montrose) - it's just the patrons who aren't so pleasant. But I can see why now!

    Wow TWA - We're for sure expanding the family with some four-legged creatures, and between that and the post office, I think we have reason enough to move!

  4. And don't forget the sea of gross pigeons in the parking lot of the Hollywood branch! The flashback is making me itchy!

  5. I am cracking up because my friend Cheryl is all pissed that the house we've picked is "all the way out in Ivins." She claims it's too far from St. George and she will NEVER come out there for dinner. It's about a 10 minute drive. But, I picked it because...even St. George is too big for me. The more "out there" it is, the better. I'd go even more out into the middle of nowhere if Col didn't have to drive to work. His commute has vastly limited my search circle.

  6. The other day I let someone go in front of me at the post office and the woman looked at me like I was crazy. Pretty much a good reminder of why there is only one real place anyone has "gone postal." High stress, bad pay, the public. The perfect storm. That said, I sort of do live in a small city, but with craziness like that I could go for even more small.

  7. Lara - The pigeons are still there. I dodge them every time I go. Sometimes I think they're clucking your name.

    HunnerWoof - People are so funny, aren't they? I thought 10 minutes was customary to get anywhere when you live in the middle(ish) of the country!

    LesleyG - That's what was amazing about both of my post office visits - the people actually working there were fine. It was the Hollywood patrons who stunk!

  8. I had the same experience in my hometown. I did about 7 errands in the time it would have taken me to do 1 in Los Angeles. Small towns have their perks.

  9. I love smaller towns. As long as good shopping is available. No one wants to end up in a dead town. I live in a smaller community and I love the post office and the grocery store. People are friendlier and happy to be here. :)

  10. I love living in a small town. I think our town has maybe 3000 people. And we have our own post office. There are only 2 parking spots and I don't think they have ever both been occupied.

    I think you would love living in a smaller town and would not miss things. As long as there are some amenities within a 20 minute drive, it is fine.

    It is amazing how quickly you adapt to less traffic, less people, more open space, farmland.


Well, whatdya think?