Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Postman Never Answers the Telephone

I dislike films of the "Nightmare on Elm Sreet" variety. I mean, just when you think it's safe to shove the uneaten popcorn under the seat, wake your partner and leave the Cineplex, up pops the psycho killer to stab at the heroine one more time. The question I must now seriously ask––has Figured Dark turned into Freddy Krueger?

I am supposed to have the manuscript in Fayetteville on or before January 1, 2007. No problem, right? I mailed it by Express Mail (the Postal Service's "Overnight Mail") on Tuesday, December 26. I "waived signature" on the delivery, meaning that it was NOT necessary for anyone to be at the Press to receive my packet. Yes, I did think it possible that everyone at the Press might take the week off between Christmas and New Year's. I was taking the week off, as were many in my office.

"Overnight Mail" to Fayetteville, Arkansas from Grand Haven, Michigan on Tuesday, December 26, 2006 actually meant delivery on Thursday, December 28. Again, no problem.

But when I checked on the status of the package on the USPS Website on Thursday, I found out that the packet was at the Post Office in Fayetteville, that delivery had been attempted, but that rather than leave the packet, (remember, I had "waived signature" for this very reason) the Postman had left a notice at the Press and had taken the packet BACK to the Post Office. The website also informed me that one more delivery would be attempted and that after five business days, the packet would be returned to sender (that's me). I then skirled through the world wide web to find the telephone number for the Fayetteville Post Office, (so that I could point out that I had waived signature and wanted the packet delivered to the Press's address whether anyone was there to receive it or not), but APPARENTLY, NO ONE ANSWERS THE TELEPHONE DURING BUSINESS HOURS AT THE FAYETTEVILLE POST OFFICE.

And at the Fayetteville Post Office, as nearly as I can tell, my "Overnight Mail" packet still sits.

But wait, there's more:

To cover myself, I telephoned and e-mailed the Press (no one was there, of course) and on Thursday afternoon, mailed another complete packet to the Press by Priority Mail (2 to 3 day delivery, right?). I also paid for Delivery Confirmation, the little green slip that allows one to track the progress of a packet through the mail system. I thought it possible that the Priority Mail Packet could be at the Press as early as Saturday and (at the latest) on Tuesday, January 2. Remember, January 1, the New Year's Holiday? No mail delivery?

Well, last night I was watching MSNBC and it seems that to honor Gerry Ford, there will also be no mail delivery on Tuesday, January 2, 2007. So this morning I got up at 4 A.M.--couldn't sleep--to check on the status of my packets. My "overnight packet" still sits in the Fayetteville Post Office and I just found out that the United States Postal Service has NO RECORD of the Delivery Confirmation number on my Priority Mail Packet. Zero, Zip, NADA! I don't know where that one is; maybe it never left the Grand Haven Post Office!

This means that my packet may not make it to the Press until Wednesday, January 3 or, if the Fayetteville Post Office decides that delivery is, for whatever reason, "impossible" for them to make and if the Priority Mail packet really is lost, the manuscript may not be delivered at all.

Honestly, I would hop in the car and drive the manuscript to Arkansas but for the fact that my eyes have deteriorated so rapidly that I don't think it's safe to do so. So rather than a victim in a Freddy Kreuger movie, perhaps I am more like Audrey Hepburn, the blind victim in "Wait Until Dark." Less waif-like, but still.