Hey, you. Have you done anything bad, recently? Yes, girl cutting the Durfee’s line with your friends, I’m talking to you. Yes, guy who stole my bagel from the Commons toaster, you too. And you, kid who shoved me at Box the other day because you were taking a photo and I was “in your way,” this is aimed right at you, because you are just the worst.
If you’re squirming a little in your chair right now, don’t. We’ve all been there. We’ve all cut lines and pinched printer paper and left dirty plates on the table. I understand: Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do to get through the day. That’s especially true at this time of year, when people are tired and grouchy, so feel ever freer to piss off others if it means they get the last chicken tender. And, honestly, if the rudeness index on campus inches up a little as the weather turns cold — so what?
Well, boys and girls, the Day of Judgment has finally rolled around. In England, there are all sorts of good-citizen/anti-hooliganism (are you leftist/are you rightist?) laws to rap our knuckles. Yale is sneakier in its approach. Where some places have rules, regulations and repercussions, we have the USPS.
I can think of no other reason why something so apocalyptically awful as the Yale Station package window could exist, if not to punish us for our wrongs. Have you been to 206 Elm recently? Over the past few weeks, whatever the time of day, a long line of people has been waiting underground, rarely speaking, never moving, with no hope of leaving. In other words, the Yale Post Office has literally become the tenth circle of Hell. Skeptical? Pop down for a little look sometime. You see how the walls are covered with alcohol surveys and flyers for the Guild of Carillonneurs? That’s right. This is a place marketed towards the worst of Yale. This is a place where bad Yalies go to get what we deserve.
For all you Bookstore patrons not acquainted with the horrors at your doorstep, let me paint the scene of the crime. Yesterday, I pitched up at the post office at 9:02 a.m., which felt so early that I was frankly surprised not to see the sunrise. The line was already snaking out the door. I waited dutifully to get my books, holding the one yellow slip I was praying stood for my five rush-deliveries, but it quickly became clear that seeing this through would make me late for my 10:30 a.m. class. As I left, I heard the boy behind me mutter “FUSPS.” As things stand, I honestly think it would be quicker for me to go into New York City and buy my books there.
Now, I do know that the postal workers are working very hard to deal with this onslaught of our stuff. I don’t mean to do them down. I’m sure if I were dealing with entitled Yalies, I’d move like I was sleepwalking too. It’s just that — through no fault of their own — they’re woefully understaffed. But this is confusing to me. Surely the fact that they’re getting a lot of packages right now can’t come as a surprise? We’re a school; they’re a school post office. We always get a lot of books delivered at this time of year; their sole raison d’être is to get those books into our arms. Supply? Demand? They’re not matching up!
Think about it this way: The Yale Station is staffed by about the same number of people as the Morse College Master’s Office. It is currently receiving multiple books for nearly every person in this school. If the Morse College Master’s Office were fielding ten thousand parcels in one week, they would ship in more Master’s aides. Why has the USPS not done this? I don’t understand! Why are people literally staking out their spot in the line half an hour before the place even opens in the morning? We are not Scott of the Antarctic; this is the 21st century; we should not need to camp to get mail from the outside world.
The UK Royal Mail probably still transports mail on horseback, so I’m very used to epistolary inefficiency. They’ve lost my mail, they’ve opened my mail, they’ve stolen my mail, they’ve damaged my mail, they’ve returned my mail to sender for no apparent reason. But they’ve never failed to get my mail 10 feet from delivery room to me in five days. So I feel well placed to tell you that darker forces must be at work here. Maybe all our bad karma from being low-level brats has come back and bitten us in the rear end. Maybe someone in the administration has decided to teach us a lesson for peeing in the Skull and Bones yard one too many times. Either way, if you decide to descend into the pits 206 Elm, come armed. As my chemistry teacher once ominously told me, fail to prepare, prepare to fail. So bring a sandwich, a futon, a tent — because just like the folks in the other nine circles of Hell, you won’t be emerging for a long, long time.