Monday, June 11, 2018

Italian postal service

In what I believe is 26 and 27 days, respectively, after I mailed them, my postcards from Rome arrived at their destinations. This is my second week back at work, so for most of my colleagues it's quite a tiny footnote to my trip to receive a postcard from me at this point.

Part of me shrugs and says "Non importa" which is Italian and means "Nothing usually quite works out but isn't that building amazing?" Part of me is ruefully not at all surprised but still kind of irritated, and part of me can't help reflecting upon the amazing, tortuous journey my many postcards have surely been on. 

A journey that goes something like this:

Day 1:  I carefully choose postcards in the Doria Pamphilij gift shop because the Doria Pamphilij gift shop is nearly as brilliant as the Doria Pamphilij Museum itself!

Day 2: In a Tabacchi I buy stamps. They are for postcards only and so expensive that one would naturally think one must be being cheated. One is not being cheated. One is just being discouraged from sending postcards by the Italian Postal Service who doesn't like them for some reason. 

"How expensive are these stamps?" You want to know. More expensive than two cappuccinos at The Emporio Della Pace! 

More expensive than one big cappuccino at San't Eustachio!

More expensive than an espresso ordered at a table at San't Eustachio!!!!!

Day 2 and 3: I write postcards, eight or nine of them, to my workplace. I don't like to brag, but, hmm, well, sometimes I like to brag and, well, this is one of those times. They are witty! They are delightful!

Day 4: I put my stamped postcards in a yellow box. I was carefully instructed that there is a special yellow box for them. Don't go putting them in the crappy, inferior red box! They go in the awesome yellow box. I put them in the yellow box outside the Tabacchi across from San't Eustachio. Emboldened by this exotic experiment I buy more stamps and write more postcards.

Day 5: I put more stamped postcards in the same yellow box. Being of a suspicious nature I suspect yesterday's postcards are all still there, waiting...

Just...  waiting.

Day 8: An Italian Postman inspects the postbox and decides it is not yet full enough to collect the postcards within.

Day 12: An Italian Postman decides the box is now full enough to warrant collection. Then he has an espresso. Then he chats with a co-worker until the day is done. His bag of postcards is set aside to be dealt with tomorrow.

Day 13: It's his day off!

Day 14: He dumps the postcards in the bin they go in.

Day 15: High tech automated equipment sort my postcards for International Routing and so they are dispatched to a facility in Vietnam where this is ultimately done.

Day 18: My postcards arrive in the Vietnam dispersal unit where, because they are from Italy, they are assigned a low priority. The Vietnamese know that the Italians understand about the Buddhist lifestyle and taking time for a coffee and visiting with friends. If the postcards are meant to get there they'll get there.

Day 21: They go here.

Day 22: They go there.

Day 23: They go anywhere.

Day 24: They go on a ship to America, like so many hopeful Immigrants of yesteryear.

Day 28: They arrive in the U.S.A.

Day 30: They are delivered to their intended address by a professional American mail carrier who is secretly very angry and has a drinking problem. 

Well enough then. My friends and co-workers rejoice at my mail. And thanks to the Italian postal service I get to watch them.


  1. I got my postcard from Rome! You really spent the equivalent of two cappuccinos on it's stamp?! May the goddess Fortuna smile upon you. May she also pinch the Nobel committee and clear her throat on your behalf. May she also kick the Pulitzers in their tender shins on your behalf. Likewise to the fancypants literary editors whom may she cause to stumble on the sidewalk and there receive some sort of epiphany on your behalf. :*)

    1. Why thank you!

      I'm so glad you got the postcard, and in only 30 days!


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