I thought if I got everything done on The List in the appointed time frame and stood in the long lines without whining and wrapped the presents with gritted teeth while listening to Imagine Dragons really loud (hey, I have to cleanse my palate from the non-stop sugary jumbo pop of carols somehow) that Santa would take pity on me and go away for good on December 26th.
He’s still right here in my office, laughing with glee and kicking up his heels because his sleigh was hijacked in Toronto.
Which landed him and his empty sack on my USPS website, shrugging vaguely and giving me a look that says, “Sister, are you ever screwed.”
I wanted to send two gifts to Canada. How hard can this be?
The first was a gingerbread house.
I went shopping for one and found a magnificent gingerbread condo complete with runts, M&Ms, and sweet tarts for the icing.
When I discovered that I would have to take out a small mortgage on my own house to ship it, I rethought my strategy.
I have a girlfriend who does Christmas every year in her jammies at home, online. She clicks her mouse and Santa’s elves grab the gift, wrap it, sign her name, and deliver it to the doorstep of a lucky recipient.
My particularly suspicious mind cannot wrap itself around this voodoo.
It prefers to pinch and poke and sniff a potential gift before it’s approved for giving.
But it was time to open my mind to this brave new world.
Turns out, there is a version of Amazon in Canadian. Which made me feel great, because even though I still paid for shipping, it was in Canadian dollars which are attractive and make me feel slightly french and translate to smaller American dollars in the end, which is a really fun parlor trick.
I found an adorable gingerbread kit and pushed the “go” button.
Slightly dizzy from the speed wherewith I had just dispatched Santa, I gleefully went further into the website for gift number two.
What I really wanted to send was See’s candy, an American thing I guess and would have been wasted on a Cadbury fan, but I knew my girlfriend liked milk chocolate bordeaux. The girl has taste. So.
I brought my box of chocolate delight to the post office fifteen minutes before it opened, and joined the long line already forming down the walkway.
I filled out customs forms and addresses and hummed some tunes and held a shoe judging contest with everyone else in line (the snappy brown buckled boots won) until it was finally my turn.
The post office is exactly like the DMV, only they don’t provide chairs to sit in while you wait. You finally get to the window and are practically hopping in anticipation of being DONE and the employee moves leisurely and chats about the weather and asks “isthereanythinginyourpackageflammableliquidhazardouspotentiallyhorrifyingormaybegrowingmold?”
And you say, “Nope.”
Then they smash it with a hammer, cover the damage with a label, toss it into a bin behind them, and demand all your money.
And you give it to them.
I tracked my first class package online. I’m savvy like that now.
It was a cute little timeline that showed precisely where my bordeaux went, each step of it’s adventure.
It touched in at exactly twelve spots, working it’s way from Los Angeles to Louisville and crossing the border into Hamilton and continuing on into Toronto.
All of this in four days. It was very exciting.
And then it was delivered to it’s final destination: Singapore.
On December 18th, 2015, at 11:01am, within a stone’s throw of my girlfriend’s doorstep, someone in the Canadian postal system must have hit his thumb with his hammer and in the excitement, tossed my package into the wrong bin.
Now, I myself do the same thing all the time, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that at 4:29am local time on December 22nd, my box of bordeaux was processed in Singapore.
Canadians are hockey players. They can get a puck the size of a quarter into a net the size of my car. You’d think they could aim.
The status on my USPS timeline still claims the package is “in transit”.
I’ll bet it is.
In transit to someone’s lucky mouth.
I went back to the post office today to mail off the tea to last week’s prize winner.
When I finally reached a human (this week, the neon sketchers won) I informed her that I had grossly overpaid and overestimated their services to Canada.
She mentioned that they had kicked my package to the Canadian curb in record time and once it was across the border, they washed their postal hands of the situation.
She didn’t have the information on the man in Canada who had smashed his thumb, so I could add insult to his injury.
Just as well, I guess.
Christmas and all.
My faith in the postal system shattered, I handed over my tea, wondering who in Iceland was going to end up enjoying it.
I went home thinking, “Well, at least there’s still Amazon. That package made it just fine. That’s it,” I resolved, “I’m using that from now on!”
There was an email waiting for me, from my girlfriend.
There was the gingerbread house I had sent, dutifully put together.
It was a gingerbread closet. Not even a leprechaun would fit without icing up his nose.
It held one breath mint over the front door.
So Canadian grams and American ounces aren’t the same, you’re saying? Am I supposed to translate millimeters and yards and ratios? There’s no math in Christmas!!
I wash my hands of this brave new world.
If you want something done right, you do it yourself.
Guess I’m flying to Canada.
Santa can wipe that smug look off his face.