post office crucifixion

the bureaucracy of the japanese post office gets a grip on you and won’t let go til either it’s drained all the blood from your system or fused together your lower vertebrae, preferably both. i feel about as comfortable going in there as i did going in to meet my first love`s dad for the first time ever, in prison (too long a story) . when you leave the post office you should be handed a cup of sweet tea and a vial of chrytal meth to resuscitate you… the post office, the post office, the post office. 55 minutes it took from entering to leaving yesterday, just to send home a money order. it’s only when my hand is on the chrome handle of the PO door that the memories of previous visits comes flooding back, as if i’d repressed those thoughts until that moment, when like a vicious static charge they come barging into me again, hooligan recollections leaving a weary mess.

i go in there every month, it’s the same form, and you’d think that’d speed things up a little, and yet somehow… i’m starting to think it’s a scam, a sting, that when they see me coming someone pulls a lever, the floor swings around to whisk away behind a facade the clean, efficient post office with it’s attractive, intelligent and well-organised staff, to be replaced by a gloomy dump with sweat and tear-stained seats, achingly crap pictures, and automatons in blue suits who may yet prove that the Missing Links are alive and well in tosu.

let me introduce you to Mr PO One: A Bastard. i’ve not had access to his birth certificate, it’s just a hunch. he’s not only A Bastard, he’s A Thick Bastard. he’s had me re-filling out the send-money-home form on no less than four separate occasions, which if you’ve ever had to do even once, you’ll know is not fun. the slightest mistake, maybe you want to write an `8` but it looks like a 5, so you have to scribble it out- in england you`d simply put your initials above the scribble, and carry on - not here. new form boyo. that`s right, read it and weep fatboy. but in this case it has up to now always him that screws up. and yet i go in there every month, and i request the same procedure, i need the same form... we’ve had rows. i’ve gotten angry with him. he’s shouted back. there’s not a lot of love. i have trouble with incompetency and bureaucracy, which seem to have been born as inseperable twins, and in their realm this guy is king. i try to be patient, i want to be a better person i really do, but patience is not a virtue i am over-endowed with. i once dreamt of removing his larynx with a frozen loaf of un-sliced bread. the sheets had to be changed.

usually i`ll take one of those numbered tickets as soon as i walk in, wait for someone to take the next one, then take another. the idea is that if i get him on the first one, i ignore it and hide the evidence in a sweaty palm, wait, let him beep up the next customer, and hopefully i get someone else to serve me on the next. but yesterday my in-between buffer person had either left, or was also sat there with two numbers pulling the same trick i was up to. so, little choice. i stand up. i go over. he looks at me, I at him, barely disguised disgust on both our faces, him looking probably closer to a nervous breakdown at the prospect of serving me than me from being served by him, but there’s not much in it. and if i thought things couldn`t get worse, on top of this, i see Mr PO2 coming along to open up the next desk. Mr PO2 just plain freaks me out. he has a wig. but it’s not normal, even as wigs go. he’s for some reason cut out of the top of it a fist sized hole, revealing his own flakey scalp, and advertising to all and sundry “hello there, i am wearing a wig”. the wig’s that old that the edges of the hole he’s cut are curling up and outwards, so that you can not only his scalp but also the matted underside of the thing. it`s also the wrong colour! it makes me feel physically sick. (can he be arrested?)

anyway, to cut a story short that i could really drag out (i know i already have) with all my moaning, he did me again. twice i had to fill out the form. in between all this he served a pushy salaryman, taking up another 15 minutes. i just stood there unable to get angry somehow, defeated, remembering the words my grandmother once uttered from her favourite chair during one particularily harrowing xmas family get-together - Fuck My Hairy Life.

i look at them sometimes, those pen-pushing people, with their pockets overflowing with, erm, pens, and i despair. yes, some of them may hate their jobs, be dreaming of far-away places and getting smashed on duty-free: some may be indifferent, realising this is their lot but denying themselves the release of vindictiveness and making the best of a bad situation: but some just love it. LOVE IT. the routine, the forms, the stamps, the order, christ their heads must be like death, no butterflies or rainbows, not even rainclouds or hellfire– nor even something as depressing as a weekend coach trip to morecambe in november with your aunties - no, i reckon the inside of their heads is an empty waiting room on a deserted station platform somewhere in Belgium, and it smells of tramp`s pee, and the little station shop`s shut and there`s nothing in it anyway, and the vending machine`s broken, and the phone`s out of order, and every seat has been shat on by andalucian swallows, who visited merely to defecate in this hole and then part for sunnier climes, not that you ever see them though as that would be far too exciting... and the next arriving train is forever delayed. they’re murderers. they murder hope every day. the worst of it is, i take it personally! bureaucracy kills!