dimanche, février 06, 2005

Too Heavy for Sunday

I was going to mail a package back home on Saturday, but for many reasons I wasn't able to - including the minor little detail of the car in which I had put the package getting towed.

But it's nice to know that despite the near impossibility of doing a host of things on a Sunday in Paris, you can still resort to the main Post Office near the Louvre.

So back in the gratefully retrieved car, I headed over to take care of this little task which would take way too much time on my lunch hour during the week. Imagine, I could start off on a Monday, having accomplished the task of sending a friend and my sister their birthday packages almost in time for them to get there on the right day. What a sense of accomplishment! What a bright, organized person I must be!

I wait in the miniscule line (only two people ahead of me!). I check that I am in the right kind of line ('packages, stamps, letters' - yes that's me! 'No cash withdrawal here.' Not me! Don't care!) I get to the window, and the guy is actually smiling at me. Will miracles never cease. I tell him I need to mail a package to the US and that I need to buy a box for the second one. He looks at my first package, all taped up in the absolutely most perfect sized box for what is inside. He frowns.

"Does it weigh more than 2 kilos?" he asks.

This is like asking me if the sixth and the ninth arrondissements are next to each other. I have no clue. It's not even a metric thing. I know 2 kilos is sort of like 4 pounds. I even know a bag of sugar is 5 pounds. But is my package, which is unhelpfully not at all shaped like a bag of sugar, heavier or lighter? I decide to give in to my nationality and the color of my hair.

"Um, I don't know?" I say.

"Let's see," he says, and swings the revolving window open so I can stick the package in. He puts in on the scale, and I lean closer to read the numbers. It is maddeningly in grams, so I just stare at the string of numbers and wait for him to pronounce the verdict.

"I'm sorry," he says, shaking his head slowly, "I can't help you."

"Excuse me?" I say.

"It weighs more than 2 kilos," he explains, "and packages over that weight fall into a special category."

I raise my eyebrows and motion for him to elaborate.

"We can't handle them here," he says.

"Excuse me?" I say again. Surely he is not going to tell me I have to find a DHL or a UPS office.

He smiles sheepishly.

"You see, for packages over 2 kilos, you have to go to a different window."

Oh, okay! I knew picking the right line first thing off was too good to be true. I lean in closer to hear him through the plexiglass.

"And that window is closed on Sundays," he said, shrugging, almost embarassed.

So much for convenience. But gosh, next time I get a hankering to add to my stamp collection on a Sunday afternoon, I know where to go.