By Mel Carriere – December 20, 2015
Things that Go Bump in the Night
That thing you hear going bump in the night this Christmas season is probably just your mailman. It’s months after Halloween, so your visions of dancing sugarplums – perchance caused by somebody spiking the eggnog bowl, are not being disturbed by restless spirits from the tomb or masked mass murderers escaped from mental hospitals. Odds are it’s not Krampus sneaking in on a snowstorm to punish your misbehaving children either. It’s just your letter carrier out there in the dark, his or her mail truck stuffed with cyber Monday packages; parcels stacked so high that they restrain his or her vision to the point of veering off the road into a ditch. While you are enjoying your holiday toasts with friends and family, your letter carrier is out there in the dark – a stressed out postal Santa Claus with no wriggling belly full of jolly Christmas cheer, clad in a cardboard stained blue shirt instead of a fuzzy red suit, topped off by a sweat soaked pith helmet instead of a pointed stocking cap; looking lost, disoriented, and somewhat stunned as his or her guiding reindeer – including Rudolph with his darkness dispersing nose, long ago scattered back to the North Pole for safety.
If you are a new City Carrier Assistant hired by the United States Postal Service prior to the holiday season, you will recognize this scenario as your own and will be wondering how I could so accurately describe your average holiday workday without us ever having met. You will also be wondering how this impossibly packed load of mail you are tasked with; difficult enough to distribute under the full glorious blaze of the low winter sun, can ever be successfully dispatched after our planet’s illuminating star sinks below the horizon, the blinding shadows of night descend, and you and that load you are expected to deliver are totally obscured by darkness.
The purpose of this article, therefore, is to provide you, the fledgling City Carrier Assistant (CCA), with a few tips and tricks that can help to get you through the unforgiving gloom of late fall and early winter, so that you can meet the impossible expectations of your Postal Supervisor and be home snuggling up in your warm bed at night before they roll up the sidewalks and you are left out in the unsheltered cold alone to become a trembling, brittle human icicle.