I always enjoy getting things in the mail, especially when living far from home and since I’ve never been living further away, geographically speaking, than I am now, the idea of real post excites me more than ever….until it arrives. My mom, generous soul, has sent me not one, but TWO different packages of assorted goodies, both of which I appreciated immensely (I ask, can one ever have enough raw almonds in stock?), HOWEVER…. When mailing something to Indonesia, not only does the party sending the package get raked, the poor person on the other end gets treated to a swift, unexpected blow to the gut. In this scenario, that poor person is me, so when I spotted “Mr. Post Man” approaching my house some weeks back with what would be my second package, I took a deep breath, an athletic stance and tensed my abdominals best I could….; I was half a month’s wage lighter by the time he rolled away. After two costly experiences, I was beginning to believe the postal practices here were teetering on extortion.
Fortunately I got a “hot tip” from my ‘Cuz,’ Matt B. a few weeks back about this racket.
Matt said that if the sender were to mail, say, a new book, they should 1) send it via regular, good ol’, U.S. First Class mail, rather than go through a more expensive service like FedX, and 2) it’s a good idea to rough it up a little bit…make it look used. I passed these nuggets of info on to my family and asked my ma if she might try a test run. I requested a book my buddy, ‘Chipmunk’ lent me years ago. I remembered his copy being well worn. I also remember liking it a great deal, so before I came to Indonesia, primarily for sentimental reasons, I decided to pick up a copy of my own.
The book arrived last week in a bubble envelope. It costs $11 U.S. I did not have to pay a dime. It was, in a word, beautiful. When I opened it up though, I got a little surprise. It turns out my mom and grandparents took a little creative license in making the book look ‘worn.’ There was even talk of my grandmother wanting to run it through the washing machine, but thankfully, they stopped at the tire marks. When it was all said and done, my brand new copy looked like it had experienced an apocalypse on some far away planet; mission accomplished!