In yourself right now is all the place you’ve got.”–Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor
My cousin drove me to the post office. I had to mail a package to England. It contained a Lanz flannel nightgown, a ouija board, turquoise flatties, a box of Valentine candy, and my old Little Women doll (Jo).
“It will definitely cheer her up,” says my cousin, who had egged me on to buy the ouija board.
In the middle of the night had come the phone call : not a death, thank goodness, but our American friend wailing that she does not fit in in the UK. When someone she works with says that her father died, she says, “I’m sorry for your loss.” Then someone else says, “Can I make you a cup of tea, luv?” And the two go off to a corner of the lounge and ignore her.
“At least someone at the British Museum didn’t say you were immense,” I remind her.
“Nobody says anything to me.”
Try the British Museum.
Anyway, back to the package: the line at the post office was long, and my cousin had a hypomanic moment:. “Let’s go to the UPS. store. Our time is valuable.”
“Isn’t that expensive time?”
A phone number is required on the customs form. I write 666 and some random numbers and dashes.
It cost, err, a staggering amount.
“Good God!” My cousin said when she handed over her credit card.
But what did we care? We’re Americans! We get paid! If you spend money, you should spend a lot of money. We went to the mall and bought our own flannel nightgowns on sale. I kind of wanted a Ouija board, too.
And now I know why the narrator in Eudora Welty’s “Why I Live at the P.O.” lives at the P.O.