Believe me you, I realize that any day the federal government is shut down is a good day for the nation. However, despite the snow, my Washington, D. C., neighborhood Korean grocery, along with So’s Your Mom, the Asian-operated Jewish deli, and almost every business in the ’hood is open. The Diner, a trendy hangout on 18th Street, is jam-packed (no doubt with government employees enjoying their leisure). Unlike the mom and pop businesses, the USPS has not been so eager to please. Thus I found myself lining up outside the Adams-Morgan P. O. with a bevy of other disgruntled postal patrons this morning. The post office wasn’t open, though Mr. W., a postal employee and popular neighborhood figure, came to the door. He informed us that he was alone, and joked that he was a fool to have struggled into work today, though he did hope to open in a few hours. Mr. W. admitted that he had been given no information on whether other post offices in the city might be open for business. A murmur of approval greeted my suggestion that he call his boss and urge USPS to post information about delivery on their website, as any normal, unsubsidized business would have done by now. I don’t expect the P.S. to deliver mail, but couldn’t they answer phones and tell us when we can expect to get our mail? In this snow emergency, the USPS has been just about as helpful as the Amtrak employee who glowers because you had the audacity to hope that the café might open before Baltimore. Oh, and the guy at my deli says that, if the snow is as heavy as expected tonight, he’ll spend the night in the shop. He wants to be able to open for business bright and early in the morning. If you still yearn for government-run health care, try mailing a letter in Washington today.
– Charlotte Hays is editor of In Character magazine.