Turns out, moms had all kinds of crazy skills, so something like lecturing their friend about doing some of the things they may have told them, on more than one occasion, not to do following a traumatic breakup all while entertaining a super loud, singing toddler AND keeping track of the time was a piece of cake.
Guess I wasn’t saved after all.
She was, however, gracious enough to make me a cup of coffee then dismiss me from her impromptu lesson in life in enough time for me to hop in the shower and make it to the front door of the office building with 30 seconds to spare.
I sped through the lobby, swiped my badge and slipped into the mailroom, right over to the time-clock where my co-worker, Cassandra, was reorganizing the supply station — our cover in the event one of us didn’t make it in on time and needed to clock in for the other.
See what I mean about friends that were always looking out for me?
I tossed my things into my locker and punched in right at 9 AM. “Thank you so much,” I whispered as I slid next to her in the outgoing mail station to start our morning assignments.
“That’s what friends are for,” she said in a sing-songy tone, bumping my shoulder with hers. “But while we’re on the subject of favors and all,” her voice dropped to a whisper, “can you cover for me in case my lunch thing runs late?”
The dreaded meeting with her parents aka the Lunch Thing.
“Oh, the lunch thing,” I whispered back, “It’s today?”
Complicated relationships with parents was something I had firsthand experience with so her lack of enthusiasm for being stuck in one room with them for an extended amount of time — I felt that on a spiritual level.
“New girl!” Our supervisor, who couldn’t be bothered to remember our names, emerged from the back office like a crazed woman on a warpath and I just happened to be wearing a bullseye. “We’re down a man so you’re on second-floor delivery duty today.” She tossed over a stack of envelopes that almost flew past me.
Second-floor delivery? I don’t do delivery. What’s even on the second floor? Mail goes to the second floor?? Do we even have badge clearance for the second floor?!?!
So many questions! But I was not going to be the one to ask — not her — I needed this job way too much.
Fortunately for me though, Cassandra was a mailroom veteran and always looking for a reason to get out of this little room. “I can show her,” she raised her hand.
“I didn’t ask you red hair. Get back to work,” she hissed, retreating back to her dungeon.
Bad luck 3: Good luck 2.
The second floor was a lot… larger than I imagined with doors placed on what seemed like every inch of the hallway. There were no labels and no mailboxes only room numbers next to frosted glass panels and badge readers that I’m pretty sure mine wouldn’t bypass.
Well that’s helpful.
I was about to resort to a quick game of ‘Eenie Meenie Miney Moe’ to speed this door choosing process along when Room 3 magically swung open and a woman exited, leaving just enough room for me.
I took this as a sign.
I slipped in just as it was closing, averting a possibly embarrassing entry situation, and found myself in front of a bunch of cubicles. I did a quick survey around the room, hoping to find an inbox or something to throw the mail in so I could disappear before any of the Room 3 occupants had a chance to notice me, but of course, there was no mailbox in sight.
I officially hate Room 3.
Okay, let’s think. There are two options. Option One. Take the mail back to my psychotic supervisor and tell her I couldn’t find wherever it was supposed to go — That… I’m… definitely not doing that so I guess that leaves Option Two. Ask one of these occupants for directions.
I made my way down the center aisle looking for someone who seemed available. The first cubicle, right at the top, was occupied by a woman typing away on her mechanical keyboard. Interesting choice for a quiet office like this. Anyway, she was too busy. Next, was another woman who was towering over the divider, in deep conversation about a guy she met last night, with the woman across from her. Too chatty. The last was a guy eating breakfast or something. Too… I don’t even know.
I was on my way back up when I heard someone say, “Mail?”
Mail? Yes! Yes! I do have mail!
I quickly rerouted to the other side of the room, following the voice of my savior to a cubicle near the window.
He was leaning forward in his chair, building a little skyscraper with pencils, staplers and other things on his desk. When I appeared behind him, he spun around in my direction with a smile on his face like he knew something I didn’t. “You’re from the mailroom, right?”
How could he have possibly known that? I mean, I know we’re one of the few departments who wore jeans on a regular basis but still. Did I look like a mail girl? Is that a look?
“Yeah.” I tucked one of my free-flying curls behind my ear. “Did they call you or something?”
“Nah,” he chuckled. “I just know I’ve never seen you before and lost girls always end up here with mail.” He slid the envelopes out of my hand. “I just did the math.”
“Oh… okay,” I smiled. “That… makes sense.”
He sat the mail on his desk, next to his tower of office supplies, then turned his attention back to me. His lips looked like they wanted to say something but whatever he was thinking, never made the transition from thoughts to words, so he just sat there, quietly and that… was my cue to go.
With Mission: Second Floor Mail Delivery over and done and Room 3, a thing of the past, I was free to return to my station, my real job — but of course, bad luck would rear its ugly fucking head again, but this time in the form of a missing badge.
I frantically searched my pockets, shaking them, patting them, pulling them inside-out, hoping it would jump out and make its presence known, saving me and my job from certain doom, but it didn’t.
With no way to get in the door and only minutes to spare before my supervisor sent the search and rescue team after me, I spun around, ready to retrace my steps but almost jumped out of my skin when I saw Room 3 mail guy standing right behind me.
He was holding up a small, plastic card with my name and a not-so-great picture of my face on it. “Looking for this?” he smiled in that way he did at his desk earlier.
A high-pitched squeal escaped my lips. “Thank you so much!” I reached for the badge, holding it tight in the palm of my hand. “You have no idea how much I did not want to have to ask for a replacement. Not after what happened to the last girl.”
“What happened to her?” he smirked, clearly amused by the misfortune of the people in my department.
“I don’t know.” I shrugged. “But that was the last time I saw her.”
He laughed, probably at the ridiculousness of my response, and I laughed because he was laughing and… I needed to get back to work…
“Well… I better go… before she catches me out here.” I moved backward towards the door.
“Yeah, okay. I’ll see you around, Camilla.” He sent another one of those smiles my way.
“Okay… Room 3.”