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Pickle Me This

April 15, 2005

Forbidden!

I am the worst post office customer ever. Not only am I unable to communicate beyond wild gestures, but I am functionally illiterate. I am the post office chimpanzee. Further, I never require anything easy. One letter first class stamp? Oh no, not I. I have never made a request of the post-office staff that wasn’t bizarre in some construct. I send multiple packages to various continents, I sent 60+ cards and parcels at Christmas, I’ve been sending enormous boxes of our random stuff home monthly since January, there were about 50 wedding invitations mailed two weeks ago, registered mail. Ecetera. Today we sent two boxes containing, among other things, our winter coats, my porcelain Hello Kitty, a few books, knitting needles, my Miffy mugs, hats and scarves. A third box consisted of my entire CD collection, all 5 kilograms of it. This is the end of our stuff, and I was thrilled about that. So thrilled that I decided to explain as much to the Post Office staff member who has to help us every time. “Finished” I said to her in Japanese, pointing to our stuff. She looked confused. I repeated myself a few times, pointing, with a large smile hoping she would understand. Then I realised Stuart was also looking at me rather strangely. “What are you doing?” he asked. I realised I wasn’t actually saying “Dekita!”, which means “finished”. I was saying “Dammait!” which is a very strong way to say “Forbidden!”, and you would yell it at someone who was groping you on the train. I stopped yelling “Forbidden” in the post office, at that realisation. The staff member, who no doubt already thinks I am crazy, didn’t really bat an eye. We ended up spending $150.00, which has become quite normal for us. It beats paying excess luggage fees at the airport. We must be the post office’s best customers. In Japan, it is common for stores to give “gifts” to customers who spend large amounts of money. Today, in spite of me shouting “Forbidden, Forbidden!” at the Post Office staff, we were given the gift of a brand new sponge.

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