The Evanescent POST

*The official service or system that delivers letters and parcels

I have been waiting ages for some items I have ordered oversee. Actually for special effects purposes this opening line stretches the period immensely. But it does feel like a long time ago compared to the previous times when I had ordered books or electronics devises from oversee and used my post box address. Usually the items will reach me in or within a month’s time. The whole waiting period back then had been normalized. What is a month if you know for sure that you will receive your items? And you find solace in the thought that your nosy neighbors won’t have an opportunity to claw and sniff at your parcel with curiosity at your apartment block before you marvel at it with bated breath prior to its ceremonious unwrapping.

Presently my stuff, ordered in the middle of winter, was suppose to have arrived at my clutches prior to the start of spring should there have been any delays at customs. Unfortunately they were caught in the flare up of South African Post Office employees strike when its momentum set in after simmering for a couple of years at the brim; For the long time their lot were unhappy because some of their colleagues had been casual workers for a long spell and in the spirit of solidarity they’d rather down tools than continue to serve those of us who believed in their service in order to drive a point home. This is despite the fact that we have an option of the digital age and the alternative services available out there as an alternative SAPO. If the post office was the moss code and on the other hand of the specter the SMS nestled itself comfortable we who came of age prior to the smart-phone would stick with the tried and tested, so it seemed, for our minds now gently sway elsewhere as we accept the effervescence of things.

During a walk with a friend to nowhere about a month ago something snapped when my local post office’ non appetizing architectural form reared itself in the suburbanscape. I dropped a one liner of interruption during their turn in our conversation ‘you know the post office is on strike?’ I said hoping that I would solicit an ounce of sympathy. I should’ve known better
‘Really? I don’t know when was the last time I used the post office, probably when I was in high school. We are in the age of the internet’ they bellowed somewhere in the digital realm of all things evanescent (this was a progression from the effervescence mood of my broodiness earlier on). My stomach turned in anxiety. Was I a man caught up in a malaise slush of a retardation of some sort? Was I delusional? Haunted by an anomaly where the afflicted actually is in the wrong but actually thinks everybody is missing the point.

During a walk with a friend to nowhere about a month ago something snapped when my local post office’ non appetizing architectural form reared itself in the suburbanscape. I dropped a one liner of interruption during their turn in our conversation ‘you know the post office is on strike?’ I said hoping that I would solicit an ounce of sympathy. I should’ve known better

Anyways long after I parted with my progressive friend I brooded over the packages that I have so long been waiting for. Memories of myself opening my post box to find the August copy of Fortune, the last copy (of a paid annually subscription), amid a bed of debris of marketing pamphlets strewn all over the passage corridor of the mail box invaded my flared nerves; somewhere the smell of wrapping plastic and fresh glossy magazine paper lurked. In some of the memories that I could retrieve, especially the latter ones, the corridor was squeaky clean and I returned to it countless of times hoping to find the usual notification to collect my parcel. But the box was cold and sanitary clean like a stoep of a family obsessed with being tidy. Now like you would’ve experienced it before yourself; when you started taking an interest in something that inconvenienced you the world opens up its secrets to you: the South African Post Office employees were really on strike, they meant business, and there was a possibility that my stuff could be recalled or lost in the apocalyptic antics that are sandwiched in South Africa labour strikes. What I found particularly intriguing though was the scantiness with which this strike was being given attention by the media. It was as if it was a ‘by the way’ tale that could be mentioned if nothing important was there to cover. Internet search revealed no new details about the ensuing strike while the television was contend with two men who had murdered their partners.

Has the South African Post become so irrelevant that its demise will not be mourned by the majority but by a few people who prefer to look elsewhere for products? It’s services will surely interfere with business people trading in international goods! If that may be the case what would happen to the employees of this vital service due to loss of revenue? The communication ministry should do everything in its power to turn this section our state apparatus around so that it can be effective. The fact that most of us are wired does not mean that all of us are riding the bandwidth of internet connectivity. Think about the rural communities which still depend on the post office for essential services for paying the bills and transferring or receiving money from loved ones. This will further add to the rift that has set in between the rich and the poor in South Africa.

As I come to accepted with a dying breath that I may never receive my package, I cannot help but wonder whether in our advancement towards the digital we’ve somehow lost ourselves in the process of appreciating the tangible – the real? If this is the case then it comes at no surprise why SAPO’s employees’ plight and the state of the organization do not exist in our minds or that of the center of power itself.

Spring

21 October
© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2014
mmutleak@gmail.com

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