The Giving Spirit
Since Christmas is not my holiday (and my family doesn't usually celebrate Hanukkah either), I try to keep stress to a minimum during this season. This year, I didn't send out cards and my gift-giving was limited to the "Wordplay" DVD giveaway and tips to building staff.
I had enough cards on hand to accommodate all the tips, but needed to go to the bank to cash a check to get the cash (and had another check to deposit - the long-delayed NYT digital payment for the second and third quarters). I also had to mail 3 book packages at the post office. These were my tasks for Thursday.
I didn't get moving until almost 4 pm, but was pretty sure the bank and P.O. were both open until 6. I could go south to the small post office or north to the larger one, and chose north since it has more windows. I returned 2 library books on the way and refrained from getting more (I still have 2 books, due next week). Surprisingly, there was almost no line at the P.O. I guess the holiday rush has ended, though people could still be sending things Express Mail. The postal attendant said the place was mobbed the last few days.
Since I was already north, I went further north to the bank branch there. There is no more Select Banking with a separate line, so I had to wait on a longish line. I got the combination of bills I needed for the tips, and then continued north for a slice of white pizza at Pinnacle. I walked back home, put the money in the cards, and gave the on-duty concierge his envelope. He came out from behind the desk with a big hug.
I somehow miscalculated (or mistakenly gave people too much), and after doing the tips I had zero cash left for myself. So I went BACK out, to the closer bank branch's ATM. And health food store, as long as I was out. This is a lot of activity for me, but I wanted to have some money in case I stayed in the rest of the weekend.
This morning, I got washed and dressed, solely to go to the building office to get the rest of the cards distributed, and was glad it was open. I was also able to give the mail carrier his card. The thought of spending the rest of the weekend in pajamas was appealing, but today's e-mail brought the unexpected news that D from high school (who also went to Columbia) is in town from San Francisco. I last saw him when he stopped by the first night of the 2000 NPL con. He's staying with friends nearby, so we met for lunch at Symposium. I finally met his wife, another Ellen. They got married last year after 25 years together (they wanted to make sure the relationship would last). We talked of real estate, semi-retirement, and a certain movie.
I had another book to mail, so stopped at the post office on the way home. This time, the line was long, mostly because only 3 windows were open out of a possible 9. When I went on Saturday 2 weeks ago, 3 windows were also open. You'd think they'd be maximally staffed right before a major holiday. Oh well, I had nothing better to do.
It turned out I did have something better to do, as I just barely made it home in time to go to the bathroom.