I now interrupt my regularly-scheduled post to bring you this late-breaking bulletin.
Oh, Italian Postal Service. Poste Italiane. PT, if you will. How do I love thee? Yesterday you gave me one more reason to heart you. As if eating one of my Godiva chocolates wasn't already enough, you just keep coming back for more.
Anyone out there remember the Great International City Swap? Since we ended up with an odd number, I took two buddies and therefore was due for two packages. The deadline to send out the packages was December 1. You may remember one of them arrived in December. The other, sadly enough, was nowhere to be found. I wasn't sure what to make of it, but I wasn't the only one who didn't receive a package (ahem, Kelli, has it arrived yet? I was assured that it was sent!), so I just figured that's part of the deal when you organize a swap. But there in the back of my mind was that little voice saying, "You know, just blame it on the Italian postal service...it's probably all their fault." But, not wanting to always use them as the scapegoat, I resisted.
You see, I try not to be so hard on them, but, it's hard not to. They just do such a good job of not doing a good job.
Yesterday afternoon, and just for the record that would be Tuesday, February 13, i.e., over two months after the swap deadline, I received a package from the lovely Lori, a.k.a. Mingaling in Atlanta. Not just sunshine and ponies, indeed! After Poste Italiane FINALLY got their act together and delivered it (yes, the postmark was rubbed off but I was able to read at least "02, 2006," which tells me that at the max it was sent Dec. 02, 2006, ie, right at the Swap deadline), I was treated to a great swap package of typical Atlanta delights.
The first and probably most entertaining of the Atlanta gems was a poster declaring "Baton Bob, the Ambassador of Mirth!" Hailed as one of Atlanta's most colorful street characters, and I think you'll agree...
He looks simply FAHBULOUS and my swap buddy Mingaling assures me that he is one of the reasons her commute is less awful. Ming, next time you see Bob, please tell him that he is welcome in Rome anytime. IMHO, our street performers haven't quite reached this level of fabulousness. I mean, why didn't I see that dress when I was wedding dress shopping?
Wait. I think one local performer does qualify for this level of entertainment value, and that's my neighborhood mago in his spangly red suit and top hat. But I still haven't managed to catch him in action, so until then, Baton Bob from Atlanta takes the cake.
Of course it surely wouldn't be "Down South" without some of that famous southern cookin' and who am I to go against 101 Things To Do With Grits?
I haven't studied it yet in-depth, but I am hoping it is limited to cooking.
There was also a CD from local legend Cat Power which I can assure you is quite beautiful and slightly reminiscent of The Cranberries, and a wonderful B&W print of the Atlanta skyline that I intend to frame, and that, let's give the PT a little credit here, did arrive in one piece. Luckily Mingaling detailed every article in a little note to me, so I can be sure that nothing went missing this time. Then again, there wasn't anything edible in the package so that probably helped.
And so alas, yet another black mark in Poste Italiane's book but at the same time a fun surprise from the International City Swap crew.
Does anyone have a really GOOD Italian postal horror story? I know they're out there. I like to troll the web in search of goodies to go with my posts, and for this one I ran into an article from 1998 entitled Can Bill Gates save the Italian Postal System? (The answer, I can assure you nearly 10 years later, is decidedly NO.) And to think that I forgot to mention to you that, in fact, Poste Italiane was actually WORSE before it went the route of privatization. That was before my time, but I have good informants who can vouch for this.
We all have our stories: Madeline here, Claudia here. There's really never a shortage of good material. So, thank you again to Mingaling for your fantastic swap present and grazie mille a Poste Italiane for giving me one more reason to trust my mail to the Pope.