Post Office. It’s a place to mail a letter or buy a stamp. Perhaps, it’s a place to get a passport or rant about standing in line. For some of us, it’s a room to visit for some kissing. And some telling. Or not.
I didn’t play Post Office on my senior trip to Washington DC. I was almost eighteen. A goody-goody prude without much life experience or taste. Yet, I remember walking around, kicking my shoes through a white blanket of February snow. Giggling too loudly. Gesturing in that massive way teen girls do. Being interested in everything I saw and thinking it uncool to show it.
Surely, that sounds familiar?
Sprawling along Pennsylvania Avenue, it’s a pile of stone blocks with a clock tower that pokes through the skyline, demanding to be noticed. Its trussed atrium in the center is an ode to a lost era, granite and brass and iron fringing tables that enjoy the square frame of the sky, the kiss of perfect light.
I didn’t appreciate all that when I was seventeen. I remember being SO GLAD to find the Old Post Office because I could get a decent, recognizable meal. (AKA a hamburger.) I didn’t look up to see the sky or notice the glass elevator that crawled up the clock tower. That precious old building, solid everywhere, didn’t phase me in my quest for the osculating caress of a real meal in its cheap food court and tacky souvenir shops.
I’m glad I can go back. See things with different eyes. Sit in a soaring room alone, immersed in the sounds of foreign tongues cracking the prisms of light. My stomach full from a visit to a cheese shop around the corner. A place where all I want to do is look up. Gaze around. Feast on the beauty enveloping me, the symphony of noises that bounce off the hard edges of a glorious, forgotten, almost prostituted space.
When the Post Office kisses me. Well. That’s living.