(6) Canada Post on strike. Again.

(6) Canada Post on strike. Again.

(photo by Lee Ka-sing)


(6) Canada Post on strike. Again.

Mrs. Bento's room guest Yoshiko was expecting a letter she wrote to herself - just to prove the B&B's address was correct, and that the Canadian postal service could really deliver (she'd heard bad things about them). She would then feel comfortable to ask her friends in Japan to write her. She began to feel a little homesick after staying in Toronto for two months to attend a workshop about mindfulness. Unfortunately the timing was bad and she waited for two weeks in vain. Growing more anxious she went to the post office nearby to look for an answer - why would it take so long to deliver a letter from Toronto to Toronto? After all it was just five minutes walk from the B&B to the Post Office building, where she sent her letter. The address was written in her most legible handwriting, and with the help of the owner of the premise - Mrs. Bento's painstaking, word-by-word, alphabet-by-alphabet proof-reading. The staff on duty shrugged his shoulders, and told her Canada Post had suspended service delivery due to the backlogs caused by ongoing strike activity. In other words, she won't be getting the letter any time soon. Knowing that there was nothing she could do she asked Mrs. Bento to watch out for her letter, while juggling with the idea of going to the public library, and using the computers there to do more emailing. This however cautioned Mrs. Bento she didn't get her hydro, credit card or phone bills for quite some time. Had they already passed the payment deadlines? She started to get worry too about the interest incurred for delay payment. "Well, it's a good lesson learned if you don't take technology seriously. I should have signed up for ebills as every smart, forward-looking person do. Now they are making good excuse to charge me more!"

Which Anna?

That Winter, amid the postal strike and Yoshiko's complaint about the failure to receive her letter, Mrs. Bento was surprised to find something in the mail box. It was a brown 6"x9" envelope. She cut it open with a pair of scissors and several postcards dropped out, each written with a message on the back side.

"Greetings from chilly Canada / This morning I went up the CN Tower / It is chilly in Toronto…"

The addressees on all three cards were different. Indeed the front of two postcards were images of the CN Tower, taken from two different angles, the third one was an aerial shot of Toronto, with the City Hall as the main focal point. Mrs. Bento doubted for a moment and thought she received something by mistake. She took another look at the envelope, which printed clearly her name. But wait, there was still something inside - through the cut mouth of the envelope she pulled out yet another card - a Christmas card.

Inside the card she found a hand-written note, reminding her the sender was one of the guests she accommodated last Winter. Anna, the sender, explained how she found the unsent postcards in her suitcase, only after three months of traveling. She would appreciate Mrs. Bento's help to send them out in Toronto. In thanking, Anna attached a Christmas card. This was a beautiful drawing of the Windy City: Chicago. In the middle of the drawing, an helicopter seen hovering above skyscrapers, carrying a Christmas tree of at least thirteen stories high.

Knowing that she had not opened a package belonging to someone else, or peeped into something private, Mrs. Bento felt relieved. Now, the question was, which Anna sent the letter? She had at least three or four Annas stayed with her before. She turned on her old PowerBook and slowly went through the booking database, trying to figure out which Anna fit most the profile of the person who sent her the package. Meanwhile her mind had wandered off  to some 'backward' idea of sending friends postcards too, in her next travel.

Hallejujah! She had identified Anna Quin as the mysterious sender. It would just take her less than five minutes to the post office to send out these cards. But wasn't Canada Post still on strike? "Should I wait for a couple of weeks, or months before I send out Anna Quin's postcards? After all, these are really very very belated postcard greetings from Canada!"

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