I've just finished reading The Mastery Of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz, and I have to say that Ruiz does offer some very sound advice when it comes to how to get more for your buck out of life. He has top notch words of wisdom about taking responsibility for what we do as well as how relationships work or don't work depending upon how we go about sustaining them. I didn't find much new material that I haven't read before in other self-help books, but it's good to reread advice like what Don Ruiz offers just to reinforce that we're on the right track with what we do and how we shape our own lives.
That said, and newly armed with all this wisdom about how to go about simplifying life by effectively dealing with the garbage each of us gets hurled at us as part of our daily routine, I have to say that Don Ruiz has not given me any words of wisdom on how I go about dealing with one of the most incompetent organizations I've ever encountered. Add to this the fact that there seems to be a conspiracy to make life as complicated and frustrating for people who need to use this service, and I'd say I haven't got much chance of mastering the art of Love with those people much less attaining a civil working relationship.
I'm referring to the United States Post Office. According to Don Ruiz, I'm supposed to understand that other people who are not armed with the information I now have about mastering love will continue to live in their own squalid environment totally oblivious to the freedom mastering love can provide. Because of that I will still have to deal with their incompetence even though I'm now fully aware of the tools I need to use to successfully run my life. What this translates to is that no matter how good I get at this mastering love business, the United States Post Office doesn't give a fat rat's ass about love or about mastering it at all. What they're interested in is keeping incompetent mail carriers on the payroll because once a person has a civil service stamped job it's impossible to separate them from it even with 137 pounds of nitro and a stun gun.
For the past two years, or ever since I moved to where I now live, my mail carrier has been having a field day with delivering my mail wherever she wishes. I'm not the only one in this housing complex she handles like this, but I am probably the most vocal. That in itself is irritating because the more people who raise hell, the more likely it is that someone will pay attention and possibly take a stab at addressing the problem. Notice I did not say "fix" the problem. That would be way too much to hope for. What we can probably get, though, is a hearing during which the Post Master does not nod off or crack weak jokes about how many "errant" letters we've got circulating the block of homes around us.
One of the people who has received my mail, and there's weeks where she gets my mail more often than I do, doesn't bother looking at the address on the envelope. If it's in her hot little hand, she opens it no matter who the addressee is. Which is how she came to get and throw away our school tax bill, a credit card bill, my weekly copy of The New Yorker, and other assorted important and not so important mail. She does notice that this stuff doesn't belong to her, but beyond that she can't function. Which means that important personal information of mine is being placed in the hands of an irresponsible moron. When I get her mail, I hand deliver it to her doorstep. This is a concept that's apparently foreign to the neighbor when it comes to other people's mail. In her mind, possession is ten tenths of the law.
Still, what she does with what she gets is not the issue. She wouldn't be able to do anything with my mail if the mail carrier didn't give it to her.
When I called the post office to report this, I never expected that I might be starting the formation of a relationship with the Post Master. I thought he'd solve the problem and that would be that. See? Love conquers all.
Well, it didn't work like that. I call and complain, he makes weak jokes and makes me promises like he'll walk in step behind our mail carrier and make sure every piece of mail is delivered correctly. I gave that solution a week, and when it became obvious that it wasn't working I called again. He assured me he had taken all available steps to make sure the carrier was delivering to the right places. He even agreed with me when I pointed out that this was apparently not working since the day before I had received 3 pieces of my neighbor's mail which included her bank statement.
When I did not receive my weekly copy of The New Yorker, I called Mike - the Post Master - and he told me that it's almost impossible to incorrectly deliver a magazine because they are not sorted with the letters. A mail carrier has to misread the address on the magazine twice to incorrectly deliver it because that particular mail is hand sorted by the individual carriers. But, he said, he'd check into it.
Turns out impossible things do happen. The next day I received my magazine the cover of which had been fixed with scotch tape. So not only did the mail carrier deliver the magazine incorrectly, but whoever got it had to mend it before giving it back. And it is highly doubtful that without my call it would have been given back.
Now I'm beyond irritated and approaching melt down mode. I couldn't care less about Mastering love in any of its forms. I want my goddam mail, and I want it all the time not on days when it's convenient for the carrier to use reading skills. My relationship with Mike has completely broken down -- if we ever had a relationship in the first place. Mike led me to believe we did, but one of the precepts to learning the Mastery of Love is to remember:
This will somehow transform all your experiences into love worthy encounters. I've come to the conclusion that if you go against all the warnings and DO believe that, you're a bigger fool than all the other suckers who bought this book.
- Don't believe me.
- Don't believe yourself
- Don't believe others
So, after finishing The Mastery Of Love I can honestly say that while it's all well and good to consider this theory of how to live life, there are still circumstances under which love doesn't mean squat. The wisdom of the book simply does not extend itself to the United States Post Office. And even though you're not supposed to believe me, yourself, or others, screw love, you can take this piece of advice to the bank.