The door where patrons waited for their box mail was like that of a prison — thick and made of steel. It was painted dark green, like a dumpster.
The three of us waited there, held captive until the clerk got around to us, periodically peering from the door’s top portion, which swung open inwardly, as if she would serve us a last meal.
The mail rooms at our respective apartment complexes had been broken into, and now delivery was suspended. So we each had to travel off-site to retrieve our mail. And so there we were, on line for box mail at this filthy, institutional-looking post office branch.
The clerk, wearing a blue rubber glove, examined our IDs before handing over our various letters and bills and unsolicited garbage in the form of catalogs and circulars and what-have-you. This wad of paper we each received was our ticket to freedom, allowing each of us to leave and continue on with our day as we so pleased.
— First version of this anecdote is here.