Oh by the way, it was nice meeting you.

IT IS funny that a simple thing such as going to the post office turns out to be quite a story.

Melbourne University's Post office, photo by William Cochrane

It was raining; the clock said it was 11am in the morning. The tram was four minutes away, and I quickly chucked in the Working With Children booklet that I’ve taken a couple of weeks ago. Grabbing my keys and handphone, I started to run in the rain, catching the tram to uni.

I sat down in the tram looking quite silly – handphone in my right hand, apartment keys in my left. Folded WWC booklet was scattered inside my bag, and I wore an unbuttoned jacket while everyone else had their scarfs and boots. Well, I guess I was a bit under-dressed, that’s for sure.

Scribbling down my name, address, and future ’employee’ details, I started to remember why I bother to fill in this booklet. Oh yeah – tutor volunteering. And yeah, if only I can get that volunteer spot at Melbourne Museum…

Then I realised I didn’t bring my passport. Oh gee why do they ask for so many identifications anyway? I started to read the booklet thoroughly, and found out that I could use three basic IDs (medicard, student ID, and credit card), plus a bank statement. There you go, now I was on my way to the bank.

Walking three blocks in the rain from Royal Melbourne Hospital to the Commonwealth Bank was quite a challenge, especially when you were wearing flat shoes. There were puddles of water everywhere, and fifteen minutes walk in the rain was enough to make your shoes soaked wet. And why didn’t I bother to open up my umbrella? Well, I thought it was just a light rain. Big mistake, Marcella, but realising the situation halfway though the bank, I decided there was no point of getting my umbrella wet either.

The nice lady in the bank immediately gave my bank statement, and I made my way to the Post office. Luckily, it was not lunch time yet, and no one was queuing. “Go quickly and get this done,” I said to myself.

The Chinese lady at the counter was talking to another Western guy. She was in her 40s, that was my guess. Her black hair was at the shoulder’s length, and she wore the glasses that reminds me of the story of Hansel and Gretel. But nevermind.

I was standing in front of the counter for the full two minutes, but she wouldn’t stop talking to the other officer. Realising that I had another appointment at the union house shortly, I finally asked, “Excuse me, I’d like to lodge in a WWC check.”

Interrupted, she turned back to me and saw my booklet. “So what kind of ID do you bring?” she asked.

I gave my student ID, medicare card, credit card, and my brand new bank statement with fresh stamp on it.

“And I need your photo ID,” she said.

I immediately said that I didn’t have a recent photo, and would like to take a photo ID there.

The other Western officer now cued me to the side and said that I need to take off my hat. I tidied up my hair a bit, and suddenly the flash mesmerised my eyes. Surprised, I started to think, did he just take my photo?

Apparently yes was the answer, and I stood there horrified by the results.

“You have not filled in the type of WWC that you’d be volunteering about,” the Chinese lady said.

“I was not sure about the type, it was a volunteering event for tutoring and…”

“I couldn’t tell you which type, you need to ask your employer,” she cut my unfinished sentence.

The urge of laziness kicked in, and I just said, “Oh, I think it’s the number 52, which is volunteering for other child-related event.”

She scribbled ’52’ and that was it.

While she was juggling to check my bank statement, my IDs, and my information on the booklet, I stood there thinking what happened to the nice post officer that I saw in movies, read in articles, and heard from my friends.

“Okay, sign here and here. Here’s the receipt; the card will take 3-5 weeks to be sent to your address, and the receipt can be used up to 60 days. Goodbye,” and she resumed her talking with the other officer.

With my right hand holding my wallet, my three IDs, and the receipt, and my left hand holding my bag, my frantic photo ID, and my handphone, I found my way out of the Post office. By then, I was thinking, oh by the way, it was nice meeting you, and hope you have a good day.

I hope I meant no sarcasm.


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