Sunday, January 29, 2006

Neither snow nor rain, huh?

Here's another way that life has changed in New Orleans since The Thing happened. Nobody but nobody trusts the US Mail with anything of any value or importance. During the storm some rain gutters came loose and crashed down onto the compressor/heat pump of our heating/AC system, seriously damaging it. We got it repaired last week and the repairman, who we knew well because he had installed the compressor some years before, politely but firmly refused to bill us and let us send him a check. Now, please. Likewise the treasurer for my Quarter condo association, when we were settling up back condo dues from when we were in Jackson, asked me please to just come by and drop off the check, no mailing.

With good reason, too. The postal service has always been rather odd here. (Everywhere else in the country post offices close at 5:00; here they close at 4:30. Go figure.) But even now after five months, mail service is completely unreliable, and everybody knows it. T-P columnist James Gill wrote about his wife applying for unemployment compensation. The claim was denied in a mailed notice, which said she could appeal if she filed within seven days. The notice arrived well after the seven day deadline. (Fortunately she was already back at work.) I'm waiting for a DVD from Netflix that is over a week overdue. That's just an annoyance, but other things are more serious. My health insurance company requires me to use their by-mail pharmacy for regular prescriptions. I ordered a refill of some allergy medication with plenty of time to spare, and indeed it has been shipped. But it has not arrived, and I'm out.

Worse still, all across the region people are struggling with financial disaster just from what the storm and floods did. Before long I fear we're going to start hearing stories of already desperate people finding themselves being hounded by collections agencies for failing to pay bills they never received. As if we need more trouble.

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