Dog Waits in Vain, 20009

A 10-part series in which Justin Moyer, part-time musician, part-time journalist, and full-time USPS enthusiast visits a bunch of post offices in our nation’s capital so you don’t have to.

Location: 2300 18th St. NW Date: 4/20/09 Time: 4:47 p.m.

18th Street is renowned for its loose women, looser men, well drinks, jumbo slices, and fine imported goods. But D.C.’s answer to Bourbon and Beale Sts. also has a post office! Is Kalorama Station as good at the porno-and-head shops amongst which it is nestled?

1. Automated Postal Center (APC) No way. No fucking way. This place is about the size of three postage stamps, and there ain’t nothing automated about it.

2. Safety Glass Thank the risen Christ – Adams Morgan does not have safety glass. But imagine – if you will – that this tiny USPS outpost was open on weekend nights! Then, all Adams Morgan’s distinguished visitors from Maryland and Virginia could get shitfaced, eat falafels, and try to mail shit. In that case, 20009 would need some safety glass. Oh shit. (Is this only funny to me right because I’m high? Be honest. Actually, I’m not high right now at all. Fuck.)

3. Prompt Service I’ve seen clerk “Joe W.” take his time flirting with the ladies, but yesterday he kept the line moving with a series of grand hand gestures and “Please – no bullshit” glances, much like Morgan Freeman in Lean on Me.

4. Parking Nah.

5. Service With a Smile (cont. from #3 above) Now that I think of it, “Joe W.’s” no-nonense demeanor is less like Morgan Freeman in Lean on Me and more like Morgan Freeman in The Dark Knight. Do you remember that scene where Christian Bale was like, “Yo, Morgan, I need the cell phone information for everyone in Gotham City so I can monitor the Joker’s activities (Heath Ledger R.I.P.)” and Morgan was like, “Christian, that’s a fucking violation of privacy. Aren’t you aware that this is a thinly-veiled metaphor for warrantless wiretapping?” Anyway, I don’t remember how the whole thing turned out (Batman wins, I guess? But he also loses and remains an existential hero? Or something?), but Morgan Freeman was really pissed in that scene, much like “Joe W.” often seems pissed while manning the register at Kalorama Station.

6. Triflin’ Factor 20009’s close quarters could, in a less civilized part of town (ahem, Chevy Chase), lead to a lot of triflin’. However, Kalorama’s clientele just doesn’t have time for the bullshit. They’re hustlin’. They just finished up that grant application for their non-profit with a vague mission statement but a decidedly liberal outlook and it needs to get to the Soros Foundation on time. They’re shipping out a free promo of the new Jay-Z record they got for free as a “music reviewer” for the City Paper and sold on EBay and/or half.com for, like, $7 and it is a priority. They’re sending money orders to loved ones in poor Latin American countries after a long week on the construction site and everybody back home needs to know that Maryland ain’t givin’ out drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants any more. Everybody’s got their head down and is silently going about his/her business. That’s the American way, and that’s the way I like it.

7. Customer Comments “Quality of service waxes and wanes,” says “Jim G.,” an Adams Morgan-based “consultant” who unwittingly and hilariously compared the work of 20009’s employees to the celestial behavior our Earth’s only Moon. “Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s terrible.” Just like the tides, Jim G. Just like the tides.

Final Grade: A solid B-.