The Pony could be more efficient if he was harnessed to a buggy. To a surrey (fringe missing from the top, of course). Or in keeping with the current newness of the post office vehicles, an Oklahoma Sooner prairie schooner kind of wagon. At least it would be dependable transportation for The Pony and his mail.
The LLV (Long Life Vehicle) that The Pony was issued on Tuesday must have been on its 10th life. I got a text from him at 11:51. It was a picture:
"This is a problem. Gear shifter came off."
Well. Yes. That IS a problem. The lever came right out of the column. The Pony said he could put the lever back in, and change gears, but that lever would not stay. It kept falling out. The Pony called back to the post office, and the manager sent a mechanic. Not a USPS mechanic, but the local guy from the shop that always has 2-3 LLVs in the driveway, near the Sis-Town Casey's, cattycorner from the pawn shop where Hick does business.
The mechanic put the lever back in, and used some kind of bolt thingy to hold it on, according to The Pony. So I don't have the technical specs, due to Pony-speak. So he could continue his route. However... another pitfall awaited.
"Somebody put barbed wire by their mailbox! I think I know which one it was. I had made a stop, and before I got very far, I heard a noise coming from my back tire. When I went around to look, there was a coil of barbed wired wrapped around the axle twice. It took a while to get it off--"
"Didn't that cut up your hands?"
"Not too bad. I got it loose. I kept watching that tire, and it was going flat. Not all the way flat, but not full. Before I clocked out, I left a note on the steering wheel for the lady who usually drives that LLV, telling her she should probably check that tire, because I thought it was going flat from running over barbed wire."
The Pony was thrilled on Wednesday to get one of the two new mini vans to deliver packages, and not for foot delivery house-to-house. It had AIR CONDITIONING! And, I'm presuming, a working gear shifter, and a working horn, and four inflated tires. PLUS, The Pony only worked 10.5 hours! Not 12. It's the little things, people. The little things.
Anyhoo... The Pony said that on Wednesday, he saw the LLV's regular driver, and mentioned that tire. She said that she'd been having trouble with it for a while. That it kept losing air. So she didn't think the barbed wire wrap-around had much to do with it. She said she was going to report the tire, and have the mechanic pull it off and see if it had a slow leak.
I think The Pony has 54 hours so far this week, with one more day left before the next work week starts. He has not mentioned a day off... At least he had the Monday paid holiday off, which some people did not. Although for The Pony, a regular 8-hour day is a pay cut.