Thirty four years ago today, when I first started at the post office, carriers sorted all the mail for their routes into delivery sequence by hand. Now almost all the letters are sorted by machines, but we still sort the "residual" mail into shelves with dividers and labels-called cases- so it's in the correct order when we get to our routes. Before we could even start today, though, we had to tear out the existing labels and put in the new labels for our adjusted routes. Casing is sort of like dancing, I imagine, since it depends a lot on muscle memory, and just knowing where each piece of mail goes. With new labels, each address is a search. Every time I was able to put a piece of mail in the case this morning, it was like, "Oh, there you are, I've been looking for you for so long." And each time I found it anew, "Oh, it's so good to see you again, I've missed you."
By the end of the morning I even had some addresses I could reliably find.
While I was on the street, they came through and turned all the cases ninety degrees. Now everything that was on the left is on the right.