Oh, mercy, an omen: It's going to be one of those days.
Making my way to the kitchen after hauling myself out of bed this morning, I bent down to pick up a wee twig on the oriental rug in the living room. Many things are ushered indoors on cats' tails and Fearless Leader's work boots, so I'm a gatherer of Mother Nature's detritus most days.
Yark! Not a twig, but a mouse's hind leg. Which means Harley Davison has digested the rest, because Walter Matsui treats mice like Hackey Sacks but never snacks on them, and Millicent Fenwick is too old and fat to give a rat's patootie about mice.
Ah, well, just another day at our address.
It's my routine, most mornings, to get my news fix on TV and on my couch with a mug of tea. I should probably find some other way to get informed, because the day is young and I'm already in a snit.
Here's why: There's a commercial running lately that advocates bypassing one's local post office, altogether, by printing stamps online.
"You'll never have to leave your desk, again!" they crow.
And, my favorite, "There's nothing worse than having to stand in line at a post office!"
Really? Tell that to the folks in Somalia.
I happen to love our local post office. Conversations that connect us and good advice are delivered in line, concerns over weather issues that may affect Christmas tree crops, and isn't the river running a little high for this time of year?
I can't imagine supporting anything that means we must give this up, and I'm sincerely distressed to learn that the U.S. Postal Service will be laying off a bunch of workers.
Lines in post offices, banks and supermarkets are level playing fields, seems to me. Doesn't matter what labels we're wearing or what kind of car we drive or how lovely and fit we are - we're all there for the same reason and, for the moment, have something in common besides our collective humanity.
I met Mrs. Z in line at the supermarket, after living on the same road for eight years - and we've been loyal friends ever since. And here's the rub: I understand that some markets are already offering online shopping and store-to-door delivery service, in which case my neighbor and I would still be passing like ships in the night.
As it is, we drive each other to appointments that involve surgery, yak on the phone a couple of times a week, go to lunch on our birthdays.
Nowadays (is that still a legitimate word? I never see it anymore, but I rather like it) we can come by most anything we want online, including a college education - and in our underwear. Or, less if that's how we choose to park in front of a computer.
No human contact required, no sound of another's voice. Life is delivered on a screen and in one dimension.
I get the convenience, and all that, and the necessity for people who are house bound, but I fear for social interaction.
Are we minding what we're giving up here? The young among us, who have nursed at the teat of technology, are substituting email squibs for greeting cards with a handwritten note - gift certificates for what used to arrive in a box, wrapped in pretty paper and tied with a ribbon.
I sound ungrateful, because our kids always send gift certificates and you better believe I'm thrilled to use them, but that's not it. I think I'm just a little melancholy at what feels like the end of an era. Or maybe I was born too late.
Good grief. Start out the day with a mouse's hind leg, and look where I end up.
I need to get out of this mood. I'm going to take myself to the post office and buy some pretty stamps and see how Patti Postmistress is doing.
I hope there's a line.
* Lynne Horner is a former Maui News features editor and writer who now lives in Springfield, Ore. Her "Second Thoughts" column appears every Tuesday. Send email to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.