Friday, December 2, 2011

Going Postal

I have heard that the Post Office is becoming obsolete. I wish this were true, but the one I go to always has a line at least 18 people long. And one open window. Sometimes I think people go stand in there just to give me a chafe. Here is an old post about a not-uncommon experience.

I race-walked two people in the post office parking lot to get to the door first. I don’t know what happened, I heard them clickclackclicking behind me and I automatically accelerated. They wanted to get in line in front of me!
Oh hell no.
Ok, I only had that thought for a second. As soon as I saw the woman clutch her purse up close like a football so she could actually jog by me I thought, that’s it, you win, I give up. Cupping my hands around my mouth I yell, "Go get in line ahead of me. Save yourself one minute of time so you can get back to your job for the President of the United States or whatever urgent business you have to tend to!" I did have the momentary thought of giving her a roller derby hip-check into the bike rack by the stairs, but then the guy she was with bumped past me with his aggressive skip-walking.
Come on!
What is it with me and the post office? First off, I still use it. I’m not sure I have any friends who still go to the P.O. as much as I do. I mean I only go a few times a month but still, it’s definitely one of the stops on my itinerary. I can’t imagine anyone I know standing in line for a packet of stamps or sending off a package, I mean, they must, but I never hear about it.
I am thinking all these things when I take my place behind the panting horses in front of me. I take a look around: assess my approximate wait-time, consider the strengths of the other people around me in case there is an earthquake and we are all stuck in a pile of rubble together. It does not look good. Just me and 18 crazy people. A few more walk in behind me, including an old guy in a plaid wool blazer. I don’t know why he was reassuring but he was, there’s something about an old guy in a wool blazer, with his wristwatch and his black socks. But then I looked more carefully. One eye was slightly bigger than the other. And it was protruding. The other eye was crossed.
As soon as I turned back around, he started talking. “You know there were some communists in my driveway once.”
Ok, here we go.
“That was a frivolous tale. I mean the red ones too. Generally they are red, you know.” He chuckled to himself, the old gent, having a good time. In an instant, he turned on a dime, “That sacrimonious infidel.” He yelled, spraying spittle. “I told them not to listen to him. They knew what he was. But he was never part of it. Never. Part. Of. It.”
How does this guy get himself dressed? How is he standing in line buying a packet of stamps? Is his body just on automatic while his brain is spinning out like a car in the Indy 500? Does he have the thought: I need to buy a stamp to put on the letter to pay a bill? Or do his feet simply carry him from one place to the next, just maneuvering through his itinerary?
Oh my god he’s just like me!
I looked at the people ahead of me, some talking on the phone, some texting, some daydreaming, and I calmed myself. We all got up out of bed, got ourselves dressed, made a plan, followed through. Some of us just have more distractions than others.

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