GOING POSTAL




The post office- why does it have to be a potentially unpleasant experience? Is it something written into our genetic makeup, a leftover from the old days when getting a letter to your relations back home was fraught with danger and discomfort- when pitfalls in the form of storms at sea, pirates, hostile natives, and hungry wild animals made it such a happy miracle to get a fecking letter a few hundred miles to its destination? Do we have some hidden guilt because modern transport has supposedly made it so damned easy now? The modern post office is theoretically easy to navigate, you can buy stamps and send stuff overnight express from a machine. If you have to do something else you stand in a line until itís your turn and hand it all over to a trained professional to deal with. It all is usually this easy as a matter of fact- except for one little problemÖ THE PEOPLE WHO WORK THERE. Now I know the Postal Worker takes a lot of crap from everyone these days, and I also know that many, many of them donít deserve this bad name, but like bad cops it only takes a few to ruin things for all of them. It only takes one prissy, fussy little loser who has no power in any other aspect of his life to make your short Postal experience a living hell. Why do I almost always get this person on a day when my hormones or biorhythms or karmic trails make it almost impossible for me to cope with him? Yesterday I walked into the Post Office with an armful of stuff to mail, and was thrilled to find only a few people there ahead of me, and amazed because it was the tail end of the lunch hour. I was happy to stand in the line behind the other nice, patient people, I wasnít in a hurry. But then Mr. Prissy Postal Worker had to call me over to the other service desk, the one across the room that just sits out there in the middle of the floor looking like some special desk where waiting is not required. Evidently.

He was slightly less than impressed when I told him I needed six money orders (although I had even conscientiously written out the amounts on a blue index card, a little anal retentive action not at all my normal MO. Perhaps this lulled him into believing that I was an Organized Person and when it soon became all too apparent that this wasnít the case it annoyed him, like a potential bride finding out her intendedís fancy car is a loan from his boss. My first dirty look came because, although I had filled out the little green customís form for one of my overseas packages, it had slipped my mind to do it for the other two. Well, bugger me- Mea Culpa. So who can get it through their head that Canada is a foreign country? I canít. I grabbed two of the little green forms off the rack and hastily filled them out, only to be told that one of the packages was over four pounds and I had to fill out the WHITE form for it. Never mind that the two had exactly the same information on them. So I rooted out the white form among the 273 forms hanging on the wall and started to fill that out. Now, in the meantime someone had turned on the Postal Service equivalent of the Bat Signal that told everyone within a two mile radius to come in and mail something. Anything, it didnít matter. Come in just to ask a really stupid question if you like. Naturally these people all had the patience of a four-year-old at Disneyland and kept trying to crash the line at the Service Desk since there appeared to be no one there but me, STILL filling out my forms and money orders. Soon Prissy Postal Worker Man was flustered and stressed at having to inform so many people that he would be taking people from the FRONT OF THE LINE ONLY and the subsequent whining and moaning this caused from the peanut gallery. Somewhere along the line I think this became my fault, because he in turn began to give me even dirtier looks, obviously for daring to have the unmitigated GALL to come to the post office to do something more complicated than buy stamps, and for failing to foresee that we would suddenly be deluged with people taking late lunches and having postal emergencies. I have found that the quickest way to really annoy these people badly though is to appear as if you couldnít give a ratís tiny bollox and slow down whatever youíre doing to half speed. Such fun. I know he probably had to go in the back after I left and pop a blood pressure pill. This is my small revenge on the prissy fussy losers of the world.

When I left I could feel the eyes of the less fortunate who were still in the line boring into my back as they sighed and squirmed and glanced impatiently at their watches. Well, itís like my dear old grandma used to say- "Lifeís a bitch and then you get to become one." So long, line-standing suckers. By the way, youíre late for work.



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