Yesterday, I went to our local post office, to mail a package. It is only a pale shadow, of its former self. Tucked away in the corner of the building that it once had all to itself. It is just one small store front in the mini strip mall that its building has been transformed into now.
When I got there, there was only one postal worker in attendance. The other one having called in sick. The line was almost out the door. Ahead of me in line was a mother with her young son. He must have been about three or four. He was both loud and very squirmy. Clinging all over his mom, when he wasn’t rolling on the floor at her feet. He seemed to be enjoying himself, while she stood there stoically and tried to ignore him. I had lots of time to observe him and came to wonder if he was developmentally challenged. He seemed too old for the level of baby talk that he spoke, which seemed to dwell on the word poopie. I found him annoying, but my annoyance was also tempered with sympathy for the mother. After the post office, this boy and I would go our separate ways, but there would be no such easy escape for her, but such is the calling of motherhood.
The little boy wasn’t the only annoyance in line. Several of the other customers had misaddressed their packages. When the postal worker typed in the package’s recipient address, her computer told her that that address didn’t exist. This inevitably led to some discussion as the customer and worker tried to solve this problem. Once or twice wouldn’t have been so bad, but it just kept occurring and usually with people with multiple packages. The man just ahead of me in line was one of those who had this problem. Then to make matters worse, after his addressing problems were straightened out, the cash register tape ran out and the postal worker had problems getting it working again.
At this point, I was really steamed. It had literally been an hour that I had been standing in line. My internal monologue was dominated with a recitation of the mantra, “Don’t be an asshole. Don’t be an asshole.” Which, I managed, mostly. Although I did get a knowing glance from another one of the customers who was still standing in line. At least I was quick.