… Just in time


Nothing says “good citizen” like getting those taxes sent in JUST in time.

Today after my lunch meeting I ventured to the post office on my side of town.

What happened in the next 53 minutes (Yes. I was in line, at the post office, for 53 minutes. In a city of less than 50,000 people. Seriously.) could only be described as something fresh out of a sitcom.

I get there … there are about 20 people in line coming from all walks of life, except, well, the walks of life that require you to be about 80 years old. (Yes, God, I get it. You’re getting even with me.) There’s three registers, naturally, but ONE postal worker.

Someone asks the guy behind the counter, “Where’s your help?” and he says:

“He has a little trouble making it in on Mondays.”

Wait. Wait just a freakin’ minute.

He has a little trouble making it in on Mondays?

Jesus tapdancing Christ.

Here in the real word, if you have “a little trouble making it in” you LOSE YOUR JOB. You don’t get that layer of federal protection that lets you have a little trouble making it in on Mondays.

If that’s not enough to eat my soul slowly, the guy behind the counter seems to think part of his salary comes from being an entertainer. There’s an oldies station playing in the post office and he’s singing along, encouraging the rest of us to sing along and making jokes to questions like “Can I borrow a pen?”

If I would have heard him say, “It’s 4.10, but if you want to make the check out for $100 and give me the change as a tip, that’s accepted too.”

(Note to reader(s) — I’m pretty sure it’s against the law to tip a federal employee. Asshat.)

When I became convinced that I very well may die in the post office, in rolls (on a Rascal, no less) a guy who probably played high school baseball with Noah (before the flood, of course). He wheels up to the counter where he argued with the LONE CLERK about the price of stamps. It went a little something like this:

Fossil: I want a roll of stamps.
Potential Front Pager: OK, sir. That’ll be $41.
Fossil: I don’t want that.
Potential Front Pager: Do you want a book of stamps? That’s $8.20, but if you wanna give me $100 …
Fossil: No, I don’t want no damn book. I want a roll.
Potential Front Pager: That’s $41.
Fossil: God dammit. I’m not paying $41.
Potential Front Pager: It’s 100 stamps at 41 cents each. That’s $41.
Fossil: God dammit. I’m not paying $41.

(This went on for another 10 minutes before the fossil, dejected, wheeled away with a book of stamps for $8.20.)

After about another 20 excruciating minutes, I finally get to the counter. At this point, my tax return forms, B’s tax return forms and a package I mailed to Florida are ready, labeled appropriately and ready to go. I separate them and hand them to the guy behind the counter.

“Been waiting a while?” he says.

It took every bit of self-restraint I had to not jump across the counter and choke him. He KNEW I’d been in there 50 minutes at this point. He checked me out when I came in. He looked RIGHT at me.

“Yes. Long enough for my patience to be completely exhausted. Let’s get a move on.”

He didn’t say another word except, “Thank you.” I thanked him politely, told him to have a good day and practically ran out of the post office to get back to work.

Harsh? Maybe. Yeah, my filter was down. But a lot less direct than I would have been, say, even a year ago. Maybe this old age thing is doing wonders for my restraint.

Oh … and just one more time, to drive it home:

“He has a little trouble making it in on Mondays.”


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