“Life is a succesion of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”
Ok so here it was a late Monday morning.
It should be noted that it is indeed the first of the month and the week following Snow Jam 2014.
Silly of me to have simply assumed that today’s visit to the Post Office would be a quick trip of in and out?
A trip of no consequence?
The running of a mere errand?
My aunt’s birthday was yesterday. Yes a groundhog child. We won’t go there as I am currently nonplussed with Punxsutawney Phil. As far as General Beauregard Lee is concerned, I am still on speaking terms with him—but let’s not digress shall we. . .
The first clue, that this trip was not to be ordinary, should have come to my attention when I approached the parking lot, at 11:30 AM, noticing the lot to be quiet full. Shades of the Christmas package mailings season came flooding back sending my heart racing. . .”Calm thy self, self, this is February” I reassured myself.
I pull into the first vacant space. There is a lady sitting in the car next to me with a legal pad in hand, writing who knows what, rather feverishly. I grab the big brown box bound for Florida from the passenger seat of my car, as well as a bill and a small plastic mailing envelope with a shirt I wanted to return. The picture looked turquoise, the actual shirt was more like a yellow green—ugh, OK no digressing remember?!
I head across the parking lot, toward the door. Maneuvering the pull door while carrying a rather cumbersome package is a fine art of feet, elbows and hips. There was a little gentleman who went in directly in front of me but we’ll assume he just didn’t see me directly behind him as he let the door slam in my face.
Lesson #1 Assume they didn’t see you coming. I believe we call that. . .the benefit of the doubt.
Ugh, the line is right at the door—anyone coming in behind me is stuck out in the lobby. Gees, this shouldn’t be the lunch crowd quite yet. What in the heck is going on?! I maneuver the other door open from the lobby leading into the main post office now, with the long snakelike line, once agin working the elbows, feet and hip—making my way just inside the door, behind the gentleman who keeps pretending he doesn’t notice a woman directly behind him fumbling for the door with an arm load. . .
Lesson #2 Assume they still don’t see you coming, or hear you or have any sort of periphery vision, or never learned anything about manners or common sense. . .
I begin my servitude of line standing wondering why I had not gone to UPS as I like “Brown” and what Brown can do for me, but I also needed stamps. Oh you mustn’t forget stamps went up again. I can remember when they—-oh, alright, I won’t play grandpa with the remember when of stamps costing a nickel. . .digressing. . .
The Post Office now employs a member of its staff to wander about, weaving through the throng of customers, asking if anyone needs to merely drop off some sort of prepaid this or that, pick up a package or if anyone needs a label or other unsundrie. . .a nice touch of appearing people friendly with the ulterior motive being a weak attempt at efficiency.
Lesson #3 Government facilities and agencies will never conquer efficiency.
Toward the front of this snakelike line of humanity is our community’s local colorful “artist”—a tiny sort of older man with a very large persona. He’s on a cain wearing a leather cowboy hat and suspenders. I always see him wearing the same white shirt, jeans, hat and suspenders. He is speaking so loudly that all of us hear that he’s “making it ok, just still trying to live life being an artist and keeping up with taxes” but now that his wife has retired things are really different. . .all this as he shrugs and sadly shakes his head.
Lesson #4 Some folks just need to vent and / or just need someone else to listen to them.
The post office lady asks a woman towards the front of the line is she’s there to just drop off a package. The woman has on a green back-pack and has her phone held out with something obviously pulled up on the phone attempting to show it to the Postal assistant—kind of like being at the airpot with those using their phones in order to scan the ticket info verses a paper ticket.
She announces to the entire post office that she needs a stamp and a money order and suddenly jumps past two other customers ahead of her in line, as she proceeds to ask for a stamp. “I’m just trying to expedite this line here for everyone” she announces.
“Oh you want me to pay for the stamp now? Oh I need the stamp but I need to put it on a money order, see. . .”
All this as she flashes her phone at the Postal worker at the counter.
“Here I was just trying to hurry all this up and not make these poor people have to wait behind me.” The Postal worker at the counter tells the woman with the green back pack that she needs to pay for the stamp then get back in line for the money order. Remember she has jumped over two other customers—as if she was playing checkers thinking she could jump ahead.
“Don’t you worry I’m not trying to steal your 42 cent stamp”
The postal worker corrects her that stamps are now actually 49 cents.
“Well I’m not trying to steal 49 cents!”
This as she makes her way back to her original position in line continuing the litany to all of us that she was merely trying to speed things along for the rest of us.
Lesson #5 Some people are a bit slower than others in processing information and never learned what taking turns is all about.
Suddenly behind me I hear some sort of robotic sound. Oh me, the man behind me is having to speak using one of those vibration devices used by people who have throat issues such as throat cancers, trach troubles, etc. He tries to explain something to the lady who came in with him but she keeps asking for him to repeat each question. I’m standing in front of him and understood him quite clear the first explanation.
Suddenly I’m feeling as if I’m having an out of body experience.
Lesson #6 Life is often a rerun of a Twilight Zone episode, just know that this too shall pass.
By now, two of the five postal workers at the counter, are whispering to one another and laughing. I just know it’s over the woman with the green back pack and phone who is still telling anyone who will listen how she’s just trying to make things faster for us all.
Lesson #7 Some people are simply delusional
Suddenly an older man walks directly past the still very long snakelike line, right up to one of the counters which is closed as it has a sign reading “NEXT WINDOW PLEASE” There is a postal worker standing at the closed window having a conversation with the neighboring clerk, so perhaps this man decided if she was going to stand there, she was going to be made to work.
Are you freaking kidding me?!!! Are you hearing the screaming in my head—aaaagggghhhhh!!
The older man, who has just by passed 20 people in the snakelike line continues to stand at the counter until the postal clerk acknowledges him.
Lesson #8 Some people think they can manipulate those around them by using age, sex, color, religion, size and health to their advantage. It’s one thing if there is an obvious need, but when the obvious appears to be simply that this individual doesn’t want to wait like everyone else, then a lesson in patience and forgiveness is paramount.
Finally my turn is at hand. I walk up the the waiting clerk wearing a bright smile. My postal clerk smiles kindly in return. I hoist my box up on the counter and make light of the craziness that has been now going on for the past 20 minutes by telling the postal clerk, “ya’ll certainly have your share of a Monday!” at which the postal worker chuckles telling me that I “simply don’t know the half of it” as he almost breaks out into full laughter.
Lesson #9 always smile, always make light—for pleasantness usually produces more pleasantness. And always remember it is better to laugh than cry.
Finally, freed of my cumbersome box I head back the the car. Once back out on the road, I come to a stop at a four way stop just past the Post Office, waiting my turn to proceed. As the car on my left proceeds through the stop, the car immediately behind him suddenly shoots through the stop hot on his heels—totally forgoing the waiting of his turn, just barreling through the stop sign. He was driving a brand new Land Rover. Hummmm. The other three cars, which were all still waiting their turns at the 3 other signs, merely shook their heads.
Lesson #10 Road rage is alive and well—proceed always with caution. And if you insist on being ignorant of the law, arrogant, stupid or clueless, be careful, especially if you’re driving a brand new expensive car.
I quickly reevaluate my position and options as a near sense of urgency begins to rise up form no where.
HOME, I MUST GET HOME.
My intentions had been that of running several more errands, but in mid stream, I decide that it might be the wiser choice to point my car in the direction toward home. . . away from this Monday’s particular madness. Hoping that at some later point in time, the planets may finally align in my favor and that perhaps the more eccentric, clueless, selfish, odd, among us might finally get to wherever it is they were going and it will then be safe for me to reemerge from the protection of my abode.
Lesson # 11 Whereas on certain Monday mornings, it may be best to avoid all human contact. . .
. . . the greatest of lessons to be gleaned from this most odd of days, that which is truly important to take away from the lunacy of the day, is to always remember to maintain a sense of humor—to be able to laugh rather than curse. To smile rather than frown.
The other most essential lesson, or the true moral of the story, in which to take away from this most odd of days is to remember that it is equally as important to have empathy in one’s heart when dealing with one’s fellow man—We simply never know –whereas we may fancy that we are here to offer “blessings” to those who cross our paths—it may just be that it is the others, those odd fringe members of our society, who may actually be the ones who are intended to bless us.
“Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”