I was at the post office. Those six words will tell you that this happened quite a few years ago. But as they say in the movie Airplane, that’s not important now.
There were five people in line ahead of me and there was one window open. There were also several people behind me, but my focus was, as is often the case, on myself.
The customer was a man of 40 or so. He had a manila envelope, not very thick, but apparently with some important documents.
“How much is priority mail?”
The postal worker quoted a figure.
“And when will it get there?”
The postal worker was reluctant to commit. He named a couple of different days, but finished with, “sometime next week.”
“Uh-huh. Uh-huh.” The customer drew these syllables out into a veritable aria of consideration, while rubbing his chin. I shifted my weight from foot to foot. Someone ahead of me sighed.
“How much is certified mail?”
The man behind the counter quoted another figure.
“Uh-huh. Uh-huuuuuuuuuuh.” I heard the scraping of shoes behind me, but that barely registered over the sound of my brain swelling.
“How much is registered mail?”
This is what you gotta love about government jobs. The guy behind the counter didn’t care who was waiting or for how long. During this time, other postal workers had passed behind him.
I send beseeching looks in their direction, but like accomplished wait staff, they managed to keep their eyes on the prize, which was anywhere but where I was. After that, I tried communicating via ESP, closing my eyes and concentrating very hard on the message, open another window. Open another window. Don’t you see how many people are waiting?
“Is it extra to get a ‘signature required?’” The customer asked.
I broke away from the line. I had already taken two twenty dollar bills from my wallet and now
I slapped them down, hard, on the counter. “Send it FedEx,” I growled.
No, I didn’t. I waited my turn, and then returned to my regularly scheduled life, already in progress.
But many, many times I wish that I had.
Donna Levin is the author of four novels, all of which are available from Chickadee Prince Books. Her latest novel, He Could Be Another Bill Gates, was published this month; it’s available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or at the bookstore right across the street from your home. Please take a look.