The Post Office

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Today I had to ship my old computer to my cousin who is anxiously awaiting it's arrival. I carefully planned my day around a one hour time block that wasn't at lunch time or before dinner- the busiest times at the Post Office. As like most other cities in the U.S, the Post Office is a dreaded place here in Breckenridge, but I actually find it quite amusing.

Before you go, be prepared to have a lot of things to think about. You're more than likely going to be standing there for a minimum of 45 minutes. If it's around the Holidays, say goodbye to half your day. Don't walk too quickly through the entrance; I can only faintly remember a time or two where I actually got into the Post Office before I hit the back of the line. If you run into the last person, you're bound to create a mass domino affect of tumbling packages and angry part-time residents.

There are always people who will swiftly and passively walk past the line up to the envelope drop boxes. You'll notice a sea of judgmental eyes turn to them as they walk by as if they're being accused of attempting to sneak in line. They'll start to reach for the drop box a good 5 feet before they get to it and quickly walk away without ever making eye contact with anyone.

As you stand in the silent line there will surely be that guy in his mid 30's to 40's whose ring tone is obnoxious in every way possible. The call is always from a relative and always goes the same way. He promptly answers, ducks his head, and plugs his other ear as if he's in a loud room (that always gets me). He'll try to talk quietly, not realizing his ring tone already grabbed the attention of 20+ bored bystanders who are itching to get in on the conversation.

Then there's always that one older lady that's absolutely appalled by the long line, as if she's surprised. She'll express her frustration with grunts and gestures of disapproval while looking around to see if she can recruit anyone. Sometimes there are a few other crabby females her age who will join in with shaking their heads and rolling their eyes at each other. Usually one will finally be brave enough to say something super clever like,
"They should have somebody else helping people!"
The comment creates their own little peanut gallery with the quick classic one-liners:
"Now this is just ridiculous, just look at this line!"
"Yeah, you'd think they'd have someone helping that clerk!"
"Now look at him, what's he doing? Why isn't he taking people?"

Perhaps the most stimulation occurs when two friends or acquaintances awkwardly run into each other at the back of the line near the entrance. Oblivious to the silent line of 20 people to their direct left, they start a 5 minute dry conversation in normal volume about how they're re-tiling the floor in their kitchen or selling their vacation home in Austin. Pay close attention now as 3/4ths of the line shifts their stance so they can not only glace at, but half-watch the two talking as if they were an uninteresting TV show. The majority of those who turn to watch are in the front of the line; they've been bored the longest and have the least chance of being caught staring by the unsuspecting chit-chatters.

Lastly there's the mom who gives up holding her toddler 10 minutes in, and instead lets him wander up and down the line. The response from the rest of the crowd is 50/50. Some are delighted and entertained by him, while others give an over-the-shoulder glare at the "bad mother" who isn't watching her child. Either way, the entire line will be on a first name and nickname basis with the baby by the time they leave because of the number of times he was called by his mother.

If you're one of those people who gets really worked up by nothing, you can turn to the door and blow off some steam by hating the people who are walking in and out to grab the mail from their boxes. You can always see the "I'm laughing at you people in my head" look on their face. Sometimes if you're lucky you get to laugh back when they discover a parcel slip in their box and have to shamefully walk around the corner and into the line they just made fun of.

And oh yeah, I forgot to mention the sucker with the heavy package who's been standing in line for 15 minutes only to realize he forgot his wallet. Everyone knows he forgot his wallet but he's too embarrassed to admit it, so he boldly walks out like something much more important in his life just came up. The only person who feels bad for him is the person who was directly behind him. They never know whether to move up and fill his spot or wait in case he returns. Their sympathy always gets the best of them though and they end up leaving the gap in the line for the duration.

You're finally next in line, but with your luck all but one of the clerk's get occupied by other things. One goes on a lunch break (it doesn't matter what time it is, this is going to happen), one is on the phone with someone who doesn't speak English, and because it's the Postal Service one of them is off wandering, probably doing nothing. The only available clerk is helping the stamp collector in front of you who happens to be buying a plethora of them. By this time you're emotionally drained and end up staring in space for an extra 10 minutes while life at the Post Office just happened.

Anyway, the next time you're stuck waiting somewhere you have two options; You can chose to be pissed off and think you're wasting an hour of your life, or you can be like me and spend an hour watching a live version of Seinfeld.


  • March 7, 2011 at 10:18 AM
    Anonymous says:

    This was hilarious and oh so true!


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