My aunt was a postal worker for as long as I can remember. She had her own post office in our tiny little town. My first job was working for her cleaning the post office. I was 10. I hated it. Even after cleaning up that really old building. I never truly understood the term going postal until yesterday.
Yesterday started out like my normal roller coaster. Bad morning, Hanan had one of her meltdowns. Then there was Bria. Does she really have another tooth ready to pop? By lunch things were looking up. I got a kind note from an old friend on Facebook. I miss her more that I can tell you. She just moved to Wisconsin. So, I called her up. I’ve been contemplating things that only Lisa would understand and I wanted to run it by her. We talked for a very long time. I was on a high. Not only did we chat but she agreed to bring all 5 of her kids from WI to see me this summer.
I quickly realized that I had to cut my phone call short. Ray had an errand for me that needed to be completed before I picked the girls up from school. I started at 1:15, at the UPS store with 3 packages and a baby in the rain. I needed to return somethings and Ray needed me to overnight a package to his brother. The UPS lady tells me it will be $36. ?!!? “For an envelope?” I ask. Of course I knew another customer so I was on my best behavior. I ask her to wait, let me call my husband. I’m thinking priority mail sounds pretty good. Ray is on the phone trying to help. The girl is quoting every price she can find for overnight. Nothing is less than $30. Ray tells me to go to the post office. I pay for the other 2 packages, off in the rain with the baby again.
I have a secret to share. I’m sharing because obviously, it’s not a secret to the rest of my neighborhood anymore. Two blocks from my house there is an Ace Hardware with a post office in the back. I walk in, meet my favorite postal and walk out. Imagine my surprise when I walked in to a huge line, holding a baby and a huge diaper bag overflowing with my carefully prepared envelope.
This story could be even longer than I making it. I could describe in detail all the things I did to try and entertain a baby that I was holding with a death grip in my arms for 35 minutes. I won’t. I’ll just say, I knew I had to hold her. If she got down I would lose the war. Lucky for me it’s a store and not a normal post office. There are toys, pictures and greeting cards lining the aisles.
My favorite postal worker was not there. Instead my postal worker was bitter. She didn’t know how to do anything but blamed everyone else. Apparently part of her training was to berate each customer with how they had prepared something. I’m listening to all of this with a smile on my face. If Bria thinks I’m irritated, things are going to go south fast.
Finally it’s my turn. I’m polite with my best southern drawl, “Yes Mam, I just need to overnight this little envelope.” She looks at me with a great deal of disdain, throws another envelope at me and a label and tells me to move over and fill it out. She also explains that she guesses I won’t have to go to the back of the line. That’ great considering it’s now about 20 people long.
I write in my 2 addresses as Bria decides she has had about enough. It takes me all of about 60 seconds. I look up. The lady who scooted around me has 30 envelopes. 30! Each one is manually put in the computer, a label is printed and my postal worker feels the need to meticulously put on each label. Then there must have been insurance because it has to be stamped with extra receipts. The postal worker is saying it’s a good thing she’s here now because no one else would know how to do all that. I’m thinking I’m going to scream.
At my waiting about 50 minutes mark, she is finally ready for me. Bria has been good but she’s quickly deteriorating. I frankly don’t care if she screams a little because I’m close to that myself. My lovely postal worker can’t get her little computer to work. I thought I would lose it. She probably hit the wrong button in the 30 envelopes she just printed. (That lady acted like she did that on a regular basis. Why couldn’t she get a business account or print crap off from her office?)
At this point, Bria loses it. I think she actually popped another tooth through while we were in line. The shoulder of my shirt is sopping wet from her drool. She is screaming and flailing. I’m hearing people behind me saying it’s about time. They were surprised she had put up with so much. Her little hands are jabbed in her mouth. She can’t control herself. The man behind me was giving me pitiful little looks. She can’t get the thing to work.
At some point I start to worry that we are going to be late to pick up Arleigh and Hanan. I started out thinking I would hurry then Bria could get a nap in before I picked them up. She finally moves to another computer. It works but she overcharges me. I decided it wasn’t worth the 75 cents to point it out. I would just be berated again. Finally, we’re done. Hopefully Mike gets that package today.
So the moral to the story…there isn’t one. At some point I actually thought it would have been easier to just spend the $30 with UPS. I’ve been reading about poverty lately and how 92% of Nigerians live on less than $2 a day. Think of what they would do with a $12 windfall. Then I get home and restart my Stellan Stalking. Things could be much worse for me than waiting in line for a hour with a screaming and squirmy baby. I wouldn’t change places with MckMama for anything right now. Instead of going postal I’ll put it in perspective and count my blessings.