Post Office

by M. Lizabeth Currain

I had a delightful weekend, jam-packed with excitement: A friend’s apartment warming party–there was a drunk foreigner and a transgen; doesn’t get more warm than that! As a small side note, I have not yet revealed to all you readers how much I love the transgen community. I have a special name for them, but that will be an entirely separate post sometime in the near future. However, this particular Transgen, reminded me a little bit of James St. James, if James St. James had an ongoing meth addiction. Then on Saturday my old roomie from college came down for a visit. Unfortunately the weather was completely disastrous, which killed some of the fun. Although, we did go to Shake Shack (also). Let me tell you. I walk past this place pretty much every day. In the summer, that line was kickin’, and people would be lined up practically around the park at like 1pm–now I know why. I’ve been hearing people rave about this place and now I can rave about it too. I had the ‘Shroom Burger which is a portobello mushroom that is jam packed with muenster (my fav!) and cheddar cheeses…and…wait for it….FRIED TO PERFECTION! It was delicious. Try it. If you love cheese half as much as I do, you won’t be disappointed. Finally on Sunday, after work, my associate (power adjectives to describe coworkers is all the rage) and I, retreated to the Crocodile Lounge near Union Square. You get a free personal pizza with every drink you order. After that we went to the Donut Pub. The old Polish man running the joint agreed with me that deciding whether or not to buy a house is easier than choosing a donut. So that was my weekend–I just wanted to bring everyone up to speed. I was not neglecting you.

So the post office. Does anyone remember back in the late-80’s early-90’s when the term “Going Postal” was pretty much the funniest thing you could say besides, “I’m gonna go medieval on your ass!” Well, every time I go into the post office, I can understand why they were disgruntled. Frankly, working in customer service has made me somewhat empathetic to those who harbor feelings of going postal. Customers are lame! Coworkers can be annoying! Management is stupid! It can be stressful. It’s a challenge to not throw a pen at a customer’s face when ask you to double bag a used t-shirt, because they have to go on the subway. What does that have to do with anything?! These people are cray-cray.

There is a post office next to where I work, so occasionally, I will pop in there to buy a stamp to mail my rent, or mail my brother’s birthday gift 3 months late. Now that they have that automated shipping thing, it really cuts down on time spent in the post office, unless you are behind someone that is technologically challenged. I can say, that speaking from my personal experience in this post office, it is usually the customers who are causing the delays. It is almost as if they have never mailed anything before and they don’t know how the post office works. It takes them almost 10 minutes to figure out how to mail something Priority. As I have learned, or maybe I am only speaking for myself on this, the teller, the cashier, the postal worker, etc., is only as fast as their slowest customer. So if I am at the cash register and am ringing up some confused old biddy, and have a line of people, they are just going to have to wait while she digs around in her purse for exact change. Short of snatching the purse from her and getting the change myself, there is nothing I can do.

Since I work next to the post office, a lot of the postal workers come into the store on their break. There is this really nice lady that I see pretty much every day, and she said that if there was ever a line, and I had to mail something, just to come to her, because she knows how it is trying to run an errand on your break. So today, I finally scrounged up the change to mail my absentee ballot (Obama/Biden, in case you were wondering). However, as I carefully placed that $.42 stamp on that over sized envelope, I began to have doubts that that was going to be enough postage to carry my vote all the way to Alaska where it would (hopefully) be counted. The line was long, and I had somewhere to be, and it was just a quick question, I figured I would ask and then go carefully place another stamp on the envelope and be on my way. So I stood next to the long line of people, trying to make eye-contact with my postal lady, which I did, and she waved me over as her previous customer was leaving. The best thing that has ever happened to me in a post office is as follows:

Me: I just have a quick question, is this enough postage? I just want to make sure my vote gets there!

Fav Postal Lady: Oh no! It’s too big, let me check for you. (she goes to weigh my ballot to see how much more postage I need)

Cray-Cray Line Lady: Aren’t we all waiting in line?! (I didn’t turn around, because I know better than to make eye-contact with the cray-crays.)

FPL: Excuse me? (Read that as sassily as you can)

CCLL: I said aren’t we all waiting in line?

FPL: (Sassily) Yes. And you will be called. Okay, it need’s another $.41.

Me: (Handing her my change) Thank you so much! (I start to walk away)

FPL: Don’t forget your receipt, baby

Me: Thanks! See you Wednesday probably! (running away from angry line members)

I got special treatment at the post office. I got to the jump the queue! I made other people angry by feeling entitled to go directly to my favorite postal lady. My favorite postal lady encouraged it and hates the other customers because they don’t understand the way that I can understand.

I am an elitest east coaster, who jumped the line at the post office–a real american institution–to send my ballot back home to elect Obama! I doubt what those people were mailing was as important as that.