So there I am at the post office today. I know, I know, but I figure, how crowded can it be? Stuff that needs to make it somewhere by Christmas should have been sent out already, right?
I’m standing in the long line with all the other procrastinators, and things are moving along surprisingly quickly, even though there are only 2 mail people. Then along comes Herbie, our bottleneck.
Herbie is an elderly gentleman who decided that today of all days would be a fine and dandy day on which to take care of his mail being transferred to his home in Florida for the winter. Okay, no problem. This seems to be a quick thing. Just hand over the form (that you didn’t bother to get out of your bag until you were at the counter), confirm everything, and be on your way. Ho ho ho!
Because first he wants the postal woman to explain everything to him in great detail, down to what he should do to his own mailbox back home so they don’t put mail in there. She tells him to just rubber band it shut.
Postal Woman: You know, the clips at the top, just take a rubber band and twist it around them.
Herbie: Oh, so they can’t get it open. Rubber bands. Huh, how about that.
The line is building.
But he seems to be done, so that’s okay.
Herbie: So just to make sure I understand this process, let me explain it back to you.
This is when the lady 3 people behind me starts muttering. “No, let us NOT try to get more understanding about this process. I think we get it. I think there’s a long line here.”
Herbie: The mail leaves here, then it goes to Tennessee, where those machines there do something with it….blah blah blah.
I kid you not. This is where he’s going with this. He keeps going until he has literally gone through the entire thing until his mail winds up in his mailbox in Florida.
Lady keeps muttering, louder. “You have got to be kidding me.”
PW: Right, and then you have your mail!
Yay, we’re done!
Herbie: Wow, that’s fascinating. Tell me, is this a new process? How long ago was this type of service enacted?
I am seriously not making this up.
The woman is going to lose her mind. Herbie. Keeps. Talking. I start laughing. Really, laughing. There is going to be a mutiny. Then word comes in from the street that a car parked in front is going to be crushed by a big mail truck, which also appears to be backing its way directly into the post office building.
In the meantime, the woman in the other line is trying to find some package that a girl is insisting is back there somewhere.
PW #1 to PW#2: Does this look like a 7 or a 2 to you?
PW#2, momentarily taken away from Herbie, who, yes, is still talking: A zero.
PW#1: A zero? Hmm, I guess it could be. I’ll just keep looking in back.
She eventually comes back with something that looks like a postcard. Herbie seems to be winding down, though of course he takes his time packing up his stuff so as to free up the line. I finally head to the counter, and hear poor woman in line comment “All this and all I need is two stamps!” And she holds up her stack of Christmas cards, with 2 bereft, stamp-less denizens.
Suddenly I’m doing my best Mary Bailey imitation, where she holds up a fan of cash in Toddlers & Tiaras style, to avoid the foreclosing of the Crappy Old Bailey Building & Loan.
Me: Stamps! I have stamps!
Irate Woman: Oh no, I couldn’t…….
Me: No really. There’s still a line, and you never know when someone else is going to want to discuss the entire history of the postal system.
Me: I insist.
IW: I’ll give you a dollar..
Me: Don’t be silly. Here you go.
We exchange our Merry Christmases, and off she goes, happy. Whew, disaster averted!
And that, my friends, is what the true meaning of Christmas is all about.