Everyone calls in sick at the Post Office today, except for a nice blond woman who is already frazzled by 9:15. She is helping a man send a box which once held vodka and now holds toys. “How many toys?” 25 toys to a city with a very long name. “Is that whole word the name of the city? I don’t know what to do with a name that long. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a name that long. Are you sure that’s the name of the city?” The man nods, yes, yes. He has an accent I can’t place. The box bulges at the top, distorting the picture of the vodka bottles on the side.
A woman with a long braid who is next in line begins to fume. That’s when the blond woman says, “Everyone called in sick.” So I decide to be my patient self. I have been the woman at the front of the line. It isn’t pleasant being that woman, though I’m sure she can’t help it.
A manager comes out and the woman with the braid hands him her orange slip and says, “Very simple.” He goes in back for a while and returns with a certified letter. The woman with the braid decides to tell him that in her place of business, if people call in sick, the manager needs to step in. “What do you think I’m doing here?” She goes on and on and the rest of us in line try not to listen.
Now the blond woman is helping a man who probably missed it all. He speaks loudly and seems to be deaf. I’m next and I ask the manager, in a friendly voice, for a book of stamps. He says, “I can’t do that.” He seems defensive. I look towards the blond woman and try to give her a face to let her know that I am not that woman today. She smiles hesitantly, then wider, motions me over.
The deaf man goes and I slide over. She holds up Forever stamps and asks, “Are these okay?” I say, “Fine,” and “Have a good day!”
“It already looks like it’s not going to be.”
I step out of the drama and into my own day, glad not to be either of these women.