In my childless housewifely way, today I made a trip to the post office. I had to send a ratty down vest to one of the delinquent teens I used to work with (he loved it and made me promise that I would never throw it out; I must bequeath it to him, and a promise is a promise, no matter how ratty the vest) (he is, incidentally, no longer a delinquent nor a teen, so I hope the vest still appeals), a knife that needed to be exchanged, a book I sold on half.com, and my severed hair for locks of love (incidentally, I went in for a haircut yesterday, as mine was venturing into mullet territory, and the girl who cut it kept marveling at how fast it grew; she made me feel like it was a superpower, and that I should become a professional hair donor).
I addressed my envelopes, got everything nice and ready, except for the knife. Padded envelopes were disallowed by the knife company, so I had to find a corrugated cardboard receptacle. I arrived at the station of the postal worker who was to become my arch-nemesis, and asked him if they had any smaller boxes, since the knife would be free floating in the boxes I found. He said I should probably just go with the mailing tube. Great, I said. Can I have a piece of paper to scrunch up so it doesn't slam around?
Me: "Excuse me?"
Nemesis: "I don't have any."
Me: "You don't have any paper."
Nemesis: "No. We sell bubble wrap..."
Me: "All I need is one piece of paper...Do you have newspapers? Or Junk mail? Surely you have something..."
At this point one of the other workers said, loud enough to be heard, but without turning toward me "We sell bubble wrap". I hated him and gave him the worst look he has ever received. I promise.
Nemesis: "I just don't think I can help you."
Well, I am nothing if not at least moderately resourceful. So I looked around. Saw some newsprint type paper booklets stacked up in the lobby.
Me: "Hang on a sec"
I returned momentarily and began tearing pages out of the booklet, to the postal worker's horror--horror sufficient to warrant his grabbing the booklet out of my hands.
Me: "What are you doing?"
Nemesis: "You don't want to do that. that thar is a federal document, and this is a federal building" [laughs] "You don't want to do that!"
I looked at him, hatefully incredulous. "You are saying this booklet about how to fill out tax forms is sacrosanct?"
Nemesis: "Yes" (I sincerely doubt he knew what sacrosanct meant).
Me: "Wow." [Long pause] "The world is going to hell in a handbasket because of people like you."
I finished my purchase and went out, back to the stack of sacrosanct instruction booklets, took one out to the lobby, tore it up, stuffed it in the mailing tube with my knife, and used the machine to send it. I haven't been struck dead yet, though the feds may come after me. I won.
For a minute.
When I got out to the parking lot, I was greeted with a serious line to get to the ticket booth. When I finally arrived, the woman with a gleaming gold front tooth advised me that I owed her three dollars.
"But the line...I would have made it..." I was not as fiery as I had been with the postal worker. the parking booth operator was more intimidating by a long shot.
"All I can tell you is, you owe three dollars."
I sat there, enraged. Dumbfounded. I reached for my debit card.
Gold Toofus:"Sorry, darlin'. Cash or check only."
Me: "You have got to be kidding me."
Gold Toofus: "Not kidding you"
Me: "This is not my day. What am I supposed to do?"
She advised me that I could go get cash or a check, leaving my driver's license as collateral. So I did. I went home. I got a check, I came back. I was enraged. ENRAGED. I still am, judging by the all caps.
I hope whatever kid gets this pile o' hair thinks it was worth my trouble. Oh, yeah. And that no-longer-a-teen better wear that vest--summer or not.