Friday, March 14, 2008

Bad People

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?

Nemesis: "No."

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.

13 comments:

Jami said...

How can a post office- a place that deals pretty much entirely in paper and such- not have a piece of paper they can legally share?

Perhaps the most extraordinary part of the story, though, is your hair. I agree it may be reaching superpower proportions. That is a lot of hair to grow in, what, a month?

amy said...

wow, in my irritation (i now say irritation instead of rage, to seem more adult) i was real unclear about that pile of hair. the embarrassing truth is that those are the pigtails i lopped off in october. they have been sitting on my dresser in a ziplock bag because i hadn't gotten around to sending them off, though i dont think it typically takes childless housewives five months to make a trip to the post office two blocks from their house. sigh.

i think i will just leave the ambiguity about the hair rather than editing it. i kind of like thinking some folks may come away thinking my hair grows at a rate of two and a half inches a month! mine is more like 3/4-1 inch, which is still really fast, according to my barber :)

Jami said...

Actually, I see now that I just misread. Kids talking to me while on the computer, and all.

I'm relieved to know your that was not a month's worth of growth. I've wondered about it all day. "Maybe she has REALLY short hair now," I thought to myself. "Or maybe she has some kind of metabolic imbalance, I should call her and talk about it." Or, perhaps, eating only spinach would make anyone's hair grow to an insane degree?

Good to know your are not bald or diseased.

Tom said...

Are you insane? Do you know what happens when you antagonize postal employees?

(Scene: A nice quiet post office. Postal Clerk #1 is working the counter. Postal Clerk #2 is sorting mail)

Postal Clerk #1: You know, it sure does suck being stuck in a boring, repetitive, monotonous job with no real prospects and limited opportunities for advancement.

Postal Clerk #2: You’re telling me. And the customers! I swear, if I hear one more request for free packing material, I’m gonna snap.

(Enter Annoying Customer)

Annoying Customer: HAY GUYS! MY NAME’S PAMY! WHUT’S GOIN’ ON IN HERE!?

Postal Clerk #1 (under his breath): Oh God, here we go.

Annoying Customer: SO I’M LIKE TRYING TO SEND A KNIFE AND SOME STUFF...YOU KNOW? BUT I DIDN’T BRING THE CORRECT-SIZE PACKAGE TO MAIL IT IN BECAUSE REALLY, WHO HAS THE TIME? YOU GOT ANYTHING?

Postal Clerk #1 (with infinite patience): Yes ma’am, how about a mailing tube?

Annoying Customer: GEE, I GUESS THAT’LL WORK! (quizzically inspects the mailing tube, inserts knife) HAY! WAIT A MINUTE!

Postal Clerk #1: Yes?

Annoying Customer: THE KNIFE’S JUST GONNA BOUNCE AROUND IN THERE! THAT CAN’T BE GOOD! YOU GOT ANYTHING?

Postal Clerk #1: Yes ma’am, we sell bubble wrap.

Annoying Customer: SELL? WHAT? BUT...DON’TCHA HAVE NOTHING FOR FREE?

Postal Clerk #2: We sell bubble wrap.

Annoying Customer (starts destroying postal service property): OH NEVERMIND I GOT IT!

Postal Clerk #1: Ma’am, you can’t really do that. Other customers might need...

Annoying Customer (looks up, angry and confused): WHAT, THIS BOOKLET IS LIKE SACROSANCT OR WHATEVER?

Postal Clerk #1: Well, it’s just that...

Annoying Customer (interrupts): THE WORLD IS GOING TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET BECAUSE OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU!

Postal Clerk #2: That’s it. That is the last straw.

Gun: BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM!

(screams)

"He's got a gun! AGGGGHHHH!"

Postal Clerk #2: Die, all of you!

Gun: BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM!

(more screams, sounds of people fleeing)

"Run for your lives!”

Annoying Customer: HAY, I NEED SOME PACKING TAPE! YOU GOT ANYTHING?

Austin said...

Sorry the post office sucks. Almost every time. Thank you, federal Government.

And thank you on behalf of whoever get's your hair.

Also, Thank you Tom.

amy said...

yes, tom, thank you. THANK you.

i would continue the fruitless exercise of encouraging you to create a blog, if not for your well-being, then for mine, but there's no point. and the world is going to hell in a handbasket as the result.

Jo said...

wow, where do I begin? I read a blog like that and wonder why I don't put off eating and sleeping to read more blogs. I had all these funny witty things to say in response to your brilliant entry, and then I read what Tom wrote, and realized, I have nothing to add to that. Tom is a genius. and very intuitive.

But in your quiet rage, I would like to submit: Sometimes God gives us encounters like yours==so frustrating, simply so that the retelling makes everyone else laugh good and hard. And othertimes, he does it, so that Tom can respond well.
Bravo.
Thanks for taking one for the team. I feel much better now.

Jen said...

gold toofus was an especial favorite of mine in this rant. sorry about the nemesis incident.

Dave said...

Tom should write a biography on you. Hilarious post. Hilarious commentary. Way to go everyone. Thanks for making American Heritage class blog time.

Tom said...

Oh, I forgot to add, after "BECAUSE REALLY, WHO HAS THE TIME?": CERTAINLY NOT A CHILDLESSS HOUSEWIFE!

I had so much fun writing that. You have no idea. I laughed like a moron over and over. As Jo said, thank you for taking one for the team. It’s been a long time since I had that much fun at someone else’s expense. You’re a good sport - nay, an excellent sport.

Tom said...

"CHILDLESS HOUSEWIFE," rather.

Autumn and Barrett said...

Barrett will probably have about 10free minutes between getting home from school tonight and going to bed. I'm going to make him spend them reading this post and Tom's response.

sterlingandbrandi said...

Oh Amy. How this post makes me realize that I sincerely miss you. Thank you thank you thank you (and to your friend Tom, wow.)