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She’s Gone Postal! Revisited April 15, 2011

Posted by gregquill in Uncategorized.
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I first published this article a year ago – April 17, 2010. My good friend Mark recently cited it as one of the articles he enjoys, so here it is again. -Greg

It was an interesting Saturday morning here in Small Town, Illinois.

I had a number of chores to do today: Two weeks worth of laundry, an important check to mail return-receipt certified, a funds transfer to a family member to repay a loan, pick up some mail at UPS, and fill two 9-gallon propane tanks for trailer heat. So first I went to the local post office, about five miles away.

Many other residents of Small Town chose this morning to go to the post office, too. I had filled out everything in advance, so I got in line at 11:40 am behind one 35 year old woman. I knew they closed at noon, so I felt good. It was good that I felt that way, because the woman in front of me felt … well, cantankerous. Nasty. Ready-for-a-cat-fight hissy fitty. Her mood soon permeated the place.

“When are you people going to start delivering my mail to my new house?,” she threw at the woman counter clerk. The clerk explained, “Well, Ms. Hissy (might be her real name), the carrier brought back this note (showing it to Ms. Hissy and to the rest of us – now 4 – behind her) with the red marks on it, and he says your mail box is on the wrong side of the street and so he cannot leave your mail there.”

This has the effect of spraying gasoline on a smoldering brush fire. Ms. Hissy spirals on up, like a helicopter getting ready to leap into the air. “The MAILBOX was put where it IS by our BUILDER.” “Well,” says the clerk, “he should have checked the postal regulations before he put it in, because it is on the wrong side of the street. The Postmaster left a note on this, too, asking you to call her to get the accurate placement. See, here’s her name and phone number.” Hissy replies, “I don’t need an APPOINTMENT with the POSTMASTER. I KNOW that the BUILDER checked with the POSTMASTER and put the mailbox in the RIGHT PLACE!!”

My quick glance at the other patrons showed that Ms. Hissy would not get high credibility points from us, were we her jury in a felony hissy fit case. Smirks, gaping jaws, shaking heads – looks like time in the Big House for Hissy Fit.

Hissy now starts in again on the poor clerk, who is biting her tongue to prevent lashing out at this “customer”. “So, WHEN are you going to DELIVER my mail?!” The clerk says, “Here is today’s mail, and the note I gave you from your carrier is a copy of one he left in the mailbox yesterday, with yesterday’s mail saying he shouldn’t have left it, but he hasn’t been able to find you at home and he thought he should.” Hissy is spiraling up again, when I joined the harangue on the side of the clerk.

Of course I did.

“Well, it seems that this is all straightened out now, and we have 15 minutes left to finish our business.” Hissy turns to me, livid, and says, “Excuuuuse ME, but I am having a DISCUSSION here!” I said, “No, you are trying to force this lady to give you an answer to a question she cannot answer. You need to contact the postmaster and resolve the problem at that level.” (Nods from the other people.) “Well, this is NONE of your BUSINESS!! I am TALKING to this WOMAN and not to YOU! She is FINDING me the Name and Phone Number while I am talking to her, so mind your OWN business!”

Now, time’s a wasting, and I say so. “Ma’am, she handed you the name and the phone number some time ago. All we are doing now is wasting time, and this office is going to close in about ten minutes. You have the name, the phone number, and the postmaster can tell you what needs to be done. This lady cannot, so you should call on Monday and straighten it out. That’s all they can do for you now, so there’s the door.”

As she moved away from the counter, she said, as venomously as possible, “Get out of my way, Bud.” So I said, “OK, Gal.” Needing the last word, her hand on the door to push it open, she glared at me and said, “Kiss my a**!”

I know, I should have dropped it. I should have dropped it five minutes ago. But the clerk didn’t deserve this harangue, she was being as nice as Hissy Fit was being mean, and Hissy was wasting all of our time at a confrontation that she has had before with the Post Office, that she well knew couldn’t be solved at the counter on Saturday morning just before closing time, and she was doing it before her audience.

So I feigned looking at the portion of her anatomy she had drawn all of our attention to, and I said, “Lady, I can tell you that that is a huge job. I’m way too busy today.”

Hissy stormed out, there was a smattering of applause, and the clerk smiled a wan smile, looked me in my eyes, patted my hand and thanked me.

Yep, there’s a lot to be said about small towns. And, though I grew up in Niceville, Illinois, I raised four kids for 18 years in New Joisey, so don’t get in my face.

Just don’t.

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