the United States Post Office.
Maybe I'm cynical because the vast majority of all of my experiences at the dreaded post office occurred in New York City. In case you weren't already aware, the post offices in NYC are not nice places. They are cesspools of vile hatred on the worst days, or apathy on the best days. They also contain at least one bat-shit insane person at any given time. Sometimes the batties are customers, sometimes they're employees, sometimes no one knows.
Why are post offices so awful in NYC? Well, mostly I think it's due to the fact that everyone in NYC is miserable when they have to deal with 6 million people on a tiny island day after day. It wears on you. Then you add to the mix apathetic more-miserable-than-the-average-joe government employees, on top of that (in my experience) there simply are not enough accessible post offices with accessible hours for said 6 million people. Thus, you get a shit-show. I should also note that nearly every post office in NYC has the employees behind bullet-proof glass at all times, so that might also tell you something.
Years ago, I was at the post office in Brooklyn one afternoon trying to complete an agent mailing before work and I overheard the all kinds of insanity while I stood there for almost an hour sticking stamps on envelopes. This one lady, who didn't seem much older than me at the time, was trying to mail several large boxes of books overseas. Based on what I overheard, it seemed like she was going abroad for a long time, maybe for school, and needed all these books. Now, I didn't hear the entire exchange between Book Lady and the PO employee behind the counter, but the emotional meltdown she had tells me that the PO employee was probably being an asshole..
"I JUST NEED TO MAIL BOXES TO EUROPE! I HAVE ALL OF THESE BOOKS THAT NEED MAILING AND NONE OF YOU PEOPLE WILL FUCKING HELP ME!!! I HAVE TO GET ON A FLIGHT OVERSEAS TOMORROW MORNING AND I NEED THESE BOOKS TO GET THERE!"
Not only did she scream this in front of about 20 people, but then she broke down into scream-crying unintelligibly. Asshole PO Employee just walked away. She LITERALLY walked away with the "I don't have time for this shit" wave of her hands.
I guess that's another thing about bullet-proof glass, you stand behind it long enough, you probably stop giving any more fucks. I think another PO employee eventually did walk out from behind the glass to help Book Lady, but what the shit?
The closest USPS office to my old corporate job in Manhattan was 3 blocks away from work. Awesome. Their hours of operation were 9:30am-12pm then 1pm-3:00pm every week day. My work hours were from 8:30am-5:30pm. The next closest USPS was at least a 20 minute walk away from work. So if I needed to go to the post office I was the dictionary definition of shit-outta-luck.
Combining these past experiences (plus the countless experiences I haven't mentioned) with my stifling social anxiety, the post office tends to be one of my least favorite environments.
Today was no different.
I needed to mail my brother's birthday present today and this required a trip to the post office.
Once my package was address and all ready to be shipped, I stepped up to the "Please wait here for the next register" placard at the same time another man stepped up to it coming from the opposite direction. I don't know how to describe this man except to say that her looked like an older scarier version of Quentin Tarantino.
|Yeah...but, like older and scarier.|
We stood in the sort of awkward "who's first" tango that social decorum requires. Then I ceded the first-ness to him. He stepped forward, claiming his next-guy-in-line status, and then turned to me and in a louder-than-necessary, way-to-enthusiastic voice proclaimed "GOTCHA!"
Um...k? I smiled and quickly averted all eye-contact as I my upper body grew hot and I wanted to slither out the door. As I watched his interaction with the PO staff, it dawned on me that this guy might just be one of those Batties I can count on in any post office, anywhere, at any given time. He spoke in a very animated way, as though her were having a conversation with his best friend, but he seemed to be speaking about nothing. Something about his back hurting, and then he pulled out his AARP card and then looked like her was just reading everything on the card to the PO employees. But the PO employees were completely ignoring him. And I swear this man did not have a bluetooth in his ear, he was not on the phone. Then he paid and turned to go, having to cross my path again.
As he passed me he shouted "THERE YA GO!" at me. But it wasn't in the "after you, madam" way or even in the "you go, girl" way. He said it in a way a person might yell at a dog that found its ball after they threw it, sort of over-the-top enthusiastic, but also a little patronizing. Even when I approached the PO employee at the bullet-proof glass-free register and tried to give her the "OMG what was that guy's deal" look, she gave me no emotion and just asked me how I wanted my package sent.
Alas, even she had no fucks left to give.
So, short-story-long, I hate going to the post office.