Thursday, December 23, 2004

Post Office, 22 Dec 2004, Church Ave

After postponing a requisite visit to post office (Christmas packages, late again) I finally managed to get there late morning.

Walking in, it was a shock to see only about 20 people ahead of me, and another adjacent line with perhaps an equal amount of people who were picking up packages.

At the end of the queue, the man in front of me nodded an acknowledgement of my presence, as did I in response. A minute later he asked me to hold his place in line as he had to dash out for a second. He left his small pile of parcels on the counter.

Meanwhile, in the parcel pick-up line, a woman who looked about four feet high and four feet wide was screeching at the man behind her. I wish it had been possible to understand what she was saying, but her accent – or maybe it was a language – rendered it incomprehensible. She kept turning to screech at the man, who had responded to her rage by pulling his cel phone from his pocket and making calls. He was relatively normal looking, half her age though nearly twice her height. Yet, she did at some point lapse into some version of English where she threatened that she wasn’t scared and would be able to “take him.”

And so, while this ongoing tirade was in progress (think really loud high-pitched shrieking voice) another woman walked in and centered herself in the post office lobby in order to take full advantage of the captive audience. She began to preach to the crowd upon the meaning of Christmas and … well you can imagine. I will not elaborate.

My mind felt totally captive in the sense that there were two ongoing competitive events: a screeching bitch-out and an emotional preaching, neither of which I was interested in listening to. Finally they both ended, though it took a good fifteen minutes.

The guy in front of me was taking his good time returning and finally it was my turn to be waited upon when he made his appearance.

“I brought this for you,” he told me, handing me a copy of the a free local newspaper entitled Caribbean News.

I thanked him with little enthusiasm; I am overwhelmed by paper-clutter at home.

“I’m on page 56,” he told me.

“I’ll read it when I get home,” I assured him. The counter clerk was clearly getting pissed off I wasn’t giving him my complete attention.

The newspaper guy gave another copy to the postal clerk who was assisting him, and as I exited the building I heard her shriek “We have a celebrity in our midst.”

Start to finish post office time: 30 minutes. Not bad, especially for Christmas.