I caught the Wolfline
bus in again today and it was the last bus that would get students to a 9:00 class, and as is usually the case in that situation, at about halfway into the route, it was nuts to butts down the center aisle and the "Bus Full" light went on passing disappointed hopefuls along the last half of the route.
I went to the post office during lunchtime, and when I arrived there were two people in line and one being served. The girl being served was sending a very large box either to a country, or in a way, that the computer screen that was coming up for the clerk to fill out didn't accommodate the address the way it had to be written to make sense at its destination.
I grabbed a $.39 envelope that was sturdy enough to hold the proximity card and key to Kevin's condo, and from a free dispenser sitting on the counter, I tore off a four-inch piece of colored scotch tape with some post office jargon on it and put it along the back flap of my envelope to ensure
that it didn't come open in transit.
The wait continued. The clerk (at the only window open) called a "Help Desk" to get help with the screen he was trying to fill out. Everyone in line shifted their weight to their alternate foot. The line grew. Ten minutes later, in addition to the two people in front of me there were two people behind me.
Before I'd left my office, I'd seen that it was National Boss' Day and I also wanted to get my boss a gift card from Laziz Biryani Corner
, and a greeting card, while I was out. Noting that the next lady in line had two big packages with her—one of the boxes with AMAZON.COM splashed all over it and with enough clear scotch tape encasing it that it must have consumed an entire roll—I decided to give up my place in line to run those two errands, taking two chances that:
- The clerk hadn't seen me take that envelope off the shelf. I was pretty sure he hadn't, as he was deeply engrossed in his task at the time I grabbed it, and
- No alarm would go off when I left the post office without paying for it. I fully intended to pay for it when I returned, but since I'd already filled it out and put stuff in it, I couldn't return it to the shelf while I was gone.
When I returned ten minutes later, the lady who was there when I'd left evidently had just
left as she was nowhere to be seen, but the clerk was shaking his head (as if to say, "That was a doozie!"
) as he walked toward the back with that huge package she'd left, and the girl with the two packages was still in the front of the line.
He returned to his window, said, "Next?" and the lady with the mummy-taped amazon.com package stepped up. Her other package was wrapped in yellow birthday paper. He said about the amazon.com package, "For $7.05 it'll take 5-7 business days. For $7.10, it'll be there in 2-3 days."
Incredulously, she said, "The $7.05 is fine." I don't think his eyes could
have rolled back any further in his head, and it was accentuated by a collective groan from those in the long line. Off and running...
, including the clerk, that she had
to have misunderstood him. And this was interesting from a communications perspective (my business), instead of clarifying by saying something as simple as, "Did you understand that for a nickel more, it'll get there twice as fast?" he said, "For $7.05 it'll take 5-7 business days. For $7.10, it'll be there in 2-3 days," (so a repeat of what he'd just said that she obviously didn't get), and then added, "Not for $7.10 more, but for $7.10."
After processing that for a moment, she finally said, "Oh, $7.10, then," to which he replied, "I thought
you must have misunderstood me." As if we'd all been drawn into the drama—if only with asides
or noises off
—everyone in the line smiled or sighed with relief that common sense had prevailed.
When I got to the window, he looked at the tape I had put on the back of the envelope and shook his head while pointing to the jargon on it. "You can't put that tape on this. It says 'Priority Mail.' This isn't priority mail. It's first class."
"Oh sorry," I said sheepishly and I cringed while, like fingers on a chalkboard, he dug his fingernails under the tape and started ripping it off. In one spot, it took a layer off the thickness of the envelope in such a way that it wasn't actually a hole, but you could see through what was left. Eying a roll of plain scotch tape right next to him and indicating it, I asked, "Would you please put some of that over that spot. I'm afraid that key in there will poke through if not. I'll pay for the tape."
"The tape's free," he said, and I had to bite my tongue from saying, "Hey I've got an idea. Why don't you put that
tape over there on the counter so people will use it
instead of this specialized tape that isn't appropriate 95% of the time people use it?" I'm just saying...
I went out to Flex
at about 10:00, where it was "Atomic 80's Super Dance Blowout" or some such nonsense. It was neither a blowout nor was there any dancing. Discuss.
I talked with Ken most of the night on various and sundry topics, such as: "raising" a cousin, hair products, investing, age, and other people in the bar. One time this evening, I went into Smoking Police
mode, and sent a girl with an ash about to drop on her shoulder out to the Smokers' Patio.
I wasn't out very late as I have to be up at 7:30 in the morning.