That ol' Even Steven really has me guessing. First, I think he's making a point about my line-waiting persona, then he flips the script and cancels it out.
You may recall that as of late, I've had people cutting in front of me in line at Burger Brothers and convenience stores. I've had that dude push a door closed in my face, and the Donut Man have a tantrum because I asked if he was in line so I didn't cut in front of him.
Today I went to the main post office to mail The Pony's weekly letter. The Thanksgiving holiday threw me off schedule. I got there around 11:10. The mail doesn't go out until 11:30. I had plenty of time. I take my letter to the counter to make sure it's not overweight for one stamp. As I went through the glass doors to get in line, I was pleased to see only one person ahead of me, and two workers behind the counter. The lady worker went to the back, but I knew I was next.
I was passing the time (all of 10 seconds) by surveying the floor for possible pennies. I heard the Counter Clerk tell the man leaning over filling out a form, "Maybe you can finish up over there. I have a customer behind you."
Fill Out Man got all hateful. "I thought I WAS finishing up!" Don't know why he had such a chip on his shoulder. Counter Clerk got a kind of stern look on his face. Quite a few of our postal workers are military veterans, and they don't take crap. He motioned for me to move forward, and Fill Out Man snatched up his paperwork and stomped to the left. He shot me a glance of contempt.
"Oh. If I'd known it was YOU, I wouldn't have moved!"
WHAT IN THE NOT-HEAVEN?
Is Val not meant for waiting in a line? Should I just become a recluse, and put my mail in the box with the red flag up? Have my groceries and 44 oz Diet Coke and scratchers delivered? Because this whole line-waiting thing doesn't seem to be working out for me. It's not like I rushed in and elbowed Fill Out Man aside, demanding to be waited on right that instant! I had plenty of time. I was next. I had not said a single word. I wasn't breathing down Fill Out Man's neck, or tapping my foot, or sighing, or asking if he was about done. I was standing, silent, behind him in a line, leaving him plenty of personal space to do his business.
Counter Clerk frowned his way. I stepped up to the counter as beckoned, absentmindedly pushed my letter across the counter, and turned to look at Fill Out Man. I'll admit my first thought was, "Oh, crap! It's not that Donut Man, is it?" There was no other reason I could think of, no other stranger who could have such a strong aversion to my line-waiting presence.
Counter Clerk set to weighing my letter without me even telling him. I'm in there every week. He knows why. And he must also know that I'm not a line-waiting rabble-rouser.
You know, there are people who joke with you in line. Val can take a joke. Like last week at the casino again, in line at Burger Brothers, when a group of four was actually there ahead of Hick and me, placing their order. The cashier looked at the last man in the group, and asked if he wanted to order a drink. The guy was holding one of those metal beer bottles, blue, in his hand, and slurring his speech a bit. Not that there's anything wrong with that. He was in a casino, ordering lunch, not driving a school bus full of young 'uns. The cashier looked up at him, and said, "Oh, no. You won't want a drink. You already have a beer." And the guy said, "I'm just holding it for that lady back there." And nodded his head, and turned to look at me. Okay. That was pretty funny. I might have even cracked a smile.
What I'm getting at here is that this post office Fill Out Man was NOT being congenial, and spouted his comment in a terse tone, no hint of humor at all in the wrinkles beside his eyes. Yeah. I noticed that when I looked at him and SAW THAT HE WAS NOT A STRANGER!
Fill Out Dude was the parent of a couple of my former students. I had no beef with him or his offspring. They were smart and got good grades. The son was on the scholar bowl team, a year behind Genius. Hick and I saw this guy all the time at their meets. I even sat by him (he being the one to make that seating decision, since I was there first) when Hick wasn't there. Let the record show that this guy had a reputation as kind of a loose cannon. Nobody wanted to cross him, and staff groaned when they saw him enter the school. Let the record also show that we'd never had harsh words, and that (unbeknownst to him) I was even one to stand up for his son when other faculty were a bit harsh in their judgement of perceived misbehavior from him.
NOW Fill Out Dude was taking out his displeasure over being asked to move aside on ME?
I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it was just his dry sense of humor. Very dry. Mojave Desert dry. I caught his eye (since he kept staring at me) and said, "Hey. What have you been up to lately?" Just making conversation. Acknowledging that I recognized him.
I still got the same tone. Sour expression. "Running errands for my kids." He went back to filling out his form.
"Me too. Mailing a letter to one." Counter Clerk tossed my letter in the OUT bin, and told me it was fine with a single stamp.
I got the Not-Heaven out of there.
Tomorrow...the flip side of Even Steven's coin.
One would think this man would have been more polite with the teacher who taught his kids, Shame on him.ReplyDelete
To be fair, this is probably about as nice as he gets.Delete
Oh, Val. I ran into a parent who was one of the parents responsible for my retirement. It happened in a QT. She didn't see me, but I saw her... and it was like I had returned to that horrible, horrible year.ReplyDelete
You should have gone crazier than postal. You should have gone teacher on that guy.
Because it worked out so well on the donut-thumper?Delete
At least you have a whole city to lose yourself in. I'm kind of a small-town celebrity where most people know someone who knows me. Or OF me.
I am going to guess that he is not a happy man...realizing someone is not just a miserable son of a bitch, but also just miserable always puts a warm glow in my heart.ReplyDelete
I have a blog troll that gets to me until I realize he is just a miserable man...then I am happy again.
You have some crazy psychic abilities. That is the perfect description of this guy! I never saw him happy or even neutral, though he did carve others with his sharp tongue instead of me. Until yesterday.Delete
I know the one you're referring to. I've always had his number, but you even tried to give him the benefit of the doubt numerous times. Good riddance!
I'm guessing his real annoyance is having to run errands for his kids instead of those kids doing their own dirty work. Also, like joeh says, he's just your standard, garden variety, permanently miserable person.ReplyDelete
I think the main problem he had was the Counter Clerk asking him to step aside. Who knows, he might have waited a half hour to get up there, and thought he should rightfully have the counter until he completed his business. But yeah, he's always been miserable.Delete
It sounds like Fill out man was having a bad day, or either he is one who has a bad day everyday, some people just aren't happy like all of us.ReplyDelete
I told Hick about it, and he remembered the guy, and his opinion was "That's just how he is, Val. That's his way. I'm sure he didn't mean anything by it. He was just joking with you."Delete
Pardon me if I forgot to laugh. Now that it's over, I can go back to my unofficial job of quality control inspector at the rainbow-and-lollipop factory.
You do seem to be attracting them, Val. Have you thought of carrying a baseball bat around with you?ReplyDelete
I think I'd rather have one of those old telescoping car antennas!Delete
So you can stay a safe distance away?Delete
Because it's lighter to carry than a bat, and makes a satisfying WHOOSH sound when I brandish it at weirdos. Hypothetically.Delete
'Tis the freak season...they are everywhere, especially in post offices.ReplyDelete
It's only going to get worse until the last shipping day before Christmas! Forewarned is forearmed. I'll take something to jot down details...just in case.Delete