I end up at my local post office a lot, and going there is frequently a bloggable outing.
Serving a neighborhood with a lots of new Americans (immigrants), the p.o. sees plenty of confusion--once I saw a man place the items he wanted mailed on the counter--no box, no nothing. But both the patrons and the workers display some of the most gentle, patient behavior I've ever witnessed, and in that case the postal worker sold the man a box and showed him how to prepare a package for mailing.
The only time I saw a PO worker lose it was when an African man cut himself on the serrated edge of the tape dispenser this worker had lent him.
The worker is a really nice older guy who wears a frog sticker on his name tag and who greets people in many of the languages of the neighborhood. But he's a little odd-- I'd wondered before if he is a Vietnam vet with just a teeny potential to go postal.
Anyway, he freaked out, saying loudly, " You got BLOOD on my tape!" and making a big deal about putting on rubber gloves.
He kept going on about it until his colleague at the next window turned to him and said, "Do you think you could make this man feel any worse?"
But generally people are all very good natured.
It's hard to know, of course, but I wonder if the people from East Africa, Mexico, Vietnam, and elsewhwere are used to sharing resources and don't get riled about it.
(In contrast, at another P.O. by the university, once a man in a long line at Christmastime started complaining loudly about how this inefficiency would not be tolerated in GERMANY!)
Today I was pleased when I got my favorite worker, Doug. I chose the new Gerald Ford stamps because I had just read a bio of him--or part of it.
(I kept falling asleep over it.)
I commented to Doug, "Ford looks pretty good in retrospect, doesn't he?"
"He didn't do anything," Doug said. "Nothing happened."
"Exactly," I said.
"Bush... now he's done a lot."
I couldn't tell how he meant that, so I diplomatically said, "He sure has! For better or for worse..."
Doug replied he was glad I had put it like that, that people often get out of control raging about how much they hate Bush. "Bush isn't all bad."
I was about to launch into a psychoanalytical interpretation of why people rage at government employees,
but figured I'd better keep it short since there were about ten people in line behind me.
Instead I offered a variation on Spock's speech from "The Enemy Within" about how we all have our good and bad sides.
Doug said, "We could talk a lot more about this. But not here."
Hmmm. Like where?
I'm not sure, but I don't think I could say anymore about that because I can't think of one good thing W. has done as president.
Surely there's something?