There I am, minding my own business; I've rung the bell at the "Dutch" door in the outer lobby at the Main post office. The package retrieval clerk has taken my pink notice and gone off to fetch my parcel.
A woman leading a toddler-girl approaches me and asks, "Is that open?" indicating the knob on the bottom half of the door. I reply, "No." That is a simple, to the point answer, is it not? Well, of course, since I am obviously a drooling fool who cannot be trusted, she reaches out and tries the knob. When she finds that it is indeed locked, I remark, "I said 'No' . " She takes great umbrage to this remark and replies, huffily, while snatching up her daughter, "Well, you don't have to be rude!" Plus, she does NOT retreat from my personal 5' of public space!
Now, I am a "woman of a certain age". I am also the daughter of a retired Postmaster. I was raised to be polite and helpful to strangers, especially Mothers with small children in public places. She had asked for information, I had given her an honest answer, she had ignored my answer and insulted my intelligence and honesty by testing the knob for herself. At this point, she became "Fair Game".
Pointing to the framed, 8.5" x 11" sign of white paper with RED lettering that clearly states : Knock or Ring Bell for Service; I retort, " You could have read the sign." While still invading my space, she informs me that I am being an idiot by being so RUDE and wants to know what my problem is !!! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot ? And she's still about 2' away from me.
Her daughter, being a typical toddler, wants to ring the doorbell mounted on the wall for the purpose of summoning the clerk. Mom keeps swinging the child's hand away from the bell. About the third time she does this, rather than explaining why, she can't touch it, she says to the girl-child, "No, don't touch that, the Woman might get mad at You. She's not in a good mood." Heavens Forfend she just begin teaching her child "NO" means NO! Let's blame the stranger, and make the child fearful of the object of Mother's pique instead of Mother.
Then, the clerk opens the top half of the door to tell me she can't find my parcel. "Well, the carrier left the notice yesterday, so it MUST be back there somewhere," says I, implying she needs to return to the bowels of the post office and search more thoroughly. She sighs mightly and closes the door. More patrons have arrived and are in line behind me. Rude Mother is still off to my immediate right, glaring at me, with daughter STILL reaching for the doorbell. I simply cannot resist. I make eye contact with the child, "If you ring the bell, the Lady will just come back before she has my package. That's all that will happen." She blinks at me and quits reaching for the bell.
Another patron has gotten in line and is wondering if he will have to wait long. I announce that I'm the problem. "The clerk can't find my parcel. " All the others in line, except Rude Mother, nod ruefully. One woman, the next to last in line, asks, of noone in particular, if she even has to be in this line. I say, "I come here a lot, maybe I can help." She hands me her pink slip. I point to the parts of the form that are checked and explain, "See here and here? This means that you have to sign for your package, because it is registered and requires a signature confirmation. So, yeah, you do have to be in this line...or that one." And I poiint to the much longer one in the inner lobby. She thanks me and sighs.
At this point the clerks returns, finally, with my parcel. I show her my picture ID, take my package and leave. If Rude Mother hadn't been holding that child, I swear I'd have given her a hip shot. And even after my amazing weight loss, I've still got the hips to do it, too!