Thursday, March 01, 2007

Going Postal

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!


Flo said...

Oh oh OH! I wanna be just like YOU when I grow up and get silver hair!

I wish you had been with us at Taco Bell last week when this horrible man gave his young son a hard time, loudly, for not being able to spell taco.

lainy said...

My idol!
I once had a woman honk her horn at me in a fast food line. I managed to get out of my car, approach hers,as she's quickly rolling up her window, and told her if she could make my sandwich any faster go right ahead. She never said a word. I don't like dumb people!

DW said...

Holly Darlin',
Theres no point in confronting someone to stupid to deal with the lesson. They just get pissed, and make up some story to make you the bad guy (gal). I prefer a look with an eyebrow raised completely off my head (I have very mobile eyebrows), or a stare. Most of the time they get so embarrased they go completely rabid, and start yelling.

HollyB said...

it's kinda funny, but I think I'm morphin into YOU sometimes with various personalities.
actually, YOU are my idol. I've never gotten out of my car and approahed someone behind me who has just honked. Too cautious about who might be ILLEGALLY carrying weapons. The ones who carry legally, I am not afraid of, they are sane, law abiding folk. It's the ones who DON'T bother with niceties like a CHL that scare the vickies off me!
Maybe if I could get a Sexy BP cami, then I'd do what you did, but until then, no freakin way!
my Mother and my Dtr can both do the arching eyebrow thing, but the talent seems to skip a generation. I have to settle for peering over the top of my specs, just like Doc Fowler always did when he knew you were shinin' him on!
Thanks to all for your comments.

phlegmfatale said...

That Rude Mother at the post office NEEDED a sound hip-shot. Still, I commend you on your restraint.

When you talked about her trying the doorknob, it reminded me of another pet peeve of mine - people who have to push the elevator button for the floor they are going to, even though the light on that button is already lit. It's just wacky.

Anonymous said...

So, because you did not like the way she spoke to you, you would have physically assaulted her?

Anonymous said...

Good lord.
I agree with the previous poster. Getting violent over simple rudeness is not what one would expect of a "retired social worker."

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