Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Whizzuh Whazzuh?

Writing this post in haste because I am expecting a call from my new freelance client with an Urgent! Assignment! For which I will presumably get paid, and then I can do stuff like pay for my kid to go to school and eventually have disposable income to waste on CDs and books and shoes.* Sweet.

* I know my hubs will read this and the first thing he will want to do is add a comment that he makes enough money that his wife can buy stuff like CDs and books and shoes even when we only have one income. Slow your roll, William Sweet! The problem is all mine, because I have this horrible New England Puritan thing going on, which involves feeling guilty for buying anything for myself. If I have any extra cash left over from my weekly household expenses, I inevitably spend it on Viva. I am quite certain I am not the only mother who does this. Is it a biological thing, do you think?


[Note: my "J" key is sticking, so I typed that heading as "All Hail the Nutobs" three times. All hail the Nutobs, and be awed by the greatness of their works!]

So this morning I went to the post office. I had to go to the teeny tiny post office near my building, although there are two much bigger post offices within a one-mile radius, because I had to pick up a package. I tried to go yesterday morning on my way back from dropping Viva off, but the teeny tiny parking lot was jammed, so I said "fuck it" and drove on home. I suppose I could have parked at home and then walked back to the post office, but it seemed to me that the parking lot was an indicator of how crazy busy the post office was, and that kind of crazy busyness is an indicator of how high my blood pressure will go, so I put it off until today.

I pulled into the parking lot and there were three available spaces (not including the handicapped parking). This means there were only three cars in the lot, so I ASSumed that the post office was not crowded. I am an ass. I was the tenth person in line, and there was only one postal worker in evidence, although there were two windows open.

I feel for the postal workers. I do. They have to deal with the public all day long, and for whatever reason, much of the public is a bit nutters.

It does seem to me, however, that when you deal with nutty people all day, you'd want to get them out of your immediate environment as quickly as possible. But perhaps I don't quite understand the joy the postal workers get out of dealing with disgruntled people, which can be the only reason why they want to prolong each person's wait.

At any rate, when I arrived, there was one postal worker helping a customer, and one woman standing at another postal window, presumably having been helped by another postal worker who had then disappeared into the back to procure a form or find a package or whatever. The line did not move for five minutes. The second postal worker did not come back. Finally, there was some movement, a few quick transactions at the first window. The line moved. Then, O Joy of Joys, someone went up to the window with a melon-colored postcard meaning he had a package to pick up.

"Is anyone else picking up a package?" hollered Postal Worker One.

I ran up there like she was my long-lost friend and shoved my postcard under the bulletproof glass. Hot damn!

"Okay, Miz Blah Blah, I'll be back in a minute," said PW1, and then abandoned us all to our fate.

Because we all commenced to wait. And wait. And wait.

Wait! Are you feeling like this story is moving in real time? Because you couldn't possibly. Time stands still in the post office. It is like being in another dimension.

The Nutjob Dimension.

You see, after a few minutes, Postal Worker Two (PW2) came back. And she had a form for her customer, who had inexplicably moved to the far window, furthest away from the original window, and decided she wanted to be served there. Let us not question why at this point. In the meantime, a couple with a baby in a carseat had entered the post office and decided to stand in line behind this crazy customer and wave a piece of paper wildly at PW2. In the meantime, another customer (let's call her Crazy Customer 2) started yelling at the customer in PW2's line for some reason, and they screamed back and forth at each other in lightning-speed Spanish, so I couldn't tell what the hell they were so mad about.

PW2, in her wisdom, mumbled something about applying for a passport, and set the application down on the counter in her window (where her customer was not standing, since she decided she wanted to be served at a window that was closed), and WALKED AWAY. The couple with the baby then ran to that window, grabbed the form and started filling it out. At this point, Crazy Customer 2 lost her shit completely and started screaming at the couple in Spanish. Since they were Asian and presumably could not speak Spanish, they looked at her with puzzled alarm, but finally got it that they had (a) cut the line, and (b) taken the form that was intended for Crazy Customer 1. There was much apologizing and backing away.

This is when the Crazy Jesus Lady at the front of the line started up. "Her problem [CC2's, that is] is that she is filled with anxiety, and confusion. The spirit of confusion has got hold of her," she said to me and the woman (thankfully) standing between me and her.

We all stood waiting some more, and the Crazy Jesus Lady said conversationally, "I just came to see my mailman, but he's already gone. I wonder what they'll tell me. Maybe I should come back this afternoon."

We all stood waiting some more. The customer waiting at PW1's window for his package said in an Australian accent, "I think they've all run off." Neither PW1 or PW2 came back. It was as if there ws no one working there at all. Finally a short, old, pudgy man with bristling eyebrows went up to one of the empty windows and started banging on them with his keys and calling out something in Russian.

"Oh my God," I said to the guy behind me, whose Nextel was burping out information throughout this process.

"This shit is crazy," he said, rocking back and forth.

"PEACE! Dear Jesus, I pray that you lay the spirit of peace on this post office," Crazy Jesus Lady said. The rest of her prayer continued under her breath, and then she said, "That man has the spirit of anger in him. You can tell, he's one of those, what do you call them, like a cannon?"

"A loose cannon," I said, God only knows why, except I can't help it. There is something wrong with me.

"That's it, a loose cannon," she said. "He carries the spirit of anger with him. He is angry all the time--"

To add to the chaos, the baby belonging to the Asian couple woke up (not surprising) and started wailing. The mother took him, in the car seat, up to an empty postal window and banged the seat with the baby in it! against the glass. "Do your job!" she said to no one, since neither postal worker had returned.

"GET BACK IN LINE!" Crazy Jesus Lady yelled.

"Miz Blah Blah?" said Postal Worker One, having rematerialized from Tibet or Palmdale or wherever the hell she went to go get my fucking package.

"Yes, yes!" I said, bobbing up to the window.

"Oh, hold on a minute. This is insured, I need to scan it. And you need to sign for it and show your ID. Let me finish up with this guy [the Australian] first."

"I just came to see my mailman," Crazy Jesus Lady said.

"Oh, Lord," I said.

"THANK YOU!" said Crazy Jesus Lady, beaming.

Finally, I signed, flashed my ID, grabbed the package, and fled the scene.

The kicker? The package isn't even for me. It's from my cousins back East, for my grandma, who, since she is between houses, is living in a hotel in Anaheim. Oh, did I mention this? My mom and grandma were staying in Carlsbad, but moved to Anaheim. A week ago. And didn't tell me.

Ah, family. The ties that bind, and strangle you.

That is a subject for another post entirely.


The other day, Viva and I were in the supermarket, where I spend many blissful hours each week, and we passed by another kid-filled shopping cart (which, for some reason, Viva calls a "shopping carpet," which is very cool as a concept. I picture us floating about the supermarket on flying Persian carpets, never having to ask for help getting things off the uppermost shelves). Viva said, "I saw a little BOY back there!"

"Actually, there are two little boys in that cart," I said, "sitting next to each other."

"Why do they do that?" Viva asked.

"What, sit together? Probably because they're brothers and they like to be near each other," I said.

"I need a brother!" said Viva.

"You do?" I said. "I don't think you need a brother, you're doing okay on your own."

"No, Daddy said I could have one," Viva said. See how crafty??

"Oh, ho ho," I said, laughing. "Here is where I know you are making things up. I am quite definitely sure that Daddy never said any such thing."

"I need a brother or sister," Viva insisted.

"Which one would you rather have?" I said, curiosity getting the better of me.

"A brother," Viva said.

"I think you probably just want one because [Best Friend] has brothers," I said.

"[Best Friend] has a dog, too," Viva said.

"Well, keep working on that angle, because that seems more likely," I said.

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