The Post Office

 

I’m two back in line to retrieve a certified letter at the post office. The woman buying stamps in front of me is 70 years old.   Her hair is a waist length ponytail secured to the top of her head by a satin scrunchy the size of a yarmulka.  She is squeezed into black pants, stilettos, and a satin blouse that is the exact purple of her headdress.  I name her Flow.  She weaves on tall shoes between the two working lines.  

“Do you have a magic marker?” She bumps the customer in the line next to her.

“No.”  The male clerk is emphatic.

She pushes his customer back to get a better look. “She said the same thing,” referring to the female clerk with the deadpan stare.

“Do you want the stamps, Ma’am?”  Deadpan’s voice draws her back into the proper line.

“Will this get there tomorrow if I send it first class?” Flow asks.

I can’t hear the answer, but the result sends Flow over the edge.  “You mean that it might not be there until Monday?”

Deadpan speaks in calm, soothing tones. 

Flow’s voice is sharp.  “Send it anyway.”  She pulls a fifty out of her wallet for a single .41 cent stamp.  Change is made.  Swinging her bag and her tail in opposite directions, I watch her teeter off.

“Next.” 

I’m off guard and smirking as I step up to the counter.

“What are you grinnin’ at?” Deadpan asks.  

Without speaking, I place my claim notice on the counter and show my driver’s license.  She retrieves the letter.  

“I wait on that lady all the time.  She’s crazy.”  Deadpan is not so deadpan now.

“I couldn’t get over her clothes.”  I’m not sure if I should comment.

“I knew you were snickering at her!  You couldn’t help it.” Now, Deadpan’s face is downright animated.

“Does she always look like that?”

“Sometimes, she wears glitter.” 

We both laugh.  

“Have a good day,” she says.

As I move away from the counter, I turn back to say, “You too.” 


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