Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Does it count as "going postal" if I cry?

As of 3pm, my day could be summed up by one simple incident:

Butter (my 3 year old) and I had 15 minutes to waste before picking up my bigs from school. I am tired of getting hopped up on 3pm lattes and then staying up all hours so I decided instead to go to the post office and buy a book of stamps. (You may be scoffing at me because who even uses snail mail these days but I am on a one-woman campaign to bring back the loss art of correspondence and therefore I send my in-laws a letter a week---yes, it is very Emily Dickinsonish of me)

As usual, the one mail carrier working the "window" has a line 20 people deep, all sporting large boxes (undoubtedly being sent internationally). But huzzah (PSAT word!), there is an automated stamp machine with only one guy standing at it. So Butter and I take our place behind this man and wait. We wait and wait and wait. Butter looks at me in question and I say loudly, "Hang in there, Butterpants, we'll be able to get our book of stamps in just a second." Then we wait some more. What is going on? The man at the automated stamp machine seems to be pulling manila envelopes out of nowhere. And evidently, each envelope needs to be weighed and its zip code entered.

Tick tock, dude. After 7 minutes of this, with Butter starting to look longingly at the Most Wanted pictures on the wall, the man turns around and says, "I'm going to be awhile. I have all of these." Then he signals to a mysterious box that has suddenly appeared and is full of AT LEAST 100 of these manila envelopes. He clearly doesn't realize that I am standing there with a 3 year old looking to buy 1 book of stamps. "Well, do you think that I could just quickly buy a book of stamps? I can pay cash." I say this very patiently (or you know, patiently for me). He looks at me and Butter for less than a second and then signals to his box again and says, "I have all of these."

WTF??? Really? I stood for a moment in shock before picking up Butter, mumbling an obscenity and walking away. Then I called Julio and started to cry.

Now, if I were writing this scene, it would have ended very differently. Because in writer world, all my characters know exactly what to say ALL THE TIME (especially once going through 17 revisions) and crying because an ass-munch won't let you buy a book of stamps just isn't a good resolve.

So, I am throwing out 3 options for new endings and any of you may feel free to weigh in on your fav:

1. (Adapted from my friend Bruce): Pull out cell phone and start having loud conversation with "Trixie" about awkward girl things. Then, say, "Hang on, Trixie, I've got a poopy diaper to change. I was hoping to change it somewhere else but..."

2. Stand super close to the guy and start asking him incessant questions about how many more he has to go, where is that one going, etc. Then let Butter start rifling through the envelopes in the box while saying something like, "Sorry, he's really curious. He gets into everything."

3. Ask if he is sending out a manuscript (because let's face it, why else does anyone have 100 manila envelopes to send out at 3pm on a Tuesday afternoon?) and then accidentally drop my latte into his box before wishing him the "best of luck."

In case you are wondering, my day has gotten better. Thanks in part to a community of writers that I am stumbling upon in the blogosphere. I still love what I am doing and now, I am falling in love with the people that I am doing it with.


Marie Rearden said...

I like #3 and am super glad your day turned around. While I admire your Dickensonish ways, stamps may be headed the way of the FAX machine (it needs to go!). Still, my reaction would have been bad. Passive-aggressive huff, and I would've jumped back in the other line. When I got to my car, I would've fished out the angriest band I could find and scream-sing all the way home (having a toddler would make that more difficult, I realize).

Huzzah, stamps!

Unknown said...

I still use stamps and send letters

Team Us said...

I mostly like that it made you cry (not in the mean way though) because then I remember that even you, my amazing friend and rock star mother to her children, are human. I feel like a part of a club, because many things less important than stamps make me cry!