Thursday, June 3, 2010

postal networking

Doing business at our Sonny McCoy designed Post Office, especially around Christmas and tax time, has always been an adventure. Lately though, it's more like science fiction; Step inside and run the risk of not being seen again for hours;
like going over the event horizon and into the black hole.

If I go by there and the length of the line sets off my mind's "you've gotta be kidding" alarm, forget it - nothing's that important. But yesterday I got there during one of those rare postal customer traffic lulls. I was 4th in line and, I was 4th in line for 20 minutes.

It was enough time to get on a first name basis with the lovely woman, MaryBeth, who was 3rd in line. MaryBeth and I chatted intermittently, I pulled out my sketchbook and started noodling a few quick sketches until I heard Ester's voice ask, "can I help you?" Then I was 3rd in line; and I was 3rd in line for another 10 minutes.

Turns out MaryBeth works in an office on Southard St.
I mentioned that my friend and lawyer, ConchBob, had an office there too and said she knew him but not well.
(Everyone knows everyone in a small town.)
The Cuban gent behind me, 4th in line, grumbled, "it'll be good when FedEx takes over this mess." I smiled at the thought and nodded in agreement.

"Can I help you" asked Ester again. The line shuffled forward and MaryBeth and I were now 1st and 2nd in line. 1st and 2nd in line for another 15 minutes.

MaryBeth, I learned, had 2 kids who were still very young and she made the commute to her job on Southard from her home on Sugarloaf Key. She likes the job, the pay's o.k. and she's lucky that her husband's mom lives with them so they don't have to pay for daycare.

By now the line growing behind us snaked it's way back to the door when Carolyn, another postal employee, appeared from the bowels of the post office to announce in a loud voice, "anyone just picking up doesn't need to wait in the line, just come to this window." Everyone looked at everyone else but no one moved and Carolyn disappeared behind the wall.
Some guy further back in the line grumbled an exasperated, "Jesus Christ!" and just left.

"Can I help you?" MaryBeth turned and gave me a smile, it was her turn and now I was 1st in line. "See you around campus." I said.
She handed Ester the certified mail card she'd been holding, Ester left the window to retrieve the package, my heart sank and there was a quiet groan from the line behind me.
My heart sank and that groan went up every time Ester left the window. I mean, how could we be sure she'd come back? She was facing a long line of people waiting for what was seeming like forever and some of them were getting a little ornery. Who'd really blame her if she left town?

But Ester did come back and MaryBeth was on her way back to the office. "Can I help you?" The line shuffled forward and now the Cuban gent who stood behind me was 1st in line.

No comments: