hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Small Town

Yesterday afternoon, I showed up at the post office around 2:15 in order to make the 3 pm mail.  one guy in line ahead of me with about 25 packages.  Oh, dear.  Well, I've got time.  Then, about five minutes later, an older woman walked in, thanked the guy with the packages and entered the line ahead of me.  Then, as he had tended to her, she tended to him and he disappeared to re-appear with another cart and another 25 or so packages.  Jeez...maybe I'll make the 3:15 mail, maybe not at this rate.  Maybe they'll open another line?

But, not to be.  Turns out the evening power outage (what was that about?  Grid problems from some San Diego outage?) had disabled all but one of the post office's computers and thus only one line was the story of our lives today.  And we began to talk to one another about our plight or at least about our lives in Point Roberts.  Such talk always starts with stories about the border.  Apparently it was problematic that day coming in.  The day before it had been absolutely awful going out.  There remains some kind of road work that can bollix it all up for us all.

The guy with all the packages inquired of me whether I had only one thing.  Alas, I had three small packages and he gave me a look, the equivalent of 'not going to be able to help you today, and tomorrow doesn't look too good either...'  We drifted off in our conversation to the lines in the grocery store, and eventually found ourselves off into the weekend's quilt show, when one guy asked what we did here in Point Roberts on a weekend, those of us who actually lived here.  The quilt show was an event nobody in the post office line had attended, but they wanted to know about it; from boredom or from interest?  Well, hard to know.

Then we discussed the summer weather and its strangeness...too warm too long.  But, the lady in front me said it had been just like this the year of Expo (maybe 20+ years ago).  And another woman agreed with that memory, thus leading us to conclude that it wasn't unusual.  And yet, once every 20+ years seems unusual to me.  Unusual enough to be caused by different things.  We didn't discuss global warming or climate change.   Too worrisome for an afternoon at the post office.  But there had been an earthquake in the vicinity a few hours earlier, but we didn't feel it, even though it was 6.4.  Not going to happen here, one woman said.  Like, right.

It's now 2:40 and we discuss whether we'll make the mail deadline at 3:15 and conclude we will.  And the guy at the head of the line slowly processes his massive pile of packages.  Lisa, the post office clerk, apologizes to the rest of us, but the guy never turns around.  We are not there, apparently, for him.

Fiinally, he is done, and turns to see the half dozen of us behind him.  He looks amazed.  I wish him a nice day, acknowledging that there had been some hard feelings during the past half hour.  But now,  I said, we were all past that.  And he smiled and said, 'thanks,' and left.  And we moved through our own processing steps.  And Lisa thanked us again for our patience and apologized for it all.

I know all the post office peoples' names here.  I never knew a single name of a post office employee in any of the many places I have lived previously.  If I keep at it, maybe I'll get to know the names of all the people in line at the post office too, and we can learn to work out our differences.  Small town.

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