The mail never stops. It just keeps coming and coming and coming, there's never a let-up. It's relentless. Every day it piles up more and more and more! And you gotta get it out, but the more you get it out the more it keeps coming in. And then the bar code reader breaks and it's Publisher's Clearing House day!
The lady in front of me, who from now on I will call Short Fake-Blonde Lady Wearing Black Leather Jacket One Size Too Small (or SFBLWBLJOSTS) would not stop talking to me. I would have learned a lot about her in those 20 minutes if I would've actually been listening to her instead of staring at her nose and other various parts of her body the whole time while I was nodding politely and wondering why she felt the need to be telling me, a perfect stranger, her whole life story. I know of people who enjoy these little *real life* encounters.
In Kurt Vonnegut's Man Without A Country, he writes about his encounters with real-life people that he seems to enjoy so much.
I go next to the postal convenience center down the block at the corner of 47th Street and Second Avenue. This is very close to the United Nations, so there are all these funny-looking people there from all over the world. I go in there and we are lined up again. I'm secretly in love with the woman behind the counter. She doesn't know it. My wife knows it. I am not about to do anything about it. She is so nice. All I have ever seen of her is from the waste up because she is always behind the counter. But every day she will do something with herself above her waist to cheer us up. Sometimes her hair will be all frizzy. Sometimes she will have ironed it flat. One day she was wearing black lipstick. This is all so exciting and so generous of her, just to cheer us all up, people from all over the world. So I wait in line, and I say, "Hey what was that language you were talking? Was it Urdu?" I have nice chats. Sometimes not. There is also, "If you don't like it here, why don't you go back to your little tinhorn dictatorship where you came from?" One time I had a pocket picked in there and got to meet a cop and tell him about it. Anyway, finally I get up to the head of the line. I don't reveal that I love her. I keep poker-faced. She might as well be looking at a cantaloupe, there is so little information in my face, but my heart is beating. And I give her the envelope, and she weighs it, because I want to put the right number of stamps on it, and have her okay it. If she says that's the right number of stamps and cancels it, that's it. They can't send it back to me.
Then I go outside and there is a mailbox. And I feed the pages to the giant blue bullfrog. And it says, "Ribbit."
And I go home. And I have had one hell of a good time.
I suddenly realized that I was standing there, looking directly at SFBLWBLJOSTS, with a fake smile on my face like Woody Allen playing Alvy in Annie Hall in that one part where the comic is interviewing him to be his joke writer.
Comic: "Place looks wonderful from here
And you folks look wonderful from here!
And seein' you there with a smile on your face
Makes me shout
This must be the place."
Alvy (thinking to himself): Look at him mincing around, like he thinks he's real cute. You wanna throw up. I don't know how much longer I can keep this smile frozen on my face.
As I awoke from my daydream SFBLWBLJOSTS is going on and on and I happen to think -- I might get hit by a Mac truck on my way home and this is the last conversation I may ever have, so I decide to pay attention and chime in.
"Yeah, I know what you mean. Low tire pressure is not good."
Luckily, the crankiest of all cranky postal workers is ready for SFBLWBLJOSTS. I watched as she went up to the window and thought to myself -- she should start her own blog. She has so much to say.
I felt guilty.
My turn! Yay! I got my favorite postal worker! The un-cranky one. A youngish guy, maybe in his early 30s. African-American. I think he might be gay -- not that there's anything wrong with that. He's got braces and always has his i-Pod hooked into his little stereo at his counter with his little itty bitty speakers. He'll be going through my mail and not wanting to listen to the song that comes on, he'll switch it really fast without missing a beat and go back to stamping my mail. I can totally relate to that. I am The Champion Channel Changer in the car. You gotta love the song that's on or life's just not worth living.
He looks at my pretty red tubes with my custom Blue Girl In a Red State mailing labels.
"Blue Girl In a Red State. Hmm. What's that? Is that your company?"
"Yes. But it's more than a company. It's an empire! Just kidding. It's my blog."
"Oh. I've read about blogs. I'm not a computer guy though. What do you sell?"
A minute goes by and he starts laughing.
"Why are you laughing? What's so funny?"
"I just got it."
He turns a tube my way so that I see my mailing label.
"Blue Girl In a Red State. I just got it."
I smiled at him.
He gets a really serious look on his face and leans forward, staring at me over his glasses.
"Are you sad?" He says with his poker-face.
"Yes. I'm very sad." I deadpan.
"These are sad times we're living in." he deadpans back.
"Yes. You are correct."
"Well, I'm a Blue Guy In a Red State. Can't say it loud though. I'm not supposed to talk about these things."
"I understand. The wiretapping and all. You never know. All Blue People are heartbroken now. I'm sorry I have so many tubes. Do you ever feel like the mail never stops? That it just keeps coming and coming and coming? That it all just piles up more and more and more and more??!!"
"Yeah," he laughed. "It never stops."
"It must be relentless!"
As he switched the song on his i-Pod, I paid my postage and Ribbit flashed through my mind. I thanked him and as I was leaving he yelled, "Smile Blue Girl! Have a good day!"
I waved to him as I pushed on the door to leave.
As I pulled out of the parking lot, I kept my eyes open for a Mac truck. Coast is clear!
And I went home. And I thought to myself, I have had one hell of a good time.