Down at the Post Office, May 23, 2022
Today was another hot sunny day here in Healdsburg. I had four packages to take to the Post Office so drove down there at 1:45 PM. It is usually slow there on a sunny afternoon.
I parked my Jeep in front of the post office next to a huge black Toyota Tundra pickup truck. Its engine was running and putting off a lot of heat on a hot day.
Walking into the lobby I saw all women there. The two counter clerks, and the five customers were all females. Two women were at the counter finishing their mailing business. Two women are in line ahead of me. And one young woman at the customer counter in the center of the lobby. She was putting together a priority mail box for shipping. She had a tiny 3 or 4 week old baby next to her in a stroller.
“Great!” I said to myself. “Only two customers in front of me and nobody getting passports at the counter or old people who tend to talk and gab with the clerk for minutes on end.
Clerk A finishes with her customer and the white blond-haired woman in her thirties wearing jeans and a white blouse goes up to the counter. We’ll call her “Jane”.
Jane: I have this letter pre-stamped. I just need it registered.
Clerk A; No problem.
Within a minute business is transacted, but then….l
Jane: I have a question. My son is 19 and his passport will expire soon. I need the forms to renew it.
“Oh no!” I say to myself, “Not a passport customer!”
Clerk A: When did your son get his passport?
Jane: When he was 15.
Clerk A: Well, he will have to fill out a brand new passport form because he is over 18, but this will be the last time.
What the hell? Why does the kid have to fill out a new form? Did he change his face, sex, name? Fecking government rules.
Clerk A; Oh, and is his father in the picture?
Jane: Well, kind of. He’s in Florida.
Clerk A: That could be a problem.
Meanwhile, Clerk B has finished with her customer and the skinny short brunette woman in her twenties goes up to her counter. She hands a package to the clerk.
Clerk B: Oh, this is prepaid. It can just go on the mail going out counter here.
Skinny Girl: Oh, okay, but I have a question..
“Oh, no!” I say to myself, “Not again!”
Skinny Girl: Could you see if my package is in the back? I have the tracking number here on my phone.
Skinny Girl plays with her smartphone and shows Clerk B the tracking number. Clerk B goes in the back and finds the package.
While all this is going on, the woman with the baby has finished her package and is now in line behind me (I am now at the front of the line.)
A woman walks into the lobby. She is about 42 years old, has dark long hair, wearing a print dress and gold and purple sandals with big bows on them. She is carrying a pink shopping bag full of packages and clothing. She goes up to the now empty customer counter and starts laying out her things and packaging them up. She is wearing a black mask.
The woman is sighing and complaining to herself.
“Why don’t you package all that shit at home!” I say to myself under my breath.
Skinny Girl is finished and I go up to Clerk B’s counter and start mailing my four packages. The clerk is very nice. She is from American Canyon, an hour’s drive away near Napa and Vallejo. We have a nice conversation. The clerk is very efficient.
I can overhear next to me;
Jane: Oh, and I need my passport renewed, too. It expired during Covid.
Clerk A: That shouldn’t be a problem.
Jane: I have my son’s old passport and identification.
Clerk A: Let me call the State Department to find out what you need.
“Oh, shit.” I think to myself, “I’m sure this call to the State Department will work out well, not.”
Clerk A: “No one answers. Let me try again.”
I’m done and leave the lobby. Now the customer line is 15 people long and out the front door.
I go to my Jeep. The big black Toyota Tundra is still next to my Grand Wagoneer with its engine running.
I’ve been in the post office for 20 minutes and am very happy to drive away.