This morning at the USPS *United States Postal Service AKA the place where people actually go postal and I’m in a constant state of hoping to not be shot* Olivia had her first public outburst. I have to hand it to her, she gave us quite the performance. She was highly agitated, impatient and unable to breathe. Although I can’t blame her because I couldn’t breathe either due to the nice gentleman *either in front of us or behind us, or both, I honestly couldn’t tell which direction the stench came from* who reeked of an unpleasant smell. He seemed to think it was perfectly logical to douse himself in cheap
cologne musky odor in lieu of bathing. We were directly hit with the aroma of what I imagine a food bazaar on the hottest day in Ethiopia would smell like while ineffectively masking the pungent smell of BO. I can understand why Liv lost it. I had tears in my eyes and was unsuccessful in holding my breath for the excruciating 13 minutes we stood in line. Normally, Olivia is a happy, patient and quiet line waiter. She politely smiles and holds my hand like a pro while we wait in line *because there’s ALWAYS a line* We go to the post office an average of 2 times a week *thanks to our thriving Etsy business* so we are practically regulars. I have observed the other folks at the post office and I noticed there are 3 distinct types of customers who frequent the USPS. There’s the normal people like myself who are patient, courteous and rare. I have my package clearly labeled, cash or debit card in my hand and I do not engage in chit chat** I call us the In & Outs, no tomfoolery here, we handle our business and get out as quickly as possible. Then there’s the Hot Messes. Sigh! They are often completely unaware they are a mess because that is the first sign of a mess, no self awareness *ahem, Lindsay Lohan is their leader* to how obnoxious their unpreparedness is to us In & Outs. The hot mess will be on their phone loudly, constantly dropping things, simultaneously asking others around them for a pen, tape, or what time the post office closes *because they have no idea how to procure information using their own resources* and when they do get to the front of the line, they have to ask the clerk a variety of silly questions while they fill out their package info haphazardly. They often have several children running wild among the line, so occasionally, they’ll look up from their phone and scream at the kids to “Knock it Off!” *when in my mind I want to yell the same to the hot mess* All the while they are rudely voicing a barrage of complaints to people in their vicinity. I have seen hot messes get parking tickets while waiting in line and actually say, “I was only parked in the handicap spot for a minute!” *as if this somehow makes the parking enforcement conspirators to the hot mess population* They also do something that drives me mental…they leave huge gaps in the line *because they are idiots who don’t pay attention* so I end up standing right in the doorway awkwardly playing doorman to others and squeezing by to let others pass. I have a theory that these hot messes are the same folks who try to merge at the last second on the freeway thus blocking an entire line of 20 cars trying to exit. The hot mess never is apologetic, or even acknowledges their deliberate jerkness so I quietly roll my eyes and mouth “Thank you” to Liv for being so pleasant. *Little did I know she was mentally taking notes all the while so she could mimic these wild, unsupervised heathens* Lastly there is the one you not only find at the post office, they stalk the bank, the supermarket, mostly anywhere a line is formed….The Chit Chatters. They actually bother me most because I can find a small form of entertainment by watching the hot mess have their breakdown but the chit chatters appear normal until they demand you make conversation with them which always catches me off guard. I consider myself to be a nice, friendly person. I am outgoing and I love to meet new people BUT not while waiting in line to transact business. I go into my In & Out mean mode and I do not make eye contact, smile or talk to strangers. For the past 31 years I was able to stay in my In & Out comfort zone by pretending I don’t speak English but the second I became pregnant I was poached by every chit chatter out there. The best one was an elderly man asking when my twins were due in my 9th month of preggercy, I just stood there with my jaw on the floor. These strangers make their mission to become your friend while secretly insulting you for the duration of the line BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!! They may start with an opening joke about how slow the line is moving, hoping for a bite. *Do not engage, they will hook you in* just look away!
They will begin to ask you questions a therapist would feel uncomfortable asking. They will tell you about their family members in a manner that would lead you to believe you did ask how her sister Mary’s recent foot surgery went. These folks have not a clue you are not interested in chatting politely no matter what diversions you may create. Oh is that my cell ringing? My baby needs a diaper change, I just lost my hearing *points to ears, smiles and shugs* They are relentless and often elderly so they have all the time in the world to chat *as any customer service person can attest*. Now that I have a small person with me at all times, the conversation typically goes as follows;
“Aren’t you the cutest wittle thing ever?” says a random woman in line with a creepy baby-talk voice
“…..” stares Liv
“Say thank you” Liz says after persistant cray cray looks from stranger
“You want to come home with me?” stranger insists
“…..” Liv looks at me, frightened
“ha, ha no?” Liz turns around and tries to looks distracted but fails as the hot mess in front of us has just spilled the entire contents of her purse
“Who is the crazy lady talking to me? HAHAH!” says stranger while trying to grab Olivia’s hand
“hee, hee, help” Liz nervously shifts Olivia to her furthest hip away from crazy self-admitted child abductor stranger
“So when are you going to have another baby?” the complete stranger asks, almost in the same breath as the last sentence while still trying to grab my child’s arm
“Oh, she’s an only child” gasps Liz realizing she has made a fatal mistake
“OH NO! you must have 5 more, you’re young and healthy, this one wants lots of brothers and sisters to play with or she’ll be lonely!” proclaims this woman who appears to be childless and most likely sleeps with her entire beanie baby collection.
“Oh look, I’m next…nice chatting with you” relieved Liz says pushing past the hot mess who is trying to rip tape with her teeth
“You better give that adorable baby a sibling!” loudly demands woman-who-knows-best while telling the clerk how she grew up during the depression in a one bedroom house with 9 brothers and sisters
**The funny thing is, as much as I detest chit chatting in line, I often desire to chit chat with the clerks. I have been going to the same post office for the last 6 years and I have never reached any level of conversation other than how are you today? and declining the tracking or insurance on my package. It must be a combination of being a proud In & Out-ter and my poor chit chatting skills. Antz very rarely goes to the post office but when he does he already knows the clerks by name and has had entire conversations about new businesses opening in our neighborhood. I’m totally jealous! There’s usually a ratio of In & Outs to Hot Messes to Chit Chatters of 3:7:12 *this is an approximation*
Let me conclude my rant with jaywalkers. Due to my lovely Mother-in-law living on the other side of town, I find myself driving through downtown Los Angeles about 8 times a week. D-town LA used to be a scary place filled with dilapidated buildings and the majority of the homeless population setting up camp in an area loving called Skid Row. Somehow in this economy, downtown is flourishing with lofts being renovated everywhere, new trendy restaurants and the streets now filled with hipsters walking their dogs at midnight *why do the people who live in the least grassy area in all of Los Angeles have the most dogs?* Needless to say, D-town has become safer but now has become rampant with jaywalkers. I drive down a large 6 lane one way street for most of my journey and I feel like I’m in a live version of the Simpsons Hit & Run video game. I am constantly hitting my brakes or swerving out of the way of a person walking in the middle of a green light or in the middle of the street. The funny thing is, as I almost crash into a pole to avoid these menaces, I see hundreds of cop cars driving besides me that do absolutely nothing. I understand, the police in LA have better things to do then write jaywalking tickets but my niece Evelyn got ticket for running a stop sign while riding her bike!! Unbelievable, Evelyn was riding on the sidewalk and still got a $300 ticket for not stopping at a stop sign in a residential neighborhood at 8:30 in the morning with no one in sight. Can you imagine riding your bike and having to stop at every stop sign? Yet I have witnessed a homeless guy beat the hood of a car in front of mine while spitting at the driver in the middle of the street while the light was green for 10 minutes. The injustice enrages me. I, by no means have road rage *whenever I drive Aimee and Antz always yell at me for not honking bad drivers* but it’s my belief that my car’s horn is too soft to sound intimidating. I also harness all my rage in my silent judging of the hot messes I watch at the post office so I’m totally zen when I drive but jaywalking…I go nuts! What makes the homeless population think that their best form of rebellion *to THE MAN* is to disobey traffic laws? They are the slowest walkers and they tend to have 3 shopping carts full of God knows what *just broke every PC law there, didn’t I?* or is dragging some poor dog tied with an extension cord. *Am I the only one who thinks if you are homeless, it may be a poor choice to own a pet?* Oh well, the irony is the city where Antz works is notorious for cops writing jaywalking tickets. Luckily he’s never gotten one but he hardly ever jaywalks either. I’m forced to jaywalk whenever I visit Aimee in Venice but I never ever do it when a car is in sight and I have never made a car have to stop so I can cross the street, I find that so rude.
I had one of those days where I hate all people so I feel it necessary to share with you lovelies. Any pet peeves you wanna get off your chest? Comment below. I need a good laugh.
Your Queen of Contradictions