Advent at the Post Office

I don’t like my Post Office. I don’t. I don’t think the people at my particular branch are very friendly or nice, so even though there’s more parking at my branch, that’s not the Post Office that I go to. I go to a smaller branch with considerably less parking where the people are much friendlier.

As a consequence of the lack of parking (and now there’s even less, because they seem to be doing some construction, so there’s a temporary storage unit in one of the precious parking spots), when you pull into the drive at this time of year, you have to wait your turn for a parking spot. So I did that. I pulled in at the entrance side, and I waited my turn until enough people had left, and then I parked and went in to the Post Office.

Now, I do actually have to go to the Post Office every year around this time, because my favorite cousin lives in Hong Kong. Hello Favorite Cousin! (I know that FC read my blog at least once, because I did see that someone from Hong Kong had read it, so I hope he reads this one). Anyway, the postage rate keeps changing, so every year I do have to go to the Post Office to mail his Christmas card, because I just don’t know how much the postage will be. And then there’s the matter of the Christmas stamps.

Of course, it is entirely possible to send Christmas cards without Christmas stamps on them, but since last year (I think it was last year, anyway) when the Post Office decided that Christmas stamps could be forever stamps, too, I try to stock up so that I have them around. I didn’t have enough left over from last year, so as long as I was mailing FC’s card, I figured I’d pick up some Christmas stamps, and some Chanukah stamps for next year.

This is a busy time for the Post Office. A very busy time. Like April 15th busy, only for a longer time. So there was a long line, and it was nearly closing, so we all had to get cozy inside the inner doors while the Post Office guy locked the doors and then let people out one-at-a-time. So there we all were, bundled up in winter clothes, with packages and such, and waiting on a long line.

Now, you might think that people would be in a cranky mood standing in a long line holding lots of packages and wearing heavy coats and all. But this was not the case. The young woman in front of me was trying to figure out what boxes to send her packages in. The Post Office guy suggested some boxes and then got her a roll of tape. She was having a little trouble with the tape and getting things working, so the guy in front of her helped her get the tape on the box. She needed some scissors, and another lady further up the line loaned some scissors to her.

I was talking to the woman behind me about growing up in New York City. We were talking and laughing. And waiting. We waited patiently.

This is how we should always wait. The Post Office employees were doing their best to serve everyone as quickly and efficiently as possible. By the time I got up to the counter, the person had a smile. It was the end of the day, and she still had a smile.

She put a nice Christmas wreath stamp on my card for Hong Kong. It cost 20 cents extra this year because the card has extra bits in it that will make it unable to go through a machine. Alas. So Favorite Cousin, I hope you appreciate it. I was clearly a big spender this year.

I wonder why we can’t make this pleasant behavior last all the time? Is it because people are just filled with the Christmas spirit? Is it really that hard to be pleasant all the time?  Well, yes, I suppose it is. I mean, moods are a bit contagious, so it really only takes one person. But that’s the thing – it really only takes one person.

What if we took this infectious good-naturedlyness and brought it to the rest of the year? What if, the next time we found ourselves on really long lines when we didn’t expect it, we just started chatting and helping each other? Or singing? I like singing. Singing is good.

We are almost to the middle of Advent, and the Post Office is a place of expectation. Things are coming and going. Let’s keep that neighborliness going around and around.

That’s it – that’s my mite.

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