I arrived at the tiny West Village post office shortly after 11am. The end of the line spilled out into the tiny lobby. I’d seen it worse — much worse — as it will no doubt be tomorrow, when I ship more of my inexcusably belated holiday gifts.
I dutifully took my place and whipped out my trusty iphone to read some emails, and corresponded via text a few times with My Amazing Lover™.
As usual for this time of year, the line was excruciatingly slow. Customers hauled in stacks of packages, filled out multiple forms, calculated international postage, picked out holiday stamps and inquired into endless, inscrutable and byzantine options for delivering objects d’ holiday cheer to places other than Hudson Street in the West Village.
I was finally about third in line when a d00d waving a form in his hand cut the line. He sauntered up to the counter and interrupted a transaction to request from the clerk — let’s call her Beatrice — “the shorter version” of the form he held in his hand.
Imagine, if you will, the following scene taking place against the soundtrack of an inconsolable, wailing toddler.
BEATRICE: It’s over there with the other forms, sir.
D00d: No, it’s not!
BEATRICE: Yes it is sir. You’re looking in the wrong place.
D00d: Well, you should put all the forms where people can find them easily!
BEATRICE: If you need assistance you’ll have to wait in line.
D00d: FOR A FORM?!
BEATRICE: For assistance.
D00d [reaches over Beatrice’s counter and grabs a form]: See this? This is what I needed and I shouldn’t have to wait in line for it! [D00d heads toward the back of the line then pauses.]
BEATRICE: How ’bout if you need something, sir, you wait in line like everybody else?
D00d: Unbelievable! You know what? You people need to work a lot faster! See all these people in line here? They’re all trying to get back to WORK!
D00d [gets right up in her face]: You need to work faster!
BEATRICE [smiling and singing to the tune of Happy Birthday]: Merry Christmas to you, Merry Christmas to you, Merry Christmas to you, Merry Christmas to you…
PEOPLE IN THE LINE: [Laughter.]
D00d [storming toward the door again]: Well folks, government workers have hit a new low! [turns around and walks back toward Beatrice.]
D00d: Guess what? See this? I recorded you on video, singing Merry Christmas! You’re going to be on Fox News tonight!
BEATRICE: Oh, great! I’ve always wanted to be on TV!
D00d: And it’s going to run unedited! [storms toward the door again.]
IRIS: Fox News isn’t news! [starts video recording of the D00d.]
PEOPLE IN THE LINE: [Laughter.]
[D00d goes to the back of the line and loudly appears to engage in a conversation with a Fox News producer about his major video scoop of Beatrice singing Merry Christmas.]
D00d [storming back up in front of the counter]: Who is the postmaster here?
BEATRICE: Somebody give this man a hug. He really needs a hug.
ANOTHER CLERK: What, sir?
D00d: You people don’t even know what a postmaster is?! Incredible! Okay, who’s the manager on duty! I want to speak to the manager!
BEATRICE: You have a blessed day, sir, and very happy holidays to you.
ANOTHER CLERK: The manager is at the Varrick Street post office.
BEATRICE: Everybody in the line? Give this man hugs. He needs LOTS of hugs.
PERSON IN THE LINE: I think he needs more than that.
D00d: That’s all I needed to know! I’m going to Varrick Street! [storms out.]
[It should be noted that during this entire altercation Beatrice never ceased processing her customer’s mail. My turn came, and Beatrice was open.]
IRIS: Wow, you’re going to be a TV star and an internet sensation!
BEATRICE: I know. I just wish I had warmed up my voice a little. And fixed my hair.
IRIS: You sounded great. And your hair looks fine.
BEATRICE: You know, that guy’s going to get in trouble for recording video inside a post office.
IRIS: Really? Shit. Because I recorded him.
BEATRICE: You can’t film in a post office. But don’t worry about it.
IRIS: Why not?
BEATRICE: He’s going to turn himself in, as soon as he uploads the video.
IRIS: That’s brilliant. And you won’t even have to lift a finger.
IRIS: See you tomorrow.
BEATRICE: I’m off tomorrow.
IRIS: Well I’m probably going to be back here Thursday, too. I can’t wait to see the show!
BEATRICE: My next show’s today at 2:30, folks!
The tickets are free, but you’ll have to wait in line.