Wednesday, August 02, 2006

How About Original Recipe?

I have been going to the same little neighborhood post office for about six years now. It's a very 60s brick building with an asymmetrical roof; the sort of building that Mike Brady may have designed in his architecture business. I started going there before Becoming-A-Librarian-Girl was even conceived in my mind. Well, maybe it was conceived, but it was definitely a zygote back then. And now, in the weird way that things sometimes work out, this post office is right down the street from where I work, and less than a mile from where I now live. I love my post office, and I can't really tell you why. I think I would miss it if I started going to another one. Is it strange to expend emotion on one's post office? Perhaps. But maybe after hearing this, you might understand the love a little better.

A few years ago, Jenny and I stopped off at this post office for some official postal business. As is usual at this place, there was a long line. We waited patiently and the people working behind the counter worked as fast and efficiently as they could, keeping things cheerful despite the blue vests that they all had to wear, which only needed sleeves and a hat to complete the Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery look. We finally got to the front of the line, with only one lady ahead of us, who was being helped by a kind-looking McFeely vester. This is what we witnessed.

Her: I would like a book of stamps please.
Him: (handing her the sample sheet) What style would you like?
Her: Just whatever, it doesn't matter.
Him: That will be $6.50 (or whatever the amount was back in the day).
Her: (handing over a twenty) There you go. I have been wanting to get rid of that twenty. It's so wrinkled. I got it out of the ATM and usually the money from there is more...crispy.
Him: Here's your change back.
Her: Oh. Could you find me a crispier five? That one is kind of wrinkled.
Him: (getting another five) How about that?
Her: Umm. Well, it's still not...crispy.
Him: (looking through his cash register) I'm sorry, I don't think that I have any new fives.
Her: It doesn't have to be new. I'm just looking for crispy.
Him: (fanning out the fives he has, ever so kindly) Are any of these, um, crispy enough?
Her: (forlornly) No. That's ok. Never mind.

And she goes on her merry way. Jenny and I have watched the entire exchange, wanting to laugh, but not making eye contact with each other so that we can both pretend that we have not noticed this, not heard one word of this conversation. We go up to the counter with blank faces.

Me: I just need to mail this, please.
Him: That'll be $3.50.
Me: (handing him the money)
Him: (sliding the money back to me) I'm sorry, this five isn't...crispy enough.
Me: Excuse me?
Him: It's not crispy enough.
Me: Sorry. It's the only one I have.
Him: (forlornly) Oh. O.K. Never mind.

Every time I go to this post office, I see this postal worker. In my mind, I call him Crispy Fives. In my book, he rocks. (And I do have a book).

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl


Darlene said...

Well, that was an absolutely great story...Nice to know Mr. McFeely had a sense of humor... Amazing how our OCD tendencies slip out into our everyday lives, huh? I wonder if the Wrinkly Five Lady every got her crispy bills... It makes my inner craziness seem bearable...

Melinda said...

Dude. A funny postal worker? Where do you live - Mars?

Anonymous said...

I'd love to watch Wrinkly Five Lady select potato chips at the grocery store...or shall I say potato crisps?!!

Katie Kiekhaefer said...

You love your post office!? I love MY post office!! Let's be best friends! Seriously though, I love my hometown library and I havne't found one to replace it yet.