I lost my Zen today. Now, I don't really know a thing about Zen, but I use it to refer to the state of peace I can get myself into while waiting in line or when caught in heavy traffic. I decided at one point several years ago that it really didn't make a difference if I was a little late or if it took a little longer to check out at the supermarket.
That change in mental attitude has made me a much happier, much more relaxed person.
Mostly it works.
Sometimes it doesn't.
Today it didn't.
If there is any place in Davis which is likely to get me to lose my Zen, it's not the DMV (which I know does a lot of people in), it's the post office.
We have this lovely post office
And usually, I don't have a complaint. The clerks are nice and efficient, but sometimes the office policy makes me want to...well...go postal. Today I was so upset I didn't even take pictures. (How's that!)
When I got there it was a zoo. It was wall to wall people. There were two lines forming, one for passports, a group that appeared to be a very large extended family, including Grandma in a wheelchair and two toddlers lying on the floor playing video games and blocking everybody's way.
On the other side of this very small space was a line that stretched out into the lobby. We were the people who needed to see clerks. The passport guy usually takes care of people who don't need to pay for postage but who are, for example, picking up vacation mail or dropping off vacation holds or something like that. But passport guy was going to be involved with the passport people for a very long time, so that made the clerk people line even longer.
In between the long lines, wending his way around the toddlers, was a kid asking questions. Now this is the most useless job in the post office. Some clerk (who could be more efficiently used in actually manning a station) takes a clipboard and asks you all the questions. You can have one very thin envelope in your hand and you have to answer whether or not you have anything liquid or hazardous like batteries in the envelope. There are four categories to click off, starting with what's in your pouch, if you need stamps or any other thing to purchase, if you want additional proof of delivery, and if you want to rent a box. This would be fine (if annoying) if it actually helps the clerk. But when you finally get to the window, you hand this carefully filled out form to the clerk...and she asks you the SAME questions all over again. I can only assume that this is busy work for a clerk.
And today the young guy doing it was a new face to me and, I assume new to the post office since he had to keep interrupting the working clerks to ask them questions.
There are, I believe, 7 or 8 stations and there were 3 clerks working. One, a very nice lady whose first language is Spanish was dealing with what I assume was a very nice couple whose first language was Japanese. The transaction was going on when I got there and still going on when I left a long time later. So that essentially left her out as a potential clerk.
Another clerk was in the middle of a very long and complicated transaction with the guy in front of me, while the third clerk was chatting pleasantly with another guy. The guy in front of me was finishing up and I expected to be next, but as soon as he left, the clerk put up a "next window" sign and left. This left only TWO clerks working, one of whom was still dealing with the Spanish-Japanese transaction.
By this time the line was even longer. I tried to make my transaction quick, but first I had to answer all the questions that were on the slip of paper I had just handed her, to make things go more quickly and more smoothly.
My own transaction took only a couple of minutes and then I was back in the car, flashing a sympathetic look at the people at the back of the line. (My clerk had just announced she was going to lunch, so now there was ONE clerk for all those people)