Proving the recent New York Times article true (yes, Manhattan post offices are a million times less soul-crushing than Brooklyn ones), while my December 22 wait at the Whitehall post office was over 30 minutes to mail one package, the staff wasn’t incompetent or rude. I will do whatever it takes to avoid the post office in Brooklyn (which isn’t hard considering Carroll Gardens doesn’t have one—you have to haul your ass to non-subway-accessible Red Hook that shares the lovely 11231 zip code).
My cashier was chatty, had a candy dish and surprised me by looking at my return address and instantly deducing, “You live across the street from the school.” Uh, yes, yes, I do. I complain about it all the time. It turns out her kids go there. Let’s just hope they’re not the middle school charmers who threatened to shoot James when he uncharacteristically confronted a group of kids over the broken bench in our yard. (We’re just renters and I was surprised that he lost his shit so explosively. We're both the passive, seething types, rarely spurred into action. Not that it’s not annoying to have constant screaming and garbage thrown all over the place. We recently looked at a few condos and one was right near a public school. No, not ever, not for a million dollars not for any price.)
So, I was surprised by the friendliness of the postal office worker. It happens. Yet, I’ve never had such a change of heart concerning children. In fact they never cease to surprise me with new levels of awfulness. Last week I went to James’ annual holiday party. In addition to free drinks (the economy has definitely taken its toll, each year the food gets progressively sadder. This year was a ski chalet theme and I was excited about the fondue until I realized the only items for dipping were olives. Olives?!) my favorite aspect is the photo booth, a regular feature for at least the past three years. I think it’s the one time a year that we take a photo together. Color and sepia. Wild.
This year the booth was being commandeered by children because it was positioned near their activity tables (my company party only allows one guest, no kids, while James’ provides lots of family-oriented entertainment). By 10pm I figured they would be tired out, but no. While waiting for a group of youngsters to have their turn a little midget of a child, no taller than two feet, no older than four, walked right up to the front, made direct eye contact with me and stated, “I’m gonna go in front of you.” And she did.
Whoa. Hold on there. How did all that sass and confidence fit in such a small package? But I couldn’t really say anything because there is no way to have words with a preschooler that’s not your child without looking like a dick.
People get stabbed and killed over that line-cutting shit. It's never too young to instill the fear of shanking in children, I say.
Oh, and here's to a happy 2010!