This morning I had a choice: Wait around the house an extra 40 minutes until my local post office opened, or go ahead with my plans to drive into Greensboro and hit the post office in a busy commercial shopping center before I set up camp at my favorite Panera. God help me, I chose Option B.
My first goof was thinking the Post Office opened at 8:30. Nope, its 9 AM. My second goof was arriving at the Post Office at ten till 9, instead of 3 AM, as that's apparently what time people started showing up, based on the already-formed line that greeted me when I arrived.
Too bad for me. I had a package that HAD to go out today. I took a deep breath, opened the door, and marched to my place at the back of the line...
... and had a BALL. The whole crowd was slap-happy from the holidays and people were cracking jokes, telling stories, and sharing photos of their kids and grandkids. The group of women I was with helped a man behind us put the finishing touches on some gift wrap for presents he was sending to his grandkids. People teased each other about "going postal" and rushing the door if they dared open at 9:01. (For the record, they didn't open until 9:03, but we all keep our cool.) One older gentleman came in to check his PO Box and joked, "Ha ha, suckers," as he left, setting off a gale of laughter.
When the doors finally opened and there was one worker to serve all of us, spirits stayed high. He asked a woman if she wanted to send her packages priority, which would be $5.20.
"No," she said. "Regular is fine."
"Well, that will be $5.15," said the teller. People burst out laughing and there were several calls of "I'll loan you the nickel," combined with "Don't pay extra! Go cheap!"
People were patting each other on the back and calling out "Merry Christmas!" and waving to the crowd as they left. It was like a mini-family formed briefly. What could have been a dreary morning wait (I was there 35 minutes) turned into a warm, memorable start to the day.
The moral? If you're looking for holiday cheer, try your local Post Office.