Fifteen years ago I was working in a different post-office in a different town. I worked with a girl I'll call SE. Now, SE was a very nice lady, a real people-person who enjoyed talking to the customers. Back at this time, she did not yet have a route of her own, but was in a position that required her to bounce around the office, covering for people who were out sick, or on vacation. A different route every week, sometimes a different one every day. So there were times when, people-person that she was, she'd be on a route where she didn't know any of the customers. She would still engage them in conversation though; she just couldn't help herself.
The morning I am thinking of, she was on one of those routes she was unfamiliar with. In the office, the bench that was for this route was stationed at the end of the row, towards the rear of the building. It was pretty early in the morning, and SE was still in the office sorting her mail for the day. A customer came to the back door to collect some mail she had on Hold, the woman just having come back from a vacation. There was package involved, and one of the clerks went to the Extra Storage rack to get the package while SE got the rest of the woman's mail together. Being so close to the back door, and being such a people-person, SE called the woman over to her bench to wait for the package, so they could talk.
I had heard about this kind of thing. We all have. But I was only about 12 feet away when they started talking, and I got to see it!
SE, all friendly bustle and energy, put on a 1,000,000 kilowatt smile and asked the customer "So ... when are you due?"
The customer just stared at her for a second, then smiled right back, almost as big, and said in a wonderfully clear voice, "I'm not pregnant. I'm just fat."
In the silence that followed, a pin would have been deafening. SE's big time smile did a slow fade, like a reverse Cheshire Cat. The smile melted away to nothing, leaving SE looking uncomfortable and avoiding eye-contact. The customer, for her part, kept that big, bright, sunny grin pasted on her own face and just stared at SE until her package arrived.
It took a while.
Eventually the parcel got there, and the customer turned and walked out the back door. SE watched her go, shoulders slumped, until the woman was out of sight. Then she turned back to her bench -
- to a round of applause from the dozen or so carriers who had silently witnessed the whole thing. SE blushed furiously and faced her bench, effectively turning her back on all of us.
Later on she told me just how un-funny she found the situation. I told her that it kind of depended on your perspective, because from the outside, we all found it hysterical!
Hell, I'm smiling about it now.
Have a great day, and if you haven't checked out the poll in the upper right corner of the blog, please give it a look-see. I lack direction.
Talk to you later!