Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I ruined the postwoman's day

I came down to sign for my USPS package in the lobby of my condo, and was squinting in amazement at the large heavy box which I'd had shipped via "ground" from China, marveling that it had arrived in half the estimated 3 months -- no, marveling it had arrived at all. I was pre-occupied with my thoughts on the package, the swirl of memories brought on by the distinctive "China post" stamp, memories of the hour I spent mailing this big box on the day I call "escape from Beijing", April 23, 2008. Still, I noticed some awkwardness in the handoff of pen and signed slip to the postwoman, a tall big-boned woman with a curly, neck-length blond hair, ruddy face, wearing those postoffice uniform shorts on this 90+ scorching day.

Exiting, she had to navigate the door propped ajar by trash-can and commented, "There is something wrong with your door."

I had battled the door yesterday and knew about it.

"Thank you," I mumbled.

Sharply, she said, "What?"

Still gazing at my package, I repeated, "Thank you."

"No, you said something before that, what did you say?"

"I just said thank you."

Her face was a snarl of anger and resentment at me.

The glass door closed between us.

I stared through the glass at her, dumbfounded, unable to move.

She stood watching me, her face glowering, eyes narrowed. She then stalked off to her van, tossing back angry glances. Was she thinking: "You can deny it, but I heard you, you bitch." Or was she scrutinizing me through the glass door, trying to figure out what kind of person was I, what reason did I have, that I would say *that* to her?

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