Standing In Line

I am not a good stand-in-line person. Or at least I didn’t used to be. But as I get older, I’ve realized that becoming impatient – which leads to becoming cranky – which leads to all sorts of stress-related cellular changes in my body – doesn’t make the line go faster.

Just because I’m tapping my foot and my heart is thumping harder to keep up with my frustration does not mean that the person at the counter can go any faster, nor can the people in front of me do anything about moving ahead faster.

Today I had an occasion to visit the La Conner Post Office. And I had any other choice, I would have visited the drive-by box. No standing in line for me. Nope. Drive by, sling my letter in the box, and off I go.

But today I had a box to mail. I needed to buy the box and pack my package up.

I’ve been inside the Post Office lots of times – and waited in line like everyone else. But I would find my impatience growing with each and every person in front of me. WHY are they taking so LONG? Why must they stand there at the counter and visit instead of hurrying-up and moving along?

This trip, I decided to go to the Post Office with a new attitude. I decided – now that I’m working hard to be a Townie – that I should act like a Townie. Clearly, however, I needed lessons.

You see, people who live in La Conner, and have need to visit the Post Office, don’t worry about the line. They don’t seem to get at all frustrated. Their Post Office Time-Clock is set to ‘chill-out’ time. And … and this was a revelation for me … instead of tapping their foot and glowering at the others in line, they visit with each other.

Did you know that when you visit with people while standing in line, the line goes faster? Well, maybe not really, but it sure seems like it. Not only that, but the people standing in line are actually very nice people! They are happy to say ‘Hello’, they are happy to ask you if you’re enjoying your day and their smiles are honest and sincere.

I learned something else. The people who work at the La Conner Post Office are genuinely nice people as well. And helpful! They don’t grumble if you ask a question or aren’t prepared when it’s your turn. They’ll get you what you need, have you stand aside while you address something, then let you get BACK in line at the front versus banishing you to the end of the line again.

This is what I saw today, that totally changed my Post Office Attitude. A young woman was sending something in the mail to be delivered locally, but forgot to bring the address. Someone in line said he knew what the address was and proceeded to help her out. She didn’t have to go back home to get it – then come back and start all over again.

NEVER ONCE DID THAT HAPPEN TO ME AT MY NEIGHBORHOOD SEATTLE POST OFFICE. NOT ONCE. You aren’t prepared? You miss you turn. Go to the end of the line, Sister.

So here’s what I think. I would like to propose that we take our La Conner Chill-Out-In-The-Post-Office-Line-Attitude and bottle it. Then we sell it out of little carts. To people who are just getting ready to step into the airport security line.

Forget your trip to some other location. Move to La Conner and learn the true meaning of standing in line.

From really nice people.

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