For exercise I walk in Great Kills Park when I can, or at the mall when the weather is lousy. Because I go at pretty much the same time every day, I usually run into the same people. Most will nod or smile 'Good Morning', but there are a few who won't even make eye contact. What is it in people that will not allow them to acknowledge a fellow human being in the slightest way? I know some people are shy, but I'll settle for even a small nod of the head. This evasion is not accidental; you can see them make a conscious effort to look away a few yards before your paths cross. Is my fly open? Do I have a piece of spinach in my teeth? I look on these people as challenges. I have turned some around, but others still elude my overtures. I will persevere.
Then there are the folks at the Post Office. Years ago, as you know if you ever entered a Post Office back then, postal workers were as surly as could be. They had perfected the art of each transaction lasting as long as humanly possible while they attended to everything else except helping you. Now that Post Office profits are plummeting due to email and package carriers like Fed Ex taking away their business, some top postal executive must have initiated one of these "customer friendly" training programs for all employees. Their people are much nicer now, but you can tell they are behaving civilly only under duress and for fear of losing their cushy jobs. Their smiles are pathologically fixed, and you know the words: "I'm on my break" are being forcibly suppressed in their tiny brains.
The gas station is a regular stop, usually in New Jersey where gas is around 50 cents a gallon cheaper than on Staten Island. For reasons unknown to me, New Jersey will not allow people to pump their own gas. Instead we have to sit in the car and wait for the 'cheery' attendant to come to us. This process could take a while since they were trained by the same folks who taught post office workers. You need to beware of what I call the delayed change syndrome or DCS. After waiting so long to get your tank filled, you'll notice that if you pay cash, your change is very slow in coming. If you have, for example, $13.00 in change owed you, they will first give you the three singles and then slowly reach into another pocket for the ten, hoping your impatience will cause you to speed away. Nice try boys.
And then there's the store where I buy lottery tickets. Even though I have nowhere to go and nothing better to do, I despise waiting in lines. That goes double when the wait is lengthened by pinheads who have no clue that there are people waiting in line behind them. They arrive at the counter to buy their tickets with no forethought as to what they want! They will stand there musing, and this is what I'll hear: "Mmmm, I have no luck with Take Five, how about Cashword? Is that a good game? OK, give me one of those. How much is Megamillions this week? Really, $200 million. OK, a quick pick on that. And I'll take a Pick Four; maybe I'll play my birthday. Give me 1122 Tony, that's the day I was born. (And this is the day you're gonna die if you don't move your fat ass!)
I know, my week sounds dull and unexciting, but I like it that way. As I get older, like most retirees, I suffer with a condition known as CRS. I find routine to be my friend because it can help me remember S. Oops, 2:50 pm...time to go collect the mail. See ya.
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