For the most part, I'm a fairly laid-back guy who's pretty easy to get along with, as long as you understand the basics of life:
1. Know your role.
2. Stay in your lane.
3. Show your work.
4. Do your job.
Sometimes, as Mary Chapin Carpenter said, that's too much to hope for, but not too much to ask.
Unless you work for the U.S. Postal Service in the Niles branch and your name is Jamie. With an E (remember that, because it matters). Jamie apparently doesn't know her role as a public servant. She couldn't show her work because she wouldn't do her job. But she damn sure stayed in her lane of abject apathy you find in almost all long-time union-protected governmental employees. In fact, it's what some of them are known for.
Here's the situation: Allie and I are getting our passports for a cruise in 2018. We filled out the application online, printed it out, got our photos taken, had our birth certificates and copies of our ID as required by the easy-to-follow instructions on the Department of State's very informative website.
All we needed to do was have an official from the U.S. Postal Service check the documents out, fill in a couple of info boxes, verify we are who we are, that the photo presented are actually photos of us, have us affirm we are U.S. Citizens and watch as we sign in the box swearing as much, take $270 ($110 each for the passport that goes to the federal government, $25 each for processing that is the local fee) and ship our paperwork off to be molded by more long-time union-protected governmental employees.
"We only do this by appointment," she said, after calling a ginger guy over to help the ONLY OTHER PERSON in the post office at 11:05 on a Saturday morning, "and we don't take appointments after 10:45 because it takes 30 minutes per person." I explained that we had everything the law stated we needed to have. Everything, that is, except a willing postal employee to process the documents for us.
She continued, "We only do this by appointment. I have an appointment today after hours for two people because they take so long." Immediately, my brain is like "Since when does ANYONE who works at an actual Post Office (not letter carriers), especially Niles, do ANYTHING for ANYONE after regular business hours? Shit. You walk up at 12:00:02 on a Saturday and the door is locked."
"There's no where on the official State Department's passport page listing you as an official passport application acceptance office that says you only take appointments, or we would have made an appointment. We waited to come here on Saturday so we could do this together," I explained nicely to her. "It's not like I'm holding up a line or anything. It's 11:10, you don't have another appointment until AFTER you close, so you have time."
"No. You have to make an appointment," she said, flatly refusing to listen to my reasoning. Yep, She was staying firmly in her lane as a long-time union-protected governmental employee. Having worked for the State of Ohio, I know the pose, the posture and that she wasn't going to process our paperwork on this chilly, but sunny Saturday morning.
It was 11:12. That's when I was done. Done with her, done with her less-than-helpful attitude and decided to let her know, albeit without the destruction of governmental property, because that's how you get arrested at a post office.
So I looked at her, picked up our envelope of stuff and said, "Ya know what? FUCK YOU. Every single time I come into this postal facility it is nothing but a gigantic pain in the ass, and it's always you. Is it too much to ask for you to do your fucking job? APPARENTLY.!" and turned to walk out. The ginger kid waiting on the only other customer was laughing in that "don't wanna get caught laughing at this bitch getting told off" laugh.
We leave. I get in the car and fire up the Google machine to look up where else you can get passport applications processed on a Saturday. Apparently, about every single post office in Trumbull County does them, but only Canfield, Poland and North Lima will do them in Mahoning County. Since we were already in Trumbull County, I see that Warren's Main Post Office can do them. Allie says, "You better call first." So I do. And a friendly voice answers the call. I ask Melissa if they can accept two passport applications today. She says, "Sure. We do walk-up on Saturdays until 12:30 p.m. so come on over." I said, "Wow. Can you teach those idiots in Niles how to do that?" She gave me that uncomfortable laugh of acknowledgement when you want to say something, but you can't. Oh, it's now 11:17 a.m.
As we trek down 169 Allie's kinda gut-laughing about me calling Jamie (with an E, why that matters is coming soon) a fucking idiot as I left after giving her "Ya know what? Fuck You."
We compose ourselves and walk in the big-ass main post office on High Street. It's now 11:30 a.m., We meet Jami (without an E. See, told you it mattered.) Jami is smiling. Jami is happy. Jami is impressed we have all our documentation in order, our applications filled out but NOT signed, and that we have the proper photos required. Jami goes over the paperwork, explains the process, checks our IDs, fills out the stuff she has to fill out, has us sign the paperwork, puts it all together and has it ready to go. We thank Jami and pay the lady and walk out of the big-ass main post office in Warren and get in the car. It's now 11:45 a.m. Half-hour each my ass.
We decided since we adulted enough today, and accomplished the only real mission we have today, we were going to get lunch. We decided to hit up The Lime Tree, because we haven't eaten there yet. And it was delicious.
So, your takeways from today's lesson: Do your job, and if you're hungry and in Warren, we recommend The Lime Tree. I say get the Reuben (or Gyro ... or anything really, from The Lime Tree. Travis & Kristen are great people, their food is outstanding and they have great beers on tap and kick-ass unique cocktails. And a monthly brunch. Also, when you piss me off, I'm a gigantic asshole.
But you probably already knew that.