Narrow brass-faced boxes march in military precision on all the walls of the Bonners Ferry Post Office. The chatter of keys being inserted into locks harmonize with the squeak of athletic shoes, accented by the staccato cadence of boots echoing below high ceilings. The faces of our neighbors, known and unknown, reflect resignation, frustration and boredom.
These neighbors are in a hurry to post packages, retrieve packages with yellow slips, and buy those things that will connect them with a larger community than ours. I rather enjoy that mandatory pause in line. We all stand there watching as the harried postal worker repeats the same information over and over. Some of these line people know exactly what they need. Others haven’t a clue. That is usually me. Too many choices, too much information, all those boxes and mailing envelopes, stamps with pretty pictures ...
And the questions? Honestly, if I were actually posting a package with potentially harmful, smelly substances, or a weapon, to someone I detested, would I admit it? Being who I am, I would rather deliver it in person as a delusional statement of punishment. And it would not be local. I haven’t found anyone in Bonners Ferry to dislike, much less send a surprise package like that to.
Those long lines give us plenty of time to think. When I am done surfing my own imagination, I open up conversation with those lucky people in front or behind me. This is fun. It is an opportunity to learn something, make a friend or improve my questionable social skills through rejection. Who cares? I may never see these people again. And if I do, I won’t make eye contact. Making eye contact is one of the delightful aspects of Bonners Ferry. Who hates a person smiling and waving at you? And if you do, shame on you for being a grump and a hater. Standing in line is a chance to entertain or be entertained.
Recently, while standing in line, I overheard a uniformed officer of the law talking to a gentleman (right, I am old) in front of me. The conversation was friendly, the gentleman asking the officer (let’s call him DD for Deputy Dan), if he had seen his cousin lately. DD replied, why yes he had, and that cousin was currently behind bars across from the Post Office. All of us laughed. We were tired of our own imaginations. With such an agreeable audience, DD was encouraged to share that there had been three semi-truck accidents in the current snow storm. Then out of the blue he declared, “I hate fuzzy slipper guys”. What? He went on To say that in routine stops, drivers asked to exit their cars would say, “But Officer, I have my fuzzy slippers on!” Needless to say, there are no local, state or federal laws exempting drivers wearing fuzzy slippers from obeying an officer instructing them to step out of their vehicles.
Wait a minute. If that law did exist I would be home right now making fuzzy slippers as a lucrative home business. I might even buy stock in online slipper companies. Like Deer Stag. And the great news is that Social Security just told me they won’t penalize me for earning income over my awesome yearly Social Security Benefits. This getting old is finally paying off. And for those of you who might resent those who collect Social Security, let’s see how you feel about that after you have been paying into it for fifty years. You resenters were probably also supporters of Zero Population growth. Go Liberals!
Back to DD. We all thought the fuzzy slipper story was hilarious. DD went on to say he had stopped to check a car he had seen attempting to go up a hill. After several failures the car had managed to find a snow plow mound to lean into. The driver just sat there. DD approached the car. The driver rolled down his window. DD asked him if he had chains. The driver looked at him seriously and said, “I have my fuzzy slippers. Could you put the chains on for me?” Seriously, that guy will be needing some of my newly designed, locally made and manufactured, fuzzy slippers. I was wondering how to use my now unpenalized, but still taxable freedom to earn in my Golden Years. Thanks DD. This could possibly be Divine answer to prayer.
Back to the Post Office. The BF Post Office doors offer everyone an equal opportunity to brush up on their ‘Thank Yous’ and ‘You’re Welcomes’ as we open and allow those behind us to pass through. Those beautiful old wood doors with brass bars remind us how lucky we are to live in a town that’s past is in the present, and hopefully, our future.
— Ingalisa Younger