Saturday, November 3

Kinda Free, Kinda WOW, Charlie

Today I went to my favorite post office to mail a couple of Bookmooch books. I like this particular post office because it's small and I've gotten to know the 3 women working there on the Saturday morning shift. I also like the fact that most folks in that post office line seem to understand the basics of mailing stuff. Most of all I like that this post office smells like the camping trips of my youth. There is a huge pine tree shading the building and I love the pine scented air. On the other hand, the larger post office, I've come to avoid, is annoying because the people in that line always act as though it were their first trip to a post office and, frankly, I don't have time to show them the ropes.

Today I observed two rather unique men in line at my old stomping ground. The first was a disheveled Woody Allen look-a-like but with a little crazy thrown in. He spoke very slowly and carefully when asking for a "Money order in the amount of (looking slowly down at a slip of paper he was holding) $19.99." When he was asked to punch in his PIN into the debit pad he swiftly moved in front of it to block my view. It was the fastest thing I saw him do. It actually made me smile. God knows I can appreciate that kind of paranoia and because if ever I was tempted to steal someones PIN it certainly wouldn't have been that guy's.

When I made it up to the counter, my friend Liz handled my transaction as we chatted. When we finished, I glanced over and heard the other postal worker say to the man in the red turban "You'll need to put that in a box." I saw that he had just set a box of Charlie perfume on the counter. He said "Yes, I know." with a thick accent. As I walked way, I couldn't help but think about who would be getting that perfume? Was it a mother? A girlfriend? A sister? A very weak bribe? Was Charlie a favorite of the recipient's or would this be her first time trying it? Was the recipient even a her? And who knew they even still made Charlie? It's theme song is now ringing in my head. Oy! And how sad that my apparent first exposure to Bobby Short was through a Charlie commercial. Above all it was a heartbreakingly sweet gesture whatever the back story was.

Luckily, Close Encounters of the Third Kind is one. I say "luckily" not because it's such a good movie, which it is, but because there are all kinds of retro images in that movie to kick those dumb theme songs out of my head. Here's a good one that I can live with.

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