Assert yourself. Get aggressive.

Sometimes you’ve got to really assert yourself, you’ve got to get really aggressive. Like when you’re on line at the post office, and it’s one of those lines that’s just snaking all the way around the poles, those fabric strips that come out of the poles, is there a name for those things? Line formers? Am I making myself clear here? They use them at airports. Like you’ll be waiting forever to give your passport to the ticket lady so she can take your baggage. But maneuvering around those line formers, with all of your suitcases, and your luggage. Is there a protocol? What’s the protocol? What’s the protocol for when you’re on one of those lines, it’s moving so slowly, and maybe you’re having some trouble getting your two rolling suitcases around the corner, and there’s a guy right behind you, he’s only got a carry-on, and so when you both round the corner, all of the sudden this guy’s standing not behind you, but next to you, and he’s creeping up. Now there’s another turn coming up. Does this guy think he’s going to weasel his way ahead? Just because he’s only got one small bag? And to be perfectly honest, the bag looks a little big, like he probably should be checking it in. And you know you’re going to get on the plane and of course this guy’s going to be sitting right in front of you, and his oversized carry-on, it’s going to take up way too much space in the overhead compartment.

But assert yourself. Get aggressive. At least passive aggressive. As you go to round that second corner, maybe try to block him with one of your rolling bags. Maybe knock over one of the line formers, try to make it look like he knocked it over, and when the airline representative comes over, she’s not saying anything yet, just kind of walking over as a result of the line former falling down, the fabric’s stretching, compromising the integrity of not just this pole, but potentially the entire zigzagged line. And right as she’s about to say something like, “What’s going on here?” you point to that guy, Mr. I’m-Such-A-Great-Packer-I-Don’t-Have-To-Respect-My-Fellow-Line-Waiters, and you say, “He did it.” Watch. That guy’s going to be taking a special trip to the TSA security office.

That guy’s in trouble. That guy might end up on some sort of a problem list. But what about all of these little kids? If you had little kids, you might think to yourself, this would be a lot easier. It might seem harder, having to navigate them plus your luggage plus your kids’ luggage. Think about it, kids are always knocking over those line formers. Or they’re pulling out the fabric. Or they’re jumping under the fabric, back and forth, knocking somebody else’s luggage into a line former, a TSA guy shows up, “I’m sorry sir, you’re going to have to come with us,” every mess these kids make, whoever they bump into, it’s like, “Did you just get knocked into by some kid? Yeah, you’re going to have to come with us.” And then finally after you’ve fended off the carry-on guy – you were very assertive! – you still can’t get your kids to sit still, to just stop running around and wait in line, please. So they stand quiet, for a minute, because you yelled at them, but every time they get to a new line former they silently unclip the fabric and it zips all the way back into the pole. And then you have to try to fix it. And that’s when the airline representative is going to turn on you. It’s unavoidable.

But wasn’t I talking about the post office? It’s all very similar, just no TSA. And I don’t know how your post office is laid out, but at mine there used to be this shortcut line, like if you were just picking up a package, you didn’t have to wait on the general line. But they’ve since done away with that, and now everybody waits. So you’ll be waiting for ten, fifteen, forty-five minutes when you see somebody just head right over to the last window, like pretending that they didn’t know the express line has since been eliminated, and nobody’s saying anything, not a clerk, no other line waiters.

You’ve got to get aggressive. You’ve got to assert yourself into the situation, tell that guy, “Listen buddy, back of the line, all right?” to which he might just kind of look at you, not responding but thinking to himself, “Why don’t you just mind your own business, all right?” So then you repeat yourself. And maybe there’s a postal police officer there, it doesn’t always happen, but they make rounds to the branches every now and then, and he might come over and be like, “What’s the problem?” so you can say something like, “No, I was just asking this guy where he gets his fireworks shipped in from,” and the postal police guy won’t even say anything, he’ll just look at the line cutter and point to that door in the corner, like let’s go have a little chat in that office over there, OK?

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