Tootie McDaniels and George Ansbach sit on a bench on Via Vahalla, staring out at the Rushing River and descending, floating spring geese arriving for a rest.
The city councilors are breaking from a waste water committee meeting, stretching their legs, chuckling on the quirks and laughable foibles of neighbors. Tootie has a knack for catching the caricature, mimicking the gesture, the turn of phrase, the ill-formed opinions that characterize the most memorable of their constituents. George finds himself laughing out loud, then wondering, might someone see this, figuring out politicians spend their time ridiculing the folks who elect them!
He shrugged. ‘Whatever,’ he thought. “You don’t pay me enough to set you on a pedestal.’
Tootie has been gleaning the low hanging fruit, standing momentarily to adjust her jeans, then the parody of her use of a walker, She speaks uncannily like Stanley Humphly, “And another thing, your honor, the public restrooms down at the park need better toilet paper!” She sits, leaning back, “Ahhh, Stanley, what a potato-head!”
“Hey,” she says. “I was over at the post office yesterday, a new clerk’s there, a transfer from Springdale. I had a couple policy updates I needed to get to the museum and library and didn’t want to walk all over town doing it, so I decided to mail them. So, I ask if she could post them and not send them off to Garfield so they can then return to Warhaven, so I ask, “Would you please place them into their P.O. boxes today?” She looks up from her computer, over her pink half glasses and says, “Tomorrow.” I mis-hear her, I think, because, what the heck, George, it must be a ten-yard walk to the boxes and so I say, ‘Pardon?’ And she says again, ‘Tomorrow. We put them in a box and deliver the next day, otherwise I would have to charge you twenty-six dollars and thirty-five cents for the special delivery service.’”
“Oh, man, George, I’m incredulous. I feel the hostile Tootie rising up through my shoes, my belt, my bra. I breathe. Can this be a real thing? So I say to her, “Is the public aware of this policy?” She says, “They should be.”
“You have to be proud of me, George, because I felt like rippin’ her officious bureaucratic high and mighty attitude off her shoulder and crumpling it up. But I didn’t. But, maybe I will tell Stanley Humphly about this and he’ll write his best letter to the editor yet!”
George smiled. “Well, there’s one more oblivious move by the USPS that has UPS and FedEx kicking the Post Office’s butt in market share. They’d be dead and buried without Amazon.
Tootie nods. “I don’t know how they do things in Springdale, clearly differently than we’ve done over the years. This is one more reason for starting my High Quality Customer Service Training Program!”
George sips from his coffee, nodding. “Anther dumb federal policy.” He continues along her path of logic. “It’s not as simple as ‘It’s the Economy, stupid!’ Folks think shopping online is the panacea, that getting something delivered is just as good service as getting the correct plumbing part at the hardware store from a knowledgeable, industrious clerk — that bread in a box is just as good as bread from the baker. I see this on the farm. A kid wants a job, but a hoe or a maul are foreign objects. He or she knows about the Smartphone, but not much beyond that.”
Tootie laughs. “We can change this, George! We do a great job educating our kids. It may be a challenge sometimes for some kids to see their responsibility is learning, in having pride for team.”
George says, “Maybe the thing that drives me the craziest is when an employee refers to some problem as springing from they ...”
Tootie completes his thought, “As if the employee could care less, that they are blind to being part of a team, a company, even a corporation.”
George nudges Tootie, “Have we solved the world’s problem’s yet?”
“Nope! And another thing! That new teller at the bank ... from New York, or someplace easterly, so hoity-toity and aloof! I bank there in part because they know my name; my parents banked there, for Heaven’s sake! She’s like, ‘And your last name is?’ And I can see out of the corner of my eye that the other girls are getting a kick out of this, and I just want to pinch them, hard, and ask, ‘Well, why couldn’t I have gotten into YOUR line?!?’ And she’s no chit-chat, but all very by the book — probably a lonely soul.”
He nods. “Now?” asks George.
“Thank you, Mr. Ansbach. I’m fully vented. Now.” They both rise, chuckling.