Pink Floyd and the Post Office
by John Carter
“Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying”
– Comfortably Numb by Roger Waters and David Gilmour
Here’s an example of how two people, both having spoken English for 50+ years, could participate in two totally different conversations at once, and the misunderstandings that can arise from this situation.
I went to the post office to send a check overnight to my granddaughter’s new daycare school in Georgia. As I was sending my check in their big, white overnight letter, I was chatting with the POD (Post Office Dude) about daycare, the weather, and overnight shipping rates …
Me (upon hearing the cost): Wow. UPS is $20 more for the same thing, so unless they deliver the letter with a $20 bill attached, this is an easy decision.
POD: (laughing) That’s a no-brainer, for sure.
Me: And if you’ve paid for daycare lately, you know that you need to save every penny. That stuff is pricey!
(This is where he continued to have a conversation about overnight mail, while I began talking about daycare.)
POD: But you know, it’s a tough job. The labor costs are high.
Me: Believe me, I’d be the first to tell you that I couldn’t do it. It takes a very special person.
POD (looking me over): Ah, you could do it. It’s a tough job, but you could do it.
Me: I appreciate the vote of confidence, but it would be too much for me. Everybody would be just like I am, wanting their own little treasure to be treated special.
POD (puzzled now): I don’t think most people are that fussy about it.
Me (now puzzled, too): Are you kidding? How could they not be?
POD: Believe me, I know some of the folks who do this work, and they aren’t that sharp. They have a lot of help. They just sort ’em by color and size, and they make sure the big white ones are taken care of first. The rest, they deal with when they can. They may lose a few, but they do a pretty good job.
Me (now puzzled and horrified): What?!
POD: They have to process so many. It’s hard to worry about every little one.
Me: You must worry about every little one! That trust – what could be a bigger responsibility? It’s the single most important thing in the world to every person who walks through the door.
POD: What in the heck are you shipping, pal?