I am at the post office in Madrid. I need to mail back my contracts to my new employer in Vermont. Everything is ready, I just need a stamp.
The little dog is panting at my feet trying to sniff the woman next to me who has no wish to be sniffed. Since the ticket machine is broken I ask (as is Spanish custom) "Who is last?" A priest tells me he is. The next person comes in, asks who is last and I assent that I am. He is a beefy guy, a little taller than me, slight gut, black hair turning to grey, muscled but not enormous.
Ten minutes go by and the same woman is still at one of the two open windows. I look to the guy who came in behind me and roll my eyes. "For the love of God," he says. "I know. Incredible."
That was a mistake.
The little dog is lying on the marble floor, clearly thinking we are at the vet and a rectal exam is coming his way soon so he is panting in distress.
Five minutes later my beefy friend is throwing a fit, cursing and swearing, blaming the president of Spain for this delay, pacing up and down the aisle, "WTF is going on, why is no one moving," he doesn't have time for this. At this point, I want nothing to do with this guy. I'm annoyed, but generally, I am a patient, accepting man. It is what it is. I might agree with him that this sucks, but I'm not about to get involved in a revolt over a post office line.
Five minutes later he is approaching the desk asking the Spanish equivalent of "WTF is taking so long?" I refuse to meet his eyes.
Oh I'm so glad they have strict gun laws here because this guy is about to go postal.
(Get it, postal? ;-)
I am starting to get worried. This guy is pacing back and forth, furious, shouting every now and then, creating a scene and I am thinking he is going to flip out at any second.
Then I start to chuckle. In a complete one-eighty my mind suddenly decides this is hilarious. This is Spain. This is the way things are here. Sorry man. And then, as five more minutes pass, his anger growing by the minute, I start to think "I might have to take this guy down and choke him out." I look him over. I can take him. He's not that much bigger than me and clearly has no training. If he flips out, I can handle it. (What I mean by this is, I will subdue him so he is not a danger to others.)
Another window opens. "Next!"
A man tells me to go, it's my turn. Except it isn't. It's the priest's down the hall not paying attention. "Padre!" I scream to him, twice before he realizes he's up. A window finally finishes, I take my turn and in thirty seconds more I am out of there. The little dog is scrapping his claws in his desperation to get out of there without an exam.
It has been thirty-five minutes and they have served five people.
I'll be watching the news to see if anyone went postal yesterday.