With stamped letter in hand, I walked across the street to the large neoclassical building. The building itself is very impressive, and the classical influences are everywhere. From the thick marble slab covered walls (cippolino green and white I think), to the frescoed ceilings, it's how I would build a post office. Notice how even the grate in the photo below has the window pattern of the Curia Julia (ancient Roman senate house)?
Even the lamp post footings outside are inspired by furniture thousands of years old.
Instead of just dropping the letter in the slot for mailing, I wanted to get a weighing to make sure there was enough postage. Since I didn't have an extra stamp just to stick on there, I decided to wait in the short line since there are no more stamp machines. Things were moving along as the postal worker would say 'next please' after each quickly served customer. But at few people before my turn, a customer with a big shipping request delayed the guy at the window.
People behind me seemed like they were in a hurry, so I walked up to the window before the worker called out 'next please'. I think this filled the guy with an irrational rage, the likes of which in lies the phrase 'going postal'. He started counting money and doing other clerical work behind the counter as the line of customers continued to grow. Waiting patiently, I thought 'Ok, I will play your little game.' So out comes my phone, annnnd I'm browsing.
Well at this point some of the other people in line are getting very agitated, so they open a second window. Of course, by this point, I don't want to just walk over in front of the person behind me who has also been waiting for a long time.
Unbelievably, the guy continues to do other tasks without looking up, I can tell he's teaching me a lesson. He was also teaching everyone else in line what government bureaucracy is all about, and how things will be worse with more of it. The manager even walked over to the guy behind the counter and asked if he was ok!
Fifteen minutes later, he takes a personal phone call and walks away from the window... I had just finished reading one of Gwen's blog posts, so the next lady in line for the one functional postal employee offers to let me go first. He blinked first, I won! I think.
I hope that with government healthcare, I never have to wait at the window for an MRI or surgery or something. If I do, I'll wait for the guy at the window to fully say 'Next Please'.
Also, the irony is not lost on me that by the standards of some other countries I would like to live in, this is not a terrible bureaucracy (think utility companies in Italy). But, if we are becoming as bureaucratic as those nations, I would rather live and work around ancient history and beautiful scenery...