Friday, September 14, 2007

Waiting in Line at the Post Office

One postal worker stopped cold in the middle of the sun-bleached lobby, behind where we stood in line. He barked something that to me was incomprehensible. I could see now that he was facing a man at the end of our line. He jabbed his finger vaguely at him, then turned around. Another worker was walking up behind him. He, too, addressed the man in line. "Don't make me come over there!" The man did not appear to respond. I scrutinized him. He was a thin man of about thirty, clean shaven, with strong, angular facial features and somewhat unkempt hair. "Are you going to behave?" This time he responded with a quick, compliant nod. "You not gonna bother nobody?" Another nod. The worker turned and went on his way. Few others in line seemed to notice or care. A couple minutes later the man suddenly jutted his right arm into the air and snapped his fingers loudly, twice, accompanying this with a faint, gulping vocalism, and I realized he was a Tourette's sufferer, known to the staff of this post office.