Post Office Conga

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Yesterday I headed down to the post office to buy some stamps to send out Christmas Cards to our customers. As usual, the line in the post office was just about out the door, so I joined the end of the queue and hoped it wouldn’t take too long.

My back was almost to the door, so I felt when it opened, and I turned to see a morbidly obese man waddle in behind me. He was a strange kind of obese, sort of large all over with a huge, almost pregnant-looking belly that his shirt didn’t quite completely cover. A pregnant with triplets kind of belly. Possibly even quadruplets.

Two things struck me immediately as he joined the queue (other than his enormous size). Firstly, he reeked of stale wee. Not stale urine, which is the medical and incontinent old person smell; but stale wee, which is the odour of ‘I wee my pants because I’ve not quite got the hang of using a toilet and I just let my pants air dry without washing afterwards.’
It’s a very specific kind of stench.

The second thing that struck me, and this was the most disturbing of them all, was that as he joined the line behind me, he stood so close to me that I could feel his giant, fat, faux-pregnant belly brushing against the loose folds of my shirt. He was so close that as the line moved forward a little and we stepped forward, I stood on his foot.

There is nothing worse than having to stand in a long queue of people in front of a person who has no sense of personal space - except, that is, when that person is obese and smells of stale wee.

Thus began 10 minutes of ‘queue dancing’, in which I would stand to one side of the queue until he moved behind me again; then I would shuffle my way to the other side for a few brief seconds of freedom. I could have grabbed onto the person in front of me and kicked my leg out to the side with each shuffle and the post office queue would have become a conga line.
Sadly, instead it was just 10 minutes of awkward shuffling in a small space while trying to see how long I could hold my breath without passing out.


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