Tread softly in the kingdom of the cranky.
You’ve got the bill and a check for the correct amount in an envelope as you approach the front door of the business office.
But a note on the door says they are closed due to the COVID-19 nightmare, and to please make your payment online if you can.
Then, in language almost unenthusiastic, the note says you can put your money in the drop box.
The drop box is on another wall, a bit to the right of the entrance, and it appears to have been visited recently by a pigeon. Or maybe a goose.
No big deal, though. You’ve thought enough ahead to bring along a business-size envelope to put the bill and the payment in — just in case there’s a drop box — and a Kleenex tissue so you don’t have to touch anything with your bare fingers. Such as pigeon poo.
As you’re about to proceed with the do-it-yourself payment method, a car drives up, parks barely 10 feet away and whom to your wondering ears should appear but Office Lady shouting at you as she opens the door of her Toyota.
“There! There!”…. she is yelling, pointing to the drop box.
“In the drop box!”
Here she was, beginning her work day on a high note of extreme agitation.
Well, that’s all right. Some of us do feel more comfortable tense, you tell yourself.
“We’re closed,” she complains in a sort of wounded voice. It was the opening of what would prove to be a binge whine — a whinge, and a persistent one.
You tell her, yes, you saw the note on the door and understood they were closed. But you’re glad they’re still in business, just closed for customers.
This was a casualism unsuitable for serious business.
And she was very serious.
“It’s the COVID-19,” she shouts. “You know, the coronavirus pandemic that has shut down the whole country?”
Oh, the torment of troubled souls.
You tell her you’ve got a check to pay your bill, and as long as she’s here, in person more or less, couldn’t you just hand it to her?
“Put the check in the drop box — that’s what it’s for!”
You decide against gently chiding her for not wearing a mask, although as a customer you are wearing one , but…
In the presence of scolds who wax apocalyptic maybe it’s not such a good place for playful sarcasm.
At this point you’d love to hear her views on capital punishment and immigration but, uh, maybe not here and not now.
So you walk over to the drop box and, disregarding the pooped-upon lid, forgetting the Kleenex tissue, you lift it up and drop your payment.
“Have a nice day,” you tell Office Lady as she unlocks the office door, steps inside and slams it shut again to keep the public out.
These are far from normal days, you remind yourself.
No need for a business person to waste civility when rudeness works just as well.
Corky Simpson is a veteran journalist who writes a column for the Green Valley News.