Yesterday I had to go to the post office to collect something. A few customers in front of me was an elderly woman buying stamps.

I know – the image that leaps to your mind is of a soft, plum granny with grey hair holding onto an envelope filled with love and maybe a worn ten rand note to send to her now 24 year old grandson she has forgotten is not 5.

Not so much

This woman got to the counter and asked for a 10cent stamp. The man behind the counter said he didn’t have any ten cent stamps, sorry. She started being very cross with him, insisting he had to have. She then asked if her letter would be delivered with the stamps it had. He said no, it needed ten cents more. He apologised and asked her if she wanted a twenty cents stamp.

‘This is ridiculous,’ she yelled as she stormed out of the post office, envelope in hand.

Another woman in the queue tried to pass her a twenty cent stamp she had.

‘I don’t want your stamp!’ growled the cross old lady, ‘he should have them to sell’ she spat in the direction of the counter.

‘Take it, then you can at least post your letter.’

‘That’s not the point,’ she said as she walked out of the post office, clutching her envelope. She slammed the car door as she got into it and stared straight ahead ignoring all of us watching her through the window.

‘Shame,’ said the stamp offering woman, ‘isn’t it sad that she chooses to be so very angry with life.’