Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Know Why They Call it Snail Mail

I have a thing for my mailman. I don’t know what he looks like, or how old he is. I’m not even sure he’s a man. Still, I have a thing. Not the kind of thing that makes me get butterflies in my stomach and daydreams in my heart. More the kind of thing that makes me wish I could package common sense and gift it to him.

This thing started shortly after I moved. I received my mail and the occasional piece for the previous homeowners. One day I noticed the carrier had written the surnames of those who receive mail here, in Sharpie, on the inside of the mailbox door.  I experienced a brief episode of appreciation, thinking this would eliminate delivery of others’ bills and letters to my box.

Now, two years later, I not only regularly receive mail for the previous residents, but seem to have taken on numerous tenants as well. Some of the letters arrive with little question marks near the address, urging me to make the final call on whether the name on the envelope matches one of the two names written in big black letters on the mailbox. I get packages too. Vitamins I think. Hopefully vitamins and not mail order heart meds.

Every time I sort the misdelivered mail from mine, I write NOT AT THIS ADDRESS on the envelopes, carry them back to the box, and raise the red flag, which means THERE IS OUTGOING MAIL IN HERE.  My mailman stops, stuffs my mail and others’ in around the outgoing mail, lowers the flag, and carries on. He doesn’t stop at my next-door neighbors’. He doesn’t need to because he just put their mail in my box too.

I tried toting all this mail to the post office and politely explaining the problem. The clerk apologized and asked if there was anything else she could help me with.

“A book of stamps, please.”

“Love stamps okay?”

“Do you have any Dislike stamps? And a box. I need to ship some common sense. I’ll need delivery confirmation on that.”

Two days later the same misdelivered mail was back.

So my thing for the mailman continues. And Shaun, your vitamins are here along with a postcard offering up a free omelet for your birthday (Happy Birthday!). Donna, your new insurance cards have arrived. I wish you good health, considering it may be years before you have proof of coverage in hand. And Sherry, dear neighbor, please don’t be suspicious if you see me at your mailbox.

It’s just a mailman thing.