Oh the agonies we (well, mostly David, I must admit) face each time we get the mail:
1. We live on a main road (one with two yellow lines), and our house is situated at a dip in the road. So, cars and very loud motorcycles seem (and often attempt) to whoosh by our skinny little bent up mailbox and any skinny David or plump Wendy who happens to be standing next to it.
2. The mailbox stands at the edge of our driveway, which is dirt and gravel, I might add, and which seems to be some sort of watershed that attracts, well, water and anything that water can move—usually silt and pine needles, pollen in the spring, and now (in the fall) wet, decaying leaves.
3. The door on our mailbox does not enjoy staying shut. In fact, it prefers to stay open in hopes of taking in the rain whenever clouds appear. It doesn’t seem to care at all about protecting the mail that it is supposed to harbor for us. We could, of course, buy a new mailbox, but if you know us, you know that we probably won’t do that for a good long while. We can be kind of slow when it comes to that sort of thing.
4. Recently a possum was hit by a car near our driveway. I saw it in the morning as I was pulling out. When I came home in the evening, some neighbor or motorist had been kind enough to move it. They chose to place it unkindly, however, right next to our mailbox.
5. After facing the above tribulations, most days we find that a majority of the mail in our mailbox is not for us. It is either for our neighbors, for the previous owners of our house, recently a lot of it has been for other members of David’s family that have never lived with us, and sometimes we get mail for a Mr. Joseph Alga. As far as I know, our house has never been owned by anyone named Alga. It seems that he was connected to the previous owner through work. The direct mail world is creepy.
6. Most days, after we weed out all the mail that is not meant for us, we are left with junk mail, bills, and coupons for places we never go and items we don’t use. (Well, the pizza coupons actually do come in handy.) Sometimes we even get multiple copies of the same credit card offer—one addressed to me, one to David, one to my maiden name, and one to David with my maiden name. What is even more absurd, is that we often get multiple copies of the same credit card offer addressed to the exact same name!
As you can see, getting the mail can be a rather anti-climatic (even harrowing) event at our house. We love coming home to a mailbox that contains a treasure buried beneath all the junk—a long-awaited magazine, a package we’ve been expecting, a postcard from afar (or a-near), a letter or tidbit from friend or family. So, if you’re ever bored and want to take pity on us, just drop a little piece of your heart in the mail our way. (OK—don’t really. It’s just a metaphor. The possum already smells bad enough.)
(My uncle recently sent me an e-mail about how to deal with companies that send junk mail. One of the suggestions was to use their pre-paid envelopes to mail other junk mail back to them. We liked this idea at first, but then realized that the people who will have to handle our reverse junk mail are probably not the people who can do anything about their company’s junk mail policy. Still, though, they’ll get paid nonetheless, and if enough people do it, they may start complaining loud enough to make a change. Probably not. I thought of another idea—what if we saved all of our junk mail for a year to demonstrate the extreme volume and waste? If a whole neighborhood or group did it, we could make some kind of protest art out of it. Or, we could ship it all at one time to the CEO of whatever company sends us the most junk mail. I’m really too lazy and too averse to clutter to save all my junk mail and do something useful with it, but the prospect is fun to think about.)
Been doing a lot of reading and looking at pictures this morning.