Tuesday, May 11, 2010

mail call

I find few things in ordinary life more disappointing than a mailbox full of nothing worthwhile. It's worse than an empty mailbox, frankly - at least then I can pretend the mail has not yet come, or the postal workers fell behind and didn't get my stuff together in time for the truck today.

This afternoon there was a small promising pile of letters in my box that I pulled out expectantly, but by the time I crossed the street to my house it was clear not a single item was remotely useful or even interesting (sometimes I get a Nordstrom catalog full of crazy things like $395 lime green watches but at least I can use that for a collage, or short fiction about insane people). Everything today was so uninspiring that I cannot even come up with amusing ways to make fun for this post.

I think my need for Mail of Substance comes from my childhood. When I was growing up in the boonies on Whidbey Island, our mailbox was at the end of a winding gravel driveway and across the road, so checking the mail was something of a production - shoes were required for sure, usually a jacket because we were only a mile from chilly Puget Sound, sometimes gloves. If I got out there and found nothing or worse, it felt like wasted energy. (Maybe my anti-exercise stance started here, too). Sometimes I was surprised & sated with a glimpse of rabbits or deer hiding in the woods behind the mailbox or a family of nervous quail skittering across the road, but usually I sullenly kicked rocks all the way back to the house with my handful of boring bills.

One would think that with this kind of outlook, I would be better at sending cards & letters to brighten other people's mailboxes. I wish. As my OCD has worsened, I get stuck at the start - I find something perfect for someone but then don't have an address or I need different stationery or must find time to decorate the envelope/box just right or need to buy stamps or have to go the post office or...ack.

A resolution for the summer: Set up a simple, accessible, no-obsessing-allowed mailing station and plan a weekly trip to the post office so I can/will send fun, worthwhile notes & parcels to my favorite people. That could be you; watch your mailbox.