The Mailman Rides at Dawn

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We once lived in a neighborhood where our mailman was mugged.  Someone held him up at gun point in broad daylight and stole his mail bag.  That happened in America, in a middle class neighborhood on the East side of St. Paul, Minnesota.  It was shocking and sad that someone was so desperate to steal that they would commit a Federal crime right on our block.  Personally I couldn’t imagine that he would have gotten much out of that crime considering the volume of junk mail we received each day.

When we are overseas, we have our family members fielding our mail.  I feel bad that we have doubled their junk mail load.  Somehow we got on a bunch of political mailing lists.  Finally, my exasperated mother called and asked if we would track down the source of all this junk mail and take our names off the list.  We didn’t even know we were on a list!

Junk mail should be illegal for the only reason that it is a waste of trees.  It should be illegal like solicitor’s phone calls at dinner time at your house should be illegal.  Those people should be ashamed of themselves, interrupting a family’s dinner with a 45-minute phone survey about magazines subscriptions or credit unions.

When we live overseas, we don’t get mail at our house.  Sometimes a bill will be stuck in our front gate, hand delivered from the water company or the electric company.  But on a windy day or a rainy day those bills are easily lost.  We have to go in to the Pharmacy to pay our bills on a regular basis whether we actually see the monthly statement or not.  We’ve forgotten to pay our phone bill and water bill more than once.  It’s a pain in the neck when we are shut off for a day or two.  But we don’t get junk mail like we do in the States.

I kind of forgot about how much mail we receive and how long it takes to go through it each day.  When we came home on furlough the last time I would go for days without checking the mail box.  I would just forget about it.  Then I would be overwhelmed by the amount of junk I had to sort through!   Just when I arrived at the bottom of the pile with a grand sense of accomplishment, another day would dawn with another mailbox full of shoppers coupons and advertisements and sweepstakes entries and neighborhood newsletters and bills and bank statements and magazines I didn’t ask for.  Then I would be buried again under the mindless mountain of mundane messages in the mail.  It made me long for the anonymity of living in a third world country where there is no mail service.

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