Monday, February 2, 2009

PO'd at the PO

Buried amidst all the bad news about our economy and stimulus packages, etc., was the story that our postal service is considering dropping one delivery day, going from 6 to 5 days of delivery. The dropped day will most likely be Saturday or Tuesday, the two slowest days. Apparently, the postal service is losing money. Join the crowd. The alternative would be another increase in the cost of stamps. I also heard that the increase is coming regardless. Didn't the price of a stamp just go up?

This talk of one less delivery day is for me grim news. And I bet I'm not the only writer who feels that way. I love my mail! It's part of my daily ritual. As I get dressed in the morning, I check out the window to see if the mail truck is coming. If I'm out when the mail is delivered, all the way home I'm looking forward to the mailbox. If I'm out of town, when I call home, I don't ask, "How are you?" I ask, "Did I get any mail?" Bad weather days like we've been having too many of cause me anguish as I try to strategize how I can get to my mailbox at the end of my ice-encrusted driveway. How can I climb over that pile of snow without breaking a vital body part?

It's not that I get all that much mail—much of it catalogs and junk mail. It's the possibility of something good arriving. Some lovely acceptance. Some invitation to a festival. Now most days that doesn't happen. But on any day when there's mail delivery, it could happen.

Years ago I read in a biography of J. D. Salinger that he hated holidays because there was no mail. I knew exactly what he meant. I feel the same way. A day without mail is a day without sunshine, practically. I especially dislike holidays that fall on Monday as that means two days in a row without mail. Then I expect Tuesday to make up the loss, and when it doesn't come through for me, I'm disappointed in Tuesday.

If the post office must stop delivery one day, I vote for Tuesday. Don't make it Saturday. A whole weekend without mail? Thank goodness for email which can take up the slack. Email which now also offers the possibility of some cool news coming through. And no stamp required.

Any other mail addicts out there?

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  1. Man, outside of the holidays and my birthday, I can't remember the last time I found any good news from the mail. Ten years ago I would've been upset, but now the proposed cut would just be one less day I get a bill or junk mail. I'm totally fine with that.

  2. Mostly bills these days. The good news usually comes via email these days and packages via UPS. I guess that's part of the problem.

  3. I, too, love the mail, even though I usually only get bills. I love that the mail comes once a day, which means I don't need to check on it all the time, unlike e-mail, where good news might have come in the 10 minutes that it took me to make the coffee, or load the washing machine, or . . . which means I'm constantly checking my e-mail.

  4. I know exactly what you mean. Even when I go through bad periods when I get nothing but rejection slips, that possibility keeps the mailbox exciting.

    This reminds me that I always intend to make myself write more random letters to friends, but I never get around to it. I think I might start small and try to commit to sending out random postcards...just a small note, or maybe a poem fragment.

  5. I used to be a mail addict, but I've had so many problems getting my postal mail that the last two years I've had post office and UPS office boxes. Many, many items have been lost by the post office, and they never apologize, and they can never tell me what's happened. It's very frustrating.
    And usually, these days, as Collin says - all the good news comes through e-mail - though checks still come by post. And contributor copies. But for small magazines, the uptick in price for mailing out journals has made even sending out contributor's copies so expensive...I wonder if a private institution will offer better, cheaper service soon?

  6. Hi Diane,

    LOVE getting the mail. Though as others have said, I've noticed my acceptances arrive via email, so I've become a little more tuned into that, which isn't good because if I'm constantly checking my email, I'm not writing.

    I do have a google gmail acct that I only give to editors. So far, it's been a very empty box. ;-)

  7. For me, books ordered from England or the States arrive in the mail - and it sometimes takes three weeks for them to reach South Africa, two if I'm lucky. Imagine ...

  8. I, too, am a mail addict from way back (when people wrote letters). And I laugh, because amid all the junk mail and bills and requests for donations, any poetry mail is statistically most likely to be a rejection letter. But hope! Until those envelopes are opened, good news remains a possibility like a cat in a box.

    Email does fill in some of the gaps, but it comes with its own pitfalls (24-hour-a-day rejection!).

  9. Yes! I love getting mail, and was dismayed to hear that the PO is pondering cutting back. I also vote for Tuesday, which to me is a throw away day, anyway. But Saturday! Ah, I love Saturday, and if there was no mail then, it would spoil it all.

    bobbi c.
    Leander, TX

  10. I love mail delivery and hate Sundays without it. Now I'll have to re-subscribe to a newspaper, just to be sure something readable is delivered to my door every day. I sometimes get so tired of looking at a screen.


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