Going Postal

I don’t know anything about him, but he knows quite a bit about me. He knows my name and address. He knows I love food, I’m a current events junkie and tennis and trail running are my thing. He probably figures I like traveling around the West. He may also have picked up that I have a spiritual side. … at least a pop spiritual side, near as he can tell.

He likely assumes I’m married to someone from back East and that my husband and I run a plumbing company. He’s just a little wrong and a little behind.

It’s possible he thinks I’m quite a bit older than I am.

Who is this Columbo? My mailman. And he has a decided clues advantage.

A couple of weeks ago, on a street corner, I stood behind a mail carrier with her pushcart full of mailbox surprises—some no doubt welcomed, some surely not—and felt pangs of envy. It wasn’t the first time, and I know it won’t be the last.

When other kids played cowboys and indians or doctor and patient, I played mailman. There was something calming and fulfilling about putting things in the slots where they were intended to go. Easy but important. Especially then before junk dominated the slot-filling and forever robbed us of the anticipation of getting the mail.

If the work spectrum is assembly line on one end and mentally and spiritually challenging on the other, being a postal worker has to be somewhere left of center. That’s from where I sit, anyway, and why it’s hard to imagine why “going postal” ever became a thing. To me the job sounds rather glorious.

I did run into my mail carrier for the first time a couple of months ago. He was gregarious and friendly. Most of all he seemed to enjoy his job. He was RELAXED! The kind of relaxed I imagine comes with pushing a cart down beautiful Pearl Street with its Flatiron views and 300+ days of sunshine, stopping every few feet to put mail in boxes.

As for his clues about me, they are there if he is paying attention:

He knows I love food, (BON APPETIT), I’m a current events junkie (THE WEEK) and that tennis (TENNIS) and trail running (TRAIL RUNNER) are my thing. He probably figures I like traveling around the west (SUNSET). He may also have picked up that I have a spiritual side. … at least a pop spiritual side, near as he can tell (O – THE OPRAH MAGAZINE).

He likely assumes I’m married to someone from back East (mail and THE NEW YORKER subscription in Bill’s name) and that my husband and I run a plumbing company (more mail to Hollingsworth Plumbing and Heating).

It’s possible he thinks I’m quite a bit older than I am (WHY DO I KEEP GETTING POSTCARDS ABOUT ASSISTED LIVING PLACES??).

This is why I think the job is easy but not at all boring. I’m in. Too bad the United States Postal Service is on the wane. Bad timing on my part. I should’ve gone with my child-gut.


4 thoughts on “Going Postal

  1. Cute post Jill. I took and passed all the exams to be a postal worker back in 1970 or so. For some reason I turned down the offer when it was extended to me. I think I didn’t relish the thought of working nights. Kind of wished through the years I had taken it, pay was really good back then.


  2. Jill, when I read your piece, I learned something about you. Thank you. It’s really cool to learn something about someone you’ve known pretty darn well for pretty darn long.

    As for me, I remember a time in Kindergarten, when we had time for free play (seems most of my time at Kindergarten was time for free play) and some child proposed playing house. “I’ll be Mommy,” she said, then looked at a boy and said “and you’ll be Daddy.” A couple “kids” were signed up, then everyone looked at me, asked me what I wanted to be. I thought and said nothing until someone said, “Jimmy, why don’t you be the mailman.” Seemed maybe a good enough role for me; heck of a lot better than Daddy, of which I wanted no part at all. And then I had my little inspiration and said no, every family needs a dog and I’ll be the dog. Now that suited me! Someone else got to be the mailman. As dog, I left him alone and in peace because all I really wanted to do was curl up on the floor and sleep. For about thirty minutes, it was a dog’s life.

    Thoreau wrote: “Every man thus tracks himself through life …” When you found yourself (and still find yourself) wanting to be a mail(wo)man, you were and are finding yourself, or, in Thoreau’s words, tracking yourself. What’s your current job title? Isn’t it something like Director of Internal Communications? So, what does that mean? Doesn’t it mean that you spend most of your time and energy making sure that the “mail” sent to and fro within your company gets delivered on time and undamaged and to everyone to whom it’s addressed? You got the job of your childhood dreams, even if you’re not wearing khaki navy shorts and a light blue cotton shirt.

    As for me and my dog’s life, Thoreau wrote …

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jim, when I had the idea for “this blog thing,” and in fact until only recently, the notion that it would be a way for the three of us to get to learn more about each other in the third third of our lives never crossed my mind. It was a huge revelation and, for me, the biggest payoff. Without this, I’m sure I would’ve died never knowing the frog gigging story or that you played the dog in a kids’ game of house or that Skip’s favorite westerns at Dayton’s Victory Theater on Saturday mornings (with free candy!) were the Lone Ranger series. What other richness is to come? I’m on the edge of my seat!

    And, I think you’re right about my fantasy job and my actual job being cousins, distant they may seem. Fascinating observation.


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